Thursday, May 5, 2011

Life with obsessions

Living with a child with obsessions can be challenging on a moment by moment basis. Many of our daily activities become interrupted by her obsessions. While we don't allow her to perseverate on them (when possible) it doesn't mean we don't have to deal with them on a moment by moment basis. Before they began I probably would have waved off the idea that an obsessive child could be so impacting to a family. All kids have obsessions, right? Every child has a favorite game or song or toy or food that they want to eat, play with, listen to, etc, over and over and over.

Wrong. All kids have preferences and favorites but "normal" children do not have full blown obsessions and anxiety.

Last week Brian went away on a fishing trip. While he was gone Abby fixated on our fish Hamster and the idea that Brian would bring back a friend for Hamster. We spoke every hour (at least) about how beta fish cannot have friends in their cage because they fight. Obsessions #1. We moved on to two days of obsessing over being Annie (from the movie) and fighting over being addressed as Annie and not Abby. She color (red) and number obsessed (Annie is 10 so she did a lot of counting to 10) all weekend. Also over the course of the weekend she remembered a scene (where Santa eats the gingerbread cookie) in the Shrek the Halls Christmas special that caused an almost full blown panic attack. We only were able to move past that once I promised that we would not Tivo the special this year. (I have a feeling Christmas could be interesting this year...)

So on Sunday when Brian came home instead of talking about how his trip was or how the girls were he had to be brought up to speed on what "loops" we were caught in of late. Sure enough the second she woke up from her nap (after not seeing her father for four days) she told him about the Shrek issue.

It's hard to watch. It's hard to not be able to explain away the things that cause her stress and panic. It pains me to watch it as a parent. I know in time that therapies and medications will help but for now we have to sit back and watch her deal with all of these issues and so little we can do about it.


  1. I can't imagine how stressful that must be, and just kind of sad to see. Frustrating for her too I imagine.

  2. C - I think it frustrated us all. Thankfully she is still a little too young to understand that her obsessions are not "pro-social" behaviors. I dread the day when she realizes.

  3. I'm not sure the best way to contact you, but I've got a little boy with RS and googled my way to your blog. I've been searching for other RS parents to pool info with. Thank you for being willing to share your journey!

  4. Deanna - So glad you found me. I am always happy to share with any parents who have children with RS or related issues. You can always e-mail me: Piglet5432 at gmail dot com.