I had a conversation with Bug this morning regarding his OCD. It is always highly interesting when he and I can have a conversation about his feelings...especially when his ADHD and OCD are allowing him to calmly explain what he thinks and feels during his times of uncontrollable compulsions and obsessions. Here are some of the things we talked about:
I asked Bug why I found his TV on (in his room) after bedtime again last night...even though he KNEW that he was grounded from it for having it on the night before. He said that he knew he wasn't suppose to have the TV on, but he didn't "have the will power to say NO" to his brain. I turned the TV off and went to bed, and Bug said that he got back up and turned it on again a few minutes later. He said he was awake until 1:40AM watching TV...and he told himself "turn the TV off and go to sleep" but once he turned the TV off he couldn't sleep and that he HAD to turn it back on before he could sleep.
Bug said that "the TV occupies my mind at night so that I don't get up from my bed." He said that he often has "racing thoughts" from which questions develop and he "has to get up to ask them." Also, the thoughts of "starving to death" don't creep into his mind when he is watching TV. (His brain tells him that he "has to eat or starve to death" at night.)
Something else that the TV helps him with at night is the fear of darkness. (Don't get me wrong, his room is nowhere near DARK to anyone except him!) But, he said that "the TV makes my room bright enough so I am not scared to stay in my room."
Something that we have been noticing with Bug (at night especially) is that he has very little concern for what the consequences of doing things that he knows he shouldn't be doing are. So, I asked Bug, out of curiosity, if Dad or I were to spank him EVERY time that he turned his TV on, would he still do it?? (We don't spank, but I was trying to use a severe consequence example in my question.) Bug said "I don't know if I would or not" and then he followed that up with "probably I would still turn it on, because I don't think I could stop my brain from making me do it." (Hmmm....very interesting to know!)
During our talk, Bug came up with his own insight about something that I had not put together yet. He said that he feels the need to be "entertained all of the time." That he cannot just sit and do nothing. (He is constantly asking if he can play a video game, ride his scooter, go to a friend's house, play a board game with someone, etc... He can't just "be.") He said that it is like that during the daytime and the nighttime for him and that the TV helps with that feeling as well. Bug even told me something that I did not know from the days when he was attending public school. He said "Mom, I had a desk and a chair at school, but I couldn't sit in my chair. I even stood up to do my papers to keep my brain happy." (Wow, I had no idea!)
So, this was how our conversation went. I came away from it feeling as if I had a bit more understanding of how Bug's OCD interrupts his life and I have a different attitude about the TV in his room, for sure! My little boy's brain seems to be in a constant state of being "stuck in high gear."