We’re all about the “D’s” in this family.
D for Diagnoses.
D for Disorder.
D for Don’t Delude yourself that any of your family will not be Dysfunctional, you Demented Dick.
Between us we have a smorgasbord of D’s: ADHD, ASD, GAD, OCD, PTSD…
The only D we don’t have is an STD, but with eldest at uni from September that’ll surely be added by Christmas…
The latest D has hit me hard though. After months of worry over youngest he’s been diagnosed with OCD. He’s only seven. He still has a little-boy nose and a little-boy voice. He still has all his milk teeth.
At only seven, he should be playing with his friends and eating too many sweets, tearing through each day, pushing boundaries and claiming victories and all without giving a damn about consequences (yet).
Instead his days are approached with caution, in search of safe spaces where he’s in control, punctuated by rituals and worries and bad thoughts and consequences…so many potential consequences.
We hoped he’d grow out of it, that he was just a bit shy and anxious, but he seems to have grown evermore deeply into it. And the more he struggles, the more useless I become at dealing with it, the more I cry in the car on my own, replaying his first seven years to find evidence of what I’ve done to cause this.
Yesterday the psychologist asked him to draw a picture of someone in his life when they’re angry with him because of his compulsions. He drew this:
That’s me in a rage. My hair looks very angry. My eyes are horror-film empty holes. In the speech bubble is what I say (yell) after yet another episode of him being convinced the food I’ve just made him is contaminated: “Well your [sic] going to be hungry then.” (He and I will deal with that distressing missing apostrophe and ‘e’ at a later date. He is only seven remember…)
I have been exasperated. It is exhausting. And when in public, often embarrassing. It is all the negative E’s. Bottom of the class. An Epic fail.
Even with the psychologist I feel a failure, certain that underneath his professionalism he’s thinking: she’s MENTAL, no wonder he’s MENTAL. I find myself jumping on any opportunity to present myself as a Good Mother, one who creates decent meals and supports his education, when in reality he’ll only happily eat McDonald’s (no contamination in Ronald’s gaff apparently, which is patently the opposite of the truth) and there’s no time for homework after all the worrying is done.
I have to tell you though, have to tell myself and never forget, that aside from the disordered bit, he is an absolute LEGEND.
He is in possession of loads of other, more desirable D’s: he’s delightful, determined, discerning, doting, dreamy, droll and dexterous. (Yes, I have consulted a thesaurus for this list and yes, I am disappointed to find no D-word to accurately define his level of pure DELICIOUSNESS…oh).
I wish my family weren’t so disordered. As the mum of a fellow disordery told me, if I could plunge a syringe into them and suck out all their bad D’s, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
But we must live with the D’s. And I must hold on to the hope that we are, at least, teaching our kids that there’s no shame in seeking help for mentalish shizzle. For that, and only that, I will award myself a big fat A.
I’ve been in therapy for years for the Big D (depression), GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder aka I AM MOSTLY TERRIFIED) and PTSD. Eldest gets support for her D’s. Gwyneth and I are getting help for our MFAD (Married For Ages Disorder) and whilst Gwyneth doesn’t have a diagnosed D, it’s only because they’ve yet to medically recognise his condition: GGD (Grumpy Git Disorder).
And now youngest is brought into the fold…
Think of us as The Waltons, but set in 2017 Austerity Britain instead of Depression Era America and who, as the lights go out around the house every night are more likely to be heard shouting: MUM DID YOU LOCK THE FRONT DOOR? YES GO TO SLEEP. BUT DID YOU REALLY LOCK THE FRONT DOOR? YES GO TO SLEEP. CAN I GET UP AND CHECK IF YOU LOCKED THE FRONT DOOR? NO YOU FUCKING CAN’T JUST GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP. BUT I CAN’T SLEEP MUM. WELL NOR CAN I NOW I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT THE SODDING FRONT DOOR. (Go downstairs to check door) HAD YOU LOCKED IT MUM? YES. AND IS IT STILL LOCKED NOW? YES. MUM? WHAT? I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU TOO. (Eldest from her room): SHUT THE FUCK UP. (Gwyneth): CAN EVERYONE STOP SWEARING? (Me) FFS IF ANYONE NEEDS ME I’LL BE ON THE SOFA WIDE AWAKE UNTIL DAWN…
Our next referral will be to the Sleep Disorder Clinic…