Well I’m back from the 22nd Annual OCD Conference in Boston, and by all accounts (including mine) it was a great success! Attendance was at an all-time high with around 1,700 participants and it really was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by so many others whose lives have been touched in some way by obsessive-compulsive disorder. My reflections on the last IOCDF Conference I attended all hold true for this one as well, though certainly each conference has its own highlights. For me personally, this year’s most memorable events include:
My book signing….I had the honor of meeting some wonderful people who I previously had not known, or had only known “virtually.” Their dedication to fighting their own OCD, or helping others battle the disorder, inspires me and motivates me to keep advocating for OCD awareness and proper treatment.
Some of the conference presentations I attended…. Jon Hershfield, Jeff Bell, and Jonathan Grayson were not only informative but immensely entertaining, and the valuable presentation by Alison Dotson was heartfelt and brave. The keynote speakers, Clint and Joanie Malarchuk, mesmerized the audience for an hour and a half as they detailed their journey through so many hardships, including Clint’s OCD. Their presentation ended with a much-deserved standing ovation.
The average age of attendees….It’s getting younger and younger, which is great! Not only are children and teenagers getting diagnosed at younger ages, they are fighting their OCD sooner as well. Kudos to the conference committee for offering so many outstanding sessions and programs for young people.
The establishment of an IOCDF Advocacy Program…. Jeff Bell announced the creation of this program which we will learn more about in the months to come. Anyone who wants to can participate!
While it’s easy to give you my personal overview of the conference, it’s more difficult to convey the feelings of camaraderie, warmth, and hope that envelop me at every OCD conference I’ve ever attended. If you haven’t already, I hope you get the chance to experience these feelings yourself.
Next year in Chicago!