RICHARDSON- Being a kid can be tough. Peer pressure, depression, avoiding drugs just some of the speed bumps life can throw at you.
At first look, Emily Woodhouse may look like your average 16-year-old.
She loves the Beatles, hanging with her dog, Butterfinger, and she isn’t too fond of algebra homework.
But every day, Emily’s fighting a battle no one else can see.
Emily’s been dealing with OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, since she was in the second grade.
She remembers watching the kids in her class.
“If they didn’t wash their hands, I would track them throughout the day and not touch anything that they touched,” Emily said. “Tracking them, it was a lot of work. If they touched the water fountain, I guess I wasn’t drinking water anymore. If they touched my desk, then I wouldn’t be able to touch my desk.”
Call it fate, or luck, Emily’s mom is a clinical psychologist. Her specialty? Treating OCD.
Emily’s mom immediately recognized the behavior as obsessive and started working with her.
“That probably took maybe 6 weeks,” her mother, Dr. Peggy McMahon said. “Which is partly because of her age and partly because we just got on it pretty aggressively. OCD is very treatable, but if it’s untreated it can be a devastating disorder.”
OCD affects about 1 in 100 kids.
Besides an obsession with germs or hand-washing, common OCD symptoms include rituals that can make it nearly impossible to leave home, or intrusive thoughts about things like religion, fear of death, or bad news.
A group of filmmakers felt these stories needed to be told, putting together a documentary on children living with OCD called ‘Unstuck: An OCD Kids Movie.’
“It’s really important to know that they’re not alone and there are a lot of others dealing with this and there is therapy and treatment and people that want to help you,” said producer, Chris Baier, whose daughter has OCD.
For Emily, she’s still dealing with her OCD but is really just focused on being a teen.
“It is a part of you, but it doesn’t define you,” Emily said.