All tagged OCD

Intrusive Thoughts: What It's Like to Be a Mom with OCD

My first therapy appointment went well. Almost too well, actually. The therapist's office sits in a newly-renovated building right on my way to work. There’s plenty of parking, free coffee and a little antique shop next door. 

The themes of Monday’s appointment seemed to be:

  1. Temper tantrums
  2. Intrusive thoughts

The counselor assured me that my son’s behavior sounded normal. We decided that keeping a tantrum journal would be a good way to identify what sparks his meltdowns. 

The intrusive thoughts were tougher.

Intrusive thoughts are a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder that causes distressing thoughts to come out of nowhere. Think of them as brain allergies: an overreaction to common environmental dangers. Thousands of years ago, these intrusive thoughts might have saved an ancestor of mine from a saber-toothed tiger. But for me, they’re illogical, uncomfortable and nearly impossible to control.

Here’s an example:

Mental Illness and the Gap in Maternal Healthcare

I’ve been working on an essay that I’m calling “Maternal Instinct, or OCD?” So far I’ve interviewed two psychiatrists who specialize in postpartum mental illness. It’s fascinating and heartbreaking. After talking to people who actually get it, I can’t help but realize how rare they are. And how hard it is to get adequate psychiatric care.

I tried to find a psychiatrist when I was pregnant with my first son. Having already been diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder, I knew I faced a high risk of postpartum depression and other problems. But I couldn’t find anyone who would treat me. My old psychiatrist deemed me too big of a liability, and my family doctor couldn’t find another one within a two-hour radius who was accepting new patients.