Too many colorful and mismatched books were stuffed and crowded into the half sized bookcase. I watched as my son stormed 3 circles around it mimicking an unstoppable hurricane full of wind and sound and fury.
The agency expert declared, “your son doesn’t have ADHD.”
I was in disbelief as I knew he couldn’t sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time unless he was obsessed with nosing up his cars into straight lines or hyper-focused on putting every one of his blocks in their proper place.
The expert continued, “He has Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”
This just didn’t seem right to me. My mind reeled as I tried to make sense of how a 4 year old could possibly have an anxiety disorder.
I went home in disbelief and shock and then did what I do best: I armed myself with knowledge.
I started with Dr Google (I couldn’t wait for answers.) He helped me ascertain exactly what GAD was and what symptoms to expect. From there, I studied OCD and all of the other anxiety disorders. Thank you, Mr Public Library! It was clear that my son was not suffering from any anxiety disorder.
It also was crystal clear-
I had OCD.
There it was on the pages. My symptoms lined up perfectly.
I always thought OCD meant you acted like the character, Monk-
…have you seen that show?
You have to touch every pole and keep your house spotless and carry suitcases of sanitizer with you when crossing state lines.
I was nothing like Monk. I didn’t touch poles, and my house was not spotless- I had two children under 5- the house was not remotely spotless! But I did have obsessions and compulsions and of course, my closest friends had teased me for years and years that I had OCD.
After loads of research on this subject and working with many clients with anxiety issues, it turns out that if you have seen one person with OCD you have seen one person with OCD. Each person is very unique in their expression of the disorder, even though there are many general and overlapping similarities. For example, it is pretty common to be freaked out by germs and go through excessive lengths to stay safe. I could certainly check those two boxes.
Armed with this new information, I headed to a counselor as soon as I could, and of course, during the intake appointment, it was confirmed- OCD.
This was the first diagnosis I would collect and my first intake appointment of many. Sadly, they missed quite a few important pieces.
I recall being in that intake appointment, and feeling shame and disappointment. I really wanted to melt and disappear beneath the ugly and hard chairs.
Hope was disappearing rapidly- I could join group therapy or try some meds…but OCD is not curable and the best I could hope for is to manage it for the rest of my life.
It was a long road to freedom.
Because they missed diagnosing the bipolar disorder, the meds they would prescribe for the depression caused a manic episode and I was soon hospitalized- but that’s a story for another time.
Years and years went by, but one day, my medical care team said the words I had longed to hear: \”You’re doing great! We think you’re ready to wean off meds and see if you really are better!\”
The poor sweet medical team- they do not believe healing is possible. They knew I was doing great and all the data supported “remission.” But of course, seems how I was the first and only patient that they ever recommended to try to live without meds due to a complete turn around, they really just didn’t know what to do with me! I mean, how many mood charts of perfect stability did they need to see before admitting that I was doing AMAZING!? They certainly couldn’t deny it but I do not think they expected it to last. They certainly did not expect me to be so happy and free that I would go on to lead others to freedom with the very same method that I discovered.
And now, life after life and marriage after marriage and family after family has been able to create similar stories of complete healing and breakthrough.
They are able to reach their own breakthrough very quickly because they know exactly what works and what has kept them stuck and what pitfalls to avoid as they move forward.
In your heart, you know God wants more for you than to just struggle through your life with anxiety.
Yes, it is possible for you too! You can live out of a place of peace and be stable enough to handle the storms of life!
I’d love to know where you find yourself on your journey to complete and total freedom! Are you still surviving, going through the motions, and hoping your next session with your therapist will yield a breakthrough? Are you leaning into prayer and scripture every day and wondering what is wrong with your faith? Or are you managing really well but recognize how the anxiety is holding you back from the dreams God has for you?
Feel free to comment below and let me know!
Or if that may be too personal…feel free to use the send me a message box.