More on PANDAS

Watching an episode of 20/20 about PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) and my heart just… Sees.

#PANDAS is, in easy terms, when strep throat in certain kids means that antibodies attack the brain instead of the strep. For these kids, they may experience sudden behavioral changes or sudden on-set OCD.

I remember getting my OCD diagnosis. The psychiatrist had asked a million questions, and a final one– “Any other medical history we’ve missed?”– and I, feeling silly, said, “Well, I broke my elbow twice. And had strep throat a hundred times.”

She looked up sharply. “Strep throat? Did you know there’s a lot of evidence of a strong connection between childhood strep throat and OCD?”

On the show tonight, nearly the same conversation.

“Anything else just before all these symptoms?”

“Well, he had strep.”

So, as I watch this, I see OCD obsessions and compulsions on the screen where the interviewer doesn’t. Maybe I’m reading into it. But maybe not. I can see my seven-year-old self in some of their actions, hear myself in their words.

The body is a weird, magical, glorious beast, and the world is fallen. I’m just so grateful for the doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists in my life that made connections, did or learned the research, and led me to freedom.

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