Tuesday, September 25, 2012

OCD in Public

We were standing in line at the grocery store when the woman's coat in front of us accidentally swept across Brian's right cheek.

Immediately he ran over to me and pressed his right cheek against my coat.

Quickly, he turned around to press his left cheek on the woman's coat.

Knowing, exactly what he was going to do I grabbed him around the chest and tried tickling him to distract him.

Yeah right, you can't distract him when he's in the middle of an OCD routine.

His body goes completely rigid right down to his fingertips.  He immediately starts screaming and pulling from me. There is absolute panic on his face.  I, in no way, can hold him and keep him from doing a routine at this point.  He needs to do this routine to feel safe in the world.

The lady is looking down at him at this point with just a blank look, no smile, yet no menacing look either.  I quickly blurt out, "He has OCD and if he doesn't finish this routine he just won't be able to go on with his day."  (At this point you can see that I'm not even going into the autism diagnosis when such needs arise.)

I let go and he brushes his left cheek on her coat then turns to do the same to me.

Then he sighs and his body relaxes and he smiles and is back to his normal self.

The lady never said one word, she didn't smile, she just turned around and walked away.

I don't expect the whole world to let him touch them whenever the urge makes him do so.  Yet, I also don't know how to help him feel secure in this world without tapping things.

Sometimes when I describe these tapping routines that seem to balance out the world for Brian, I get looks and questions on why I'm so concerned.  It's not hurting anyone.

Not true,  it is hurting Brian.  He can't transition from room to room without adding 15 seconds to his day.  He can't transition out of the house without an extra minute.  It's not a cute little habit he's picked up.  There is pain in his face when he realizes he didn't do part of it and he has to jump out of the car and run back into the house before we can pull out of the driveway.

I can't expect everyone in the world to be tolerant of these needs, I dream for that of course, but I can't expect it.

I'm opening myself up to all possibilities on how to help get my boy over this latest hurdle.

1 comment:

Steph Curtis said...

I so wish I had the answer for you. Hope it helps just a little bit if I say I understand how it must make you feel. Hope you can look for an answer and some help without stressing yourself too much x