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Advice-Clock in the bathroom?


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So last year when we thought we could help DS with "regular" OCD, we put a clock in the bathroom. The first therapist thought it would help him keep track of the time spent in the shower. In the beginning it helped as did CBT. Fast forward to today, the clock has stayed in the bathroom. It's a standard 12" kitchen clock with a second hand that tics loudly. The past few weeks I realized that DS starts asking me about the same "Friends" episode every Monday night at 10pm. Yesterday, I used the excuse that the clock broke when I tried to reset the time for daylights savings.

 

This morning he said he needs a clock in there (he's in for his weekly BM and rituals). I said I'll see what I can do, but that clock is broken.

 

Should I try to find another one? Just ignore it? Did I mess with something that should have been left alone?

 

Update: he asks me about every hour "mom, what time is it?"

 

Thanks in advance,

T.Anna

DS15

Edited by T.Anna
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We have used a clock, and we have used a timer, as well. But I think the only real value either of those has is if DS agrees to certain time commitments for his bathroom tasks, and then he's held to them. In our experience, the mere notice of the "passing of time" provided by the clock or the timer didn't have any practical meaning when the OCD behaviors were roaring, because the OCD was in full command and basically dictated that time had no meaning, no power. That if the bathroom tasks took all night, that was the way it needed to be. It was everybody else on the "outside" telling him that the clock was giving him meaningful information that was wrong and causing a problem for him. ;-/

 

On the other hand, once we sat down with DS in a moment of calm and came to agreement about how long a certain task should take, and what the incentives and/or disincentives would be for sticking to the agreed-upon times, THEN the timer was a definite help.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks! I think right now the time is being dictated by OCD and DS was using the clock to "obey" I figure if he needs to ask then maybe it'll get tiring and he'll have to figure out another way to finish in there.

 

I really am tired of OCD! Cannot wait to find and turn a corner.

 

T.Anna

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Does he still have a therapist or psychiatrist that might be able to advise the best way to proceed?

My DS at times obsessed in the car about "where are we, what town are we in, what street are we in, how much longer til we get there". It had nothing to do with "are we there yet, I want out of here". I realized that the GPS in my car was giving him something to obsess over that he couldn't tune out. When I figured that out I turned off the GPS and told him the light from it was giving me a headache. Eventually he forgot about it and havent seen it since. But your sons case is far more severe.

 

How long has the clock been out of the bathroom and how has it affected his ritual? Will he talk about what the clock does for him?

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Does he still have a therapist or psychiatrist that might be able to advise the best way to proceed?

My DS at times obsessed in the car about "where are we, what town are we in, what street are we in, how much longer til we get there". It had nothing to do with "are we there yet, I want out of here". I realized that the GPS in my car was giving him something to obsess over that he couldn't tune out. When I figured that out I turned off the GPS and told him the light from it was giving me a headache. Eventually he forgot about it and havent seen it since. But your sons case is far more severe.

 

How long has the clock been out of the bathroom and how has it affected his ritual? Will he talk about what the clock does for him?

 

Clock has been out since yesterday morning. He wont talk about anything much. Getting rid of the clock is similar to your GPS strategy, eventually he will stop thinking, about it asking the time, etc.

 

Your story gives me hope.

 

T.Anna

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I hope it works for you. He did ask here and there and stress everytime he realized the GPS wasn't on, but it didnt escalate, and it eventually stopped. Our therapist always reminds me not to enable his rituals. Thats a really hard thing to hear and do, so I can totally relate to how you feel. On one hand you feel mean and sneaky if you take it away, but if you leave it there you feel you are allowing OCD to overtake him. He may resort to counting instead of watching the clock, but that will be one less dependency if it works.

I hope it goes well!

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Have you tried CBT? Would he be willing to give it a try to get rid of rituals? Out of 3 flares we have experienced one of them I was dismissed from our Dr as being beyond his scope and I had no blood work to give me a direction. We tried therapy and it helped a lot. For bathroom rituals we had to cover the mirrors in bathroom and bedroom. Wasn't easy but showed him he had power over the OCD if you can get them in a rational state. Good Luck!

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When this first started we did CBT 3x a week and he was great. But he was wrestling and off abx, plus got a flu shot and he fell off the cliff.

 

The short answer is no, we do not do any CBT currently. DS is homebound and the few attempts we made with therapy since January have not been successful. He is polite, but won't open up and gets really anxious.

 

The school psychologist was here a week and a half ago and the chatted quite a bit.,,but DS won't return his emails.

 

T.Anna

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I am with your that therapy is difficult during a flare. But my thought is to call your insurance company and see if you can get a person to come to your home for CBT. When he is "well" (more functional) you work on CBT to develop new coping skills. When they are in a flare you work on crisis management. If nothing else its great to have some extra support and advise from an expert and also an outsider. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we get sucked in a long with them. I have found the best success has come when we have therapists that come to our home at least periodically if not every week.

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An update after two weeks with no clock, OCD is definitely winning. Sunday night DS spent an additional 10 hours in the bathroom : (

 

So since my other son (Non-PANDAS DS (13)) misses having a clock there, and it obviously wasn't helping DS15, I bought them a shower clock radio. Maybe the music will be calming?!

 

T.Anna

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