Well, I am back from the OCD Texas Conference in San Antonio. It was, as expected, an amazing weekend of sharing, learning, and connecting with others whose lives have been affected by OCD. International OCD Foundation conferences, and those of their affiliates, are unique in that they are geared not only for those with OCD and their loved ones, but for therapists and researchers as well. It is truly a collaboration, where each individual has something important to contribute.
Over the next few weeks or so, I plan on periodically sharing some of the events of the conference with you. I’ll start today, with a film by John Spottswood Moore, who is an animator, a filmmaker and a film enthusiast. He also has OCD and his film, Once Again, is a short documentary that revisits his life as a ten-year-old boy with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I was moved by his story, which I highly recommend watching. It’s less than twenty minutes long, and will be available to viewers until October 27, 2013, when John will be entering Once Again in film festivals.
About halfway through the film, we meet Dr. Charles Mansueto, the therapist who first introduced John to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Mansueto is interviewed and says, “Classic OCD grows out of quite desirable qualities, I believe. We like people who are creative and have busy minds. We like people who are passionate and have powerful feelings. But they can combine to cause a certain kind of problem.” He goes on to say, “When you walk around a conference and you meet people with OCD…they are special people.”
I can vouch for that, and have previously expressed similar sentiments. And so I spent the weekend with special people, some of the most caring, kindest, and interesting people I have ever met. And while I was uplifted by all the incredible stories of successful recovery from OCD, I was also disheartened to meet many people who are still suffering, or who have loved ones who are suffering, many severely, from OCD. Two roadblocks I continually heard about are a shortage of OCD specialists and a lack of affordable treatment.
John’s film shows that we have indeed made progress in OCD awareness. But awareness isn’t enough. We need more properly trained therapists and we need adequate healthcare for all. We still have such a long way to go in the fight against OCD.