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Looking for ways to make things smoother

Andyjf Member Posts: 1 Listener
edited December 2019 in Autism and neurodiversity
Hi folks,

My daughter is 17, and has ASD, OCD and generally high anxiety. We're currently going through a very tough time, because her OCD issues are consuming her life. She has little time for anything else because fears about contamination cause very lengthy washing and toilet routines. Just to give you some idea, she typically will spend 3 hours on a morning in the bathroom, similar at night. We don't see her downstairs most days until after midday. We can't even touch her, or give hugs. She is academically good (high functioning autistic), but after GCSEs finished, she seems to have lost all motivation and drive. I think she feels that her state of mind is going to be this way forever. She has no friends, and doesn't really connect with her peers, due to social difficulties. I'm pretty sure this lack of friends creates a huge void in her life. We're worried that she may be slipping into depression. Currently she is virtually a prisoner in the house, rarely goes outside, and I'm sure this is not good for her physical and mental health.

Her fears around contamination, and lengthy compulsive routines have got much worse over the last few months. Last year she could function, and completed her exams. But she's been unable to start college for A-levels as it is logistically impossible to get there in time. And she won't use their toilet anyway.

We are seeing a therapist/counsellor, which helps a bit, but the therapist does not get the true picture of how this is affecting the whole family and we get no advice on how to parent this. Medication is out of the question, as she wouldn't take pills, for fear of it damaging her body. She also has lots of health fears, based around things giving her cancer.

Well that's where we are at the moment. We're doing our best to support her, but it's difficult, and we aren't getting much guidance. I'm hoping to maybe talk with other families here in a similar situation, and get some ideas for managing things. It's hard not to get annoyed at times when events are dragging on late into the night or early hours of the morning. Nobody tells you what to do when faced with a 2 hour meltdown starting at midnight! We've tried various approaches - softly, softly, and at times, being quite firm, and sometimes it has been very emotional. Honestly our daughter seems to have been transformed virtually overnight into another person. Initially this was quite scary, as we didn't have any understanding of what was wrong. Gradually through piecing together information, her behaviour actually appears to be textbook. This was a kind of comfort because it's a known condition. At the moment we have bearable days, and really atrociously bad days. So I'm looking for any advice or suggestions on how to make things a bit smoother.

Sorry for the lengthy intro, but thanks for reading



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