Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Zoe vs. Dr. Phil

Last week's entry featured the acronym O.P.P. This week it's OCD.
All toddlers occasionally exhibit signs of obsessive compulsive disorder, but I had mounting evidence reason to believe Zoe might be suffering from the real thing.
And who better to consult about Zoe's possible OCD than Oprah-approved TV psychologist Dr. Phil?
Dr. Phil says that OCD can be controlled in 85 percent of cases. When I informed Zoe her response was, "What's 'puhcent'?" Also, because she herself can't count that high, she unilaterally rejected the idea that 85 was a real number. Everyone knows numbers only go as high as twenty-ten.
The only person who never had to
face the music was Helen Keller.
And that was cause she couldn't.
I told Dr. Phil what she said and he told me, "That dog won't hunt."
Wondering what he meant, I then presented Dr. Phil with ten examples of Zoe's behavior vis-a-vis OCD and its comorbidities (a word that needs to be used more since there are those of us who like to be morbid more than one way at a time), and his answers appear below. (Note: These may or may not be actual things he's said. Find out at the end.*)
1. Zoe likes to arrange all her toys in a straight line and facing the same direction. When one falls or refuses to stand, it triggers her Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (according to the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a crazy-ass insane temper tantrum). What should I do? 
"You can put feathers on a dog, but that don't make it a chicken."
Is this the same dog that won't hunt? Can you clarify?
2. Zoe refuses to wash her hands, but I thought that people with OCD were supposed to be obsessed with hand-washing. I've also heard that you should expose the person with OCD to dirty things to get them sensitized to dirtiness. Does this mean I should expose her to her own hands?
"You don't need a pack of wild horses to learn how to make a sandwich."
I think I'm starting to understand you though I'm still confused about all the animal references. I think you're saying I'm making this more complicated than it has to be, right?

The above example shows how obsessive thoughts
can lead to compulsive hand-washing. Mainly because
blood tends to get all over the place when you
slaughter your whole family with an axe.

3. In the morning, Zoe MUST have her apple juice (mixed with water otherwise she'd be even nuttier) from a red sippy cup with a matching red top no matter that we own sippy cups in other colors and all the red ones are either sitting unwashed in the dishwasher or at the bottom of a pile of dishes in the sink and never mind that Mommy's so tired she can hardly see straight. Should I go back to bed?
"No dog ever peed on a moving car."
And we're back to the dogs.
4. Also I need to prepare her morning juice drink in the proper sequence, that is, water first then juice from the large juice container and then some from the small bottle that I use for short trips out, and it must be in this order or . . . Disruptive Mood Dysregulation. Should I cry?
"Everyone faces the challenge of finding meaning to their suffering."
Roger that, Dr. P! That's the first one that seems on target and didn't involve an animal.
5. Zoe has many other rigid rules that must be adhered to that don't have to do with juice. For instance: The path home from the day care must always be the same. When I read her one of her favorite books, I always have to do the voices the same way until I can't stand to hear the sound of my own voice. In order for her to brush her teeth we must brush ours at the same time and each of us has to hold a tube of toothpaste in our non-toothbrush hands. Any advice?
"You don't need a rope to pinch a stranger's butt."

I told you I prefer the dove-gray sweater for arranging the cans in the pantry.

6. When Zoe was an infant she'd smack herself in the head when she drank from her bottle. Now when she drinks from her red sippy cup she pulls at her hair. Is this an offshoot of OCD called trichotillomania, aka the hair-pulling disorder? Will this lead to baldness?
"Don't make me put your head in my blender."
Baldness it is then.
7. I tell Zoe no a lot but this is because she's doing crazy stuff and I'm trying to teach her to survive and/or not be disgusting. She either ignores me or only listens for a little while before returning to the disgusting behavior. For example, the other day I asked her to stop smearing her Danimals smoothie on the TV and she complied for about three seconds before going back to smearing. However, when I promise her a cookie if she lets me finish food shopping without a meltdown she never forgets that. Does she have Selective Neurocognitive Disorder?
"No matter how flat you make a pancake it always has two sides."
Syrup's a problem too.
Sometimes hoarding is just hiding.
8. You had an episode on your show about hoarding where you paraded some poor woman and her family in front of your viewers like they were circus freaks. The DSM-5 defines hoarding as the "accumulation of a large number of possessions that often fill up or clutter an active living area to the extent that the intended use of the space is no longer possible." This sounds like my living room. It's not just the toys underfoot and the doll strollers and toy cars capsized with their stuffed animal occupants crushed beneath them as if there were a major traffic accident on Sesame Street, it's also the many sheets of paper strewn about featuring only one crayon mark due to her minimalist style. Her hoarding also affects her sleep because she insists on piling more and more toys on her bed, claiming she can't sleep without them. Besides the phalanx of stuffed animals, there are toys with sharp edges and that play music and so how could anyone sleep, especially you, Dr. Phil?
"The cat that ate the canary eventually also eats crow."
Ok, as long as there's a comeuppance on the horizon. 
9. On crazy sock day, Zoe insists on wearing crazy, i.e., mismatched, socks but once she has them on I CANNOT allude to the fact that she is wearing crazy socks or Disruptive Mood etc. I play along. Do I have Stockholm Syndrome?
"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it think it's a donkey."
You're telling me.
10. Zoe's OCD is giving me PTSD, so could you BYOB ASAP?
"Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."
Um, okay. 
Well, this has really helped and I think I'm well on my way to becoming a philistine, which is what I believe fans of Dr. Phil are called. How's that workin' for ya?
*Answers: 1 through 7 are all actual things Dr. Phil has said. 8 & 9 I made up. And 10 was a trick; that one's Judge Judy.
Zoe: 18; Universe: 0


  1. HA HA HA! I am dying laughing!! :)-Ashley

  2. I'm addicted to your blog now, so I nominated it for The Sunshine Award I hope to see your answers soon!

    1. Thanks! I have no idea what the Sunshine Award is. I'll have to check it out.

  3. Henry also refuses to wash his hands! It's like I'm stabbing him if I put them under the stream of water, regardless of temperature.

    I never thought of it as Stockholm Syndrome... but in a way... yes. Yes, it is. HA

    1. Yes, it's as if we're killing them. Zoe also does this with food she doesn't like. No matter what, vegetables are always "too hot."