Where is Dan?

by stuart miles freedigitalphotos.net

My son Dan’s twenty-eighth birthday is in a couple of days, so I thought I’d share this post written in November 2013. He continues to do well after suffering with severe OCD almost nine years ago – and I continue to be enormously grateful…..

I have been fortunate to share the story of my son Dan’s recovery from severe OCD with so many whose lives have been touched by this horrible disorder. The fact that he is doing so well is concrete evidence that OCD, no matter how severe, is indeed treatable, and it is gratifying to know that people have found hope through our story.

When I connect with those who have either read my book or heard me speak, they often ask “How is Dan now?”

I am incredibly thankful that the answer continues to be, “He is doing very well.”

The next question is often something such as, “Where is he? Why don’t we ever see him at these conferences/meetings/other OCD events?”

In 2012 I wrote a post discussing whether “OCD advocacy” should be a responsibility of those who have recovered from severe OCD. Better than my post, I believe, are the comments from those who pointed out that advocacy comes in many ways, shapes, and forms. By continuing to do well, keeping his OCD at bay, and living his life to the fullest, Dan is giving hope to all those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Maybe my son’s choice to not focus on his OCD any more than he needs to is one of the reasons he has learned to cope so well. After all, OCD is something he has, not something he is. Dan has made a conscious effort to put his OCD on the back burner and focus wholeheartedly on living his life to the fullest. He fought his way back from the brink of despair, and perhaps this fact fuels his resolve to leave OCD out of his life as much as he possibly can.

Still, I’m not fooling myself. I know at some point Dan might not have a choice. While he might go years with mild obsessive-compulsive disorder, there’s still a chance it could flare up at any time with a vengeance. It could overtake him again. The bottom line is I don’t know what the future holds, and neither does Dan. Uncertainty. The word that those with OCD (and many of us without the disorder) hate. Nobody knows what will be.

For now, however, I will revel in the fact that Dan is doing well. I will continue to advocate for OCD awareness and proper treatment, and I will respect his decision to not want to make OCD a focal point of his life. Because after all, isn’t that the whole idea?

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6 Responses to Where is Dan?

  1. Carol M Tomkovich says:

    Thanks for reposting the update. I’m so glad your son is doing well! Although my son is still struggling with his OCD, he is functioning and dong well in college.

    • Thanks Carol! And I’m glad to hear your son is doing well in college – it can be such a stressful time! I’m guessing he has the tools to fight his OCD and I hope things continue to go well for him.

  2. Rachel says:

    I love this article! Dan is doing his best right now to live his life with a reprieve from OCD. And that’s ok! Just because he has gone through this illness doesn’t mean that he has to dedicate his whole life to raising awareness about it. And like you said, he is a message of hope to all OCD sufferers. Meanwhile you have taken this issue on, and you are fighting it so well! You are an inspiration to me as a fellow mom of an OCD sufferer.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Rachel. It means a lot to me to know my posts have been helpful. I wish you and your family all the best as your son fights his OCD and hope to hear from you again.

  3. Susan c Cline says:

    You have given me hope for my son who suffers from ocd and is getting worse. It affects his whole life, he can’t work. ocd started about 5 years ago along with severe anxiety, he is now 22 years old. I just read about erp therapy from one of your posts and hope we can find a therapist. I would love to read your book also. So glad your son Dan I well.

    • Hi Susan, I am so sorry to hear your son has been suffering so much, but there is so much hope for him. It continues to boggle my mind that the right therapy (ERP) remains elusive to so many….it is so upsetting that all these years nobody recommended the evidence-based psychological treatment for your son. I wish you all the best as he fights his OCD and please keep me posted!

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