So many of us strive for perfection and feel mixed emotions of guilt or shame when we don’t reach our self set goals. But sometimes, that need can represent a more significant issue that must be addressed. By recognizing what defines us as humans and dealing with our challenges with the right support, there is always a way to find a healthy balance.
After hearing about Amudim from her sister, Yechiel’s* mother called us worried about her 16 year-old son. She had concerns about certain behaviors; and she was unsure whether they were simply signs of strict religious observance or a more troubling indication of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), an often “thrown about” term that is not always accurate.
Yechiel was scrubbing his hands multiple times a day to the point of bleeding, saying that they were not “pure enough.''His daily prayers consumed over four hours as he repeated each section, worried that he might have mispronounced a word. While praying, Yechiel would constantly check to ascertain that his tefillin were properly placed; and he also incessantly checked with his mother and on his own about the kashrus status of each food that he ate. This was the picture that Yechiel’s mom painted when she reached out.
Our case manager spoke with the mom at length about her son’s symptoms and the difference between rigorous religious observance and OCD. Through psychoeducation, the case manager was able to help Yechiel’s mom see the need for an evaluation and treatment. We gave her referrals for a psychiatrist and both individual and group therapy options. Our case manager assured Yechiel’s mom that she would be there for assistance throughout Yechiel’s journey, and she guided his mom on how to work with and best support her son.
Yechiel was eventually diagnosed with OCD and is currently mid-treatment. He is exploring the roots of his behavior and learning the tools he will need to navigate this challenge; we are hopeful that in time, Yechiel will find his way back to living a healthy life in which he feels comfortable.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Amudim is a phone call away and ready to help.
*Names and details have been changed for privacy purposes.
Each week, Amudim fields calls covering a wide range of crises and addressing various human concerns, including addiction, depression, abuse, health and domestic emergencies and many others. We track the calls and breakdown of issues for many reasons, foremost of which is to consistently improve and strengthen our knowledge and ability to address community’s needs.