While the actual schooling was going ok. Marty was feeling like the odd man out. He wasn’t comfortable telling any of his friends about the panic attacks Because he was worried the panic attacks were caused by something weird and unique to him. We all know how teenagers are when the feel weird. Well, Marty sort of withdrew from life. He spent all his time that wasn’t occupied by schooling alone in the den. He didn’t want to see his friends. He didn’t want to go to youth group. He didn’t hang out with the family.
Once again, life was full of the suckage…but, it did eventually get better.
Earlier this year, when Marty was entering the second half of his junior year, he started thinking about the future. The reality of his dwindling time at home was staring him in the face. He started worrying about all the things he had missed out on during his reclusive phase and this started him onto a stressful path. We had many late night talk sessions because he had worked himself into a panic about the future. All his insecurities were rearing their head and nothing I said seemed to make it better. Because he was feeling so insecure and out of sorts, he started needing to control everything in order to deal with it. For example, the thought of spending the night away from home was overwhelming because I wouldn’t be there to remind him about all the things he needed to do and because going away meant packing and he might not remember what order everything belonged in when in his dresser. Marty started freaking out badly about things being dirty or things getting him dirty. For example, he would totally wig out if one of the animals rubbed up against the back of his leg. I truly was at a loss as to how to help him.
With his permission, I talked to my mom about everything he was dealing with. My mom told me about this really wonderful program my sister and niece had used called the 21 Day Brain Detox by Dr. Carolyn Leaf. This sounded like something thhttp://dragondreamerslair.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpat would be perfect for Marty because it combined hard science with strong faith and it taught him how to reprogram his brain to follow positive trains of thought instead of negative trains of thought. While Dr. Leaf’s brain detox helped incredibly to teach him that he could handle the situations that led to his freak outs, he still had major issues with cleanliness. He couldn’t just be told that something was clean. He either had to see it being cleaned or have knowledge of it being cleaned. He developed very precise routines that he needed to follow to quell the worries about germs or dirt. It was exhausting and frustrating because I didn’t know how to help.
Throughout this time, in an effort to be able to help Marty with something…anything…I started researching migraine treatments and preventatives. I found a natural treatment, feverfew, that works for all of us and, as a result, have been able to wean Marty from the beta blockers. I also found out that chronic migraine sufferers have a much higher risk for anxiety disorders. At the time, that information didn’t set off any warning bells but I filed the knowledge away for future use.
Although Marty felt good because his migraines had been eliminated, his germaphobia seemed to be holding it’s own…maybe even growing in severity. About 2 months ago, after a particularly trying day dealing with his germaphobia, I started to wonder if the germaphobia could also be more prevalent among migraine sufferers. Dr. Google lead me to a fascinating interview that Howie Mandel had given back in 2009. Mr. Mandel talked about his germaphobia and his obsessive compulsive disorder affected him. As I read the interview, it was a definite light bulb moment. I could see Marty and his issues throughout the article and, when I showed the article to Marty, his first response was “That describes me perfectly.” I was relieved that he saw what I saw…Marty has OCD. Discovering this and finally having a name for what Marty is dealing with has made a world of difference. He no longer feels like he is the only one dealing with a germaphobia. Finally, because he has a name to what he is dealing with, he feels safe and able to share what he has been experiencing with his friends. As his comfort level had grown, he has been able to relax some of his smaller germaphobic restrictions and he has developed routines. Over all, life has gotten a lot more relaxed and it feels like things are going to be ok.
This seems like a good stopping point. There is some more to tell and I promise it will be soon. Once again, huge, unending thanks to everyone who has read this far.