On behalf of our Board of Directors, ministry staff and volunteers, we couldn’t possibly be more proud of our teammate and friend, Rhonda Martin, upon the publication today of her first children’s book, Stuck. I was honored to have the privilege of endorsing Rhonda’s book, a very realistic portrayal of the day-to-day challenges and distress experienced by school-aged children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) described through the eyes of Cinnamon, a seven year old girl with the disorder. Here’s my somewhat less than unbiased review…
More so than any other category of kids I treat in my practice, children with anxiety disorders and/or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder suffer in silence. You won’t see a barrage of ads on TV suggesting that parents “call their child’s doctor” if they suspect their child has OCD, because the medications demonstrated to be effective for the disorder are all inexpensive generics and the counseling approach of choice, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often difficult to access because of the shortage of clinicians with appropriate training and supervision to effectively treat children.
By and large, the kids with OCD who come to my practice are really good kids. They’re often among the most conscientious and hard-working students with the best grades. They follow rules. Most are quiet and well-behaved in school. Some tend to be shy. Many struggle with other symptoms of anxiety. Given the nature of my practice, many kids I treat for OCD have other mental health conditions that co-occur with OCD…tic disorders, ADHD, Asperger’s Disorder to name a few.
Many of the kids I meet with OCD are mentally exhausted by the time they get to our office. They think too much. It’s not at all uncommon for me to see kids with OCD who toss and turn for several hours when it’s time to go to bed because they can’t stop thinking about the events of the day or next day for long enough to be able to fall asleep. Their inability to obtain relief from distressing thoughts often predisposes them to clinical depression. Many suffer from unrelenting doubts…doubts that all too often impact upon their friendships, family relationships and spiritual development.
Rhonda Martin’s new book, Stuck, is an invaluable resource for kids with OCD and their families because it helps kids and parents to recognize that others experience similar types distressing thoughts, irrational fears and compulsive behaviors. The ability to attach a name to symptoms is often the first step in the process of seeking help. The kids I see in my practice have often suffered in silence for years. The availability of Stuck will undoubtedly result in thousands of kids and families seeking help who wouldn’t have otherwise experienced relief from a condition that poses an obstacle to them becoming the people God created them to be.
The thought patterns and behaviors described by Cinnamon, the book’s seven year old protagonist, represent a very accurate portrayal of the daily challenges faced by school-age kids with OCD. At the same time, Cinnamon is portrayed as a hopeful and well-adjusted child who engages in all the activities common for kids of her age, loves her family and practices her faith!
Rhonda’s experience uniquely prepared her to develop such an accurate characterization of a child with OCD. I recognize many of Cinnamon’s symptoms in the patients we’ve shared with OCD. She knows her stuff. She also demonstrates an extraordinary level of commitment to the kids and families she serves through her practice. She’s been willing to go out to schools and meet with teachers and principals on her own time when her involvement was essential for some of my most complicated kids. She’s done a fabulous job in her roles as a leader and trainer with Key Ministry.
I’m most proud of Rhonda because she demonstrated remarkable courage in portraying a child from a religious family in her first children’s book. Cinnamon’s OCD is an issue when she attends church and when she prays. In this far too politically correct society we live in, most authors would be too afraid to include references to a child’s involvement in unapologetically Christian activities. Rhonda’s refusal to hide her light under a bushel basket is an inspiration to our entire team.
Stuck is an outstanding book for families of children with symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Please share the book with any child or family who might benefit from Cinnamon’s story. Stuck is also a great gift for your church library or pediatrician’s office. To order Stuck, click here.
Key Ministry helps connect churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. In order to provide the free training, consultation, resources and support we offer every day to church leaders and family members, we depend upon the prayers and generous financial support of readers like you. Please pray for the work of our ministry and consider, if able, to support us financially!