Well, I arrived home after midnight last night, totally exhausted, my mind full of so much new information. My first International OCD Conference was a resounding success, and I hope to share some of what I’ve learned in some upcoming posts. The sessions I chose to attend ranged from various introductory talks regarding different aspects of OCD to advanced ones geared toward therapists and researchers. I took something valuable away from each seminar.
It was outside of these talks, however, that I learned the most. Connecting with sufferers and their loved ones, and hearing individual stories as opposed to theories, is what impacted me most. Stories of torment, heartache and loss, as well as those filled with hope, and even humor, touched me deeply. Though there were people there from all walks of life, we shared a common bond; the fight against obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As I said before, a unique aspect of this conference was the fact that it was meant for not only OCD sufferers and their loved ones, but for therapists and researchers as well. Before attending, I thought this was great, as those directly affected by OCD could connect with some therapists and update themselves on the latest research. Now that the conference is over, I believe this coming together was just as advantageous (if not more) to therapists and researchers. Those with OCD, as well as their family members, astounded me with their knowledge and insight, and their input in the sessions for researchers and therapists was invaluable.
I was also thrilled to see so many children and teens at the conference, because this means they are likely receiving early treatment for their OCD. At the very least, they, and their families, know they are dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder and that treatment is available.
I have to admit that after two and a half days of “non-stop OCD,” I was overwhelmed. I told my husband I needed a break from OCD, and then, of course, it hit me. I have that choice. If I want to stop dealing with OCD for a while, I can easily do so. Those who are fighting it day in and day out, however, do not have that option. I’ve mentioned before that those with OCD are some of the bravest people I know, and I’m honored to join in the fight against this insidious disorder.