OCD Awareness Week

OCD Awareness Week  (October 10 – October 16th) holds a special meaning for me. It was during this week last year that I “officially” became an advocate for OCD awareness. Prior to this time, I had connected by telephone with several friends of friends who had children suffering from OCD.  Through these phone calls, I came to realize that what these parents who sought me out needed most was not my opinion on certain doctors, medications, or treatments (though those can be helpful), but HOPE. They wanted to hear that their children would be okay. I reassured them the best way I knew how, by telling them our family’s story. Yes, Dan had OCD so severe he could not even eat. Yes, he had barely been functioning. And yes, he has recovered. He is back in college, medication free, and doing great. I could sense the relief at the other end of the telephone as these parents took in everything I was saying.

And so I knew it was helpful to share Dan’s story, and though I was always more than willing to speak to any “referrals,” my advocacy ended there.

Until OCD Awareness Week, 2010.

I was glued to my computer, watching the live-streamed video of “An Evening of Stories,” which included courageous first-person and family member accounts of what it is like to live with OCD. Simultaneously, there were chat rooms open where people could converse with one another. I had never participated in anything like this before but decided to jump right in. At one point during the chat, I connected with a distraught young woman who had been seeing a therapist for quite some time, but her OCD was getting worse, not better. “Is the ERP Therapy too difficult for you to do?” I typed. “ERP Therapy?” she responded. “What’s that?”

And that was it. An advocate for OCD awareness was born. Because even though our family had fought our way through a disorienting maze of treatments and programs desperately trying to find the right help for Dan, I had just assumed we’d had a string of bad luck. I never realized that so many other OCD sufferers were not receiving the proper treatment. I had to help spread the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable, and Exposure Response Prevention Therapy is the treatment of choice.

OCD Awareness Week, 2011, also promises to be special for me. I am honored to have been invited to participate in the OCD Texas Conference in Austin on October 15, 2011. The theme of the conference is OCD advocacy and awareness, and I am excited to be a part of this important event. If you live in the area (or even if you don’t!) please consider joining us. Or check out all of the events scheduled around the country as we embrace this year’s theme:

Dare to Believe………together we can beat OCD.

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6 Responses to OCD Awareness Week

  1. Meg says:

    How does one watch the stream this year?

  2. ocdtalk says:

    Click on the first three words of this post (OCD Awareness Week) and there will be a link to click on for the live event on October 15th. I’m sure you could access it via Facebook as well.

    • Meg says:

      Thank you. I enjoyed reading through the blog. I’m diagnosed with intrusive thoughts, too. I look forward to attending the Chicago event Tuesday and watching online Saturday. I look forward to following your blog.

  3. ocdtalk says:

    I’m glad you are reaching out for support. I am the blogger for OCD Chicago and they are a great group; I am sure you will find both events you mention informative and inspiring. I’d love to hear what you think of them.

  4. I am looking forward to meeting you there. I believe we will be on the panel together.

    I have found your blog very informative as well.

    I also posted today about OCD Awareness Week, and would love for you to check it out.

    • ocdtalk says:

      Thanks for writing, Kelly! I was wondering who else is going to be on the panel :). I will definitely check out your blog and I look forward to meeting you soon.

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