Shannon, it's so uplifting to see a parent who is actively trying to help their child navigate OCD. I didn't even realize until adulthood that I'd likely had it since I was little, and nobody else in my early life seemed to notice it either, since I was also very chill and very high-functioning. Your daughter sounds awesome, by the way! You are doing a great job! Please drop the self-blame. Many experts think that OCD has a very strong genetic component and is more a function of brain structure and/or brain chemistry than of life experience anyway.

That said, I can tell you from my own life that I *definitely* felt and feel anxiously triggered by certain types of messaging in my external environment. I've been meaning to write a longer post about this for, oh, about 2 years, but briefly, here are 2-ish key ideas I've figured out from years of self-examination:

1) OCD in general, and certainly my own OCD, largely tends to come down to an inflated sense of responsibility in the sufferer. What does your daughter feel responsible for? Why might she feel that way?

2) Many sufferers' rituals are about morals and/or "balance." For example, giving 500% effort to schoolwork can be a way of assuaging a sort of impostor syndrome (e.g., "If I get good grades or win this contest without trying hard enough ALL BY MYSELF, or if I claim that I "read" this page without being 100% focused on every single word, then people will think I'm more earnest about my efforts than I am, which means I "lied," which means I'm a bad person and I don't deserve the good things I get."). Other rituals can involve elaborate superstitions about fear of causing harm (e.g., "If I don't arrange my books exactly right, my bookshelf might fall down, and maybe somebody will get hurt." or "There are X many letters in this bad word, so if I splash my face with water X many times when I'm washing my face, that's the same as saying the bad word, which means I'm a bad person, which means I deserve to be punished.")... or fear of causing emotional upset (e.g., "If I don't say these prayers, or if I don't say them with the right tone of voice, Heaven might get mad at me, and then my life will be unhappy and I'll feel very bad." I must say them PERFECTLY, and often enough.").

2b) In your daughter's case, it might be worth figuring out what sort of "balance" she is seeking in her world, whom (can be people, can be spiritual figures, can be the Earth, etc.) she is afraid of "upsetting," and whether there is anything in particular that makes her feel bad about herself... whether it's a bad grade, an emotionally sensitive friend or relative who accuses your daughter of being hurtful when she's not trying to be, or (with OCD it can practically be) anything else.

I'm not making any assumptions here about your daughter's situation or the influences in her world; I just wanted to offer these ideas because a lot of them have become clear to me about my own OCD struggles along the years, and once these epiphanies gelled for me, it made a big, healthy, liberating difference.

It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job of being present with your daughter, being mindful of the words you can use to reassure her, and just all-around helping her to stay well and re-ground in self-love. I wish you both much love... and serenity. :)

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