Monthly Archives: September 2013

OCD Twin Cities

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You know how people say there’s some truth to every joke? Well, a few weeks ago the communications director at IOCDF mentioned that the president of the foundation’s Twin Cities chapter had moved, making it difficult to head up an affiliate in the city she didn’t even live in anymore.

I wrote, “Maybe I should take over. ;)” When I wrote that, I was actually being serious. But what if she thought it was a bad idea? So, there we go, add the winky face and hit “send.”

Then a couple weeks ago she called and said, “I know you were maybe joking when you said you’d take over, but we’re wondering if you’d actually like to.”

Fun! Yes! I do want to lead OCD Twin Cities. I want to keep spreading awareness in everything I do, and what a great platform to do it. The transition isn’t official yet; I’ll get advice from the current president and we’ll do a sort of baton passing in the coming months.

I am so excited. Jackie Lea Sommers, an incredible blogger and OCD advocate, will be the communications director, and we’ll work together closely.

Locals, stay tuned!

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Elizabeth McIngvale, My Book, and Recovery

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Several years ago, when I first started to suspect I might have OCD, I visited the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) site—a lot. I would check my symptoms against their list of common obsessions and compulsions, wondering over and over (and over) whether I might have OCD. Whether I could be helped.

At that time, IOCDF had just recruited their very first spokesperson, an 18-year-old with OCD named Elizabeth McIngvale. Each time I landed on the IOCDF home page I saw her face and her encouraging words, and I felt a little better, a little braver. Elizabeth was diagnosed with OCD at age 13, and her parents were told her symptoms were untreatable. Can you imagine how hopeless they must have felt? The day I met my psychiatrist he told me he could do a lot for me, and knowing that gave me the strength to try to improve.

But Elizabeth pushed on against all odds. She is a successful young woman, the founder of the Peace of Mind Foundation and the OCD Challenge. That’s why I knew I had to ask her to write the foreword to my book, even if it was a long shot—she’s very busy, after all! To my delight, she said yes, and I’m so looking forward to treating all of my readers to her encouraging words before delving into the heart of the book—which will likely be a different section or chapter for each individual.

Just one more month until publication! I really can’t wait to share my story, as well as the stories of several young people with OCD, who share something in common with Elizabeth: They’ve refused to give up and give in to OCD. I hope you’re as inspired by them as I have been.

The Amazingly Awesome, Always Incredible OCD Community

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Having OCD isn’t exactly a treat. But since I was diagnosed several years ago, I’ve been consistently impressed with the OCD community. Whether it’s another person with OCD, a psychiatrist who specializes in OCD, an author, or OCD support groups, I’ve found one thing in common: an unwavering willingness to help. 

I’ve known this for a while, but it was solidified when I started to write my book. Every time I reached out to someone, whether it was for permission to re-create a chart they’d published, for help finding young people who would contribute essays to my book, for a review, or even to write the foreword to my book (Elizabeth McIngvale!), I was met with enthusiasm and thoughtful responses. 

When I included a note in a small donation I made to the International OCD Foundation (the most I could manage at the time), the foundation wrote back. In a handwritten note. I was surprised, and grateful, and touched. This was no ordinary nonprofit, that was clear.

Over time I’ve become more and more ingrained in the OCD community myself (of course I’ve been a member since I was diagnosed). Although it can be difficult at times, especially when I chat with someone who can’t yet see the light at the end of the tunnel, I love being purposeful about my role. I can give back and be selfless about my commitment—something I’ve learned firsthand from my predecessors and peers.

Talking About OCD—Like, With Another Person

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I’ve been writing about OCD a lot lately. And I’ve been mentioning it to a lot of people, because when I mention I have a book coming out their first question is “What’s it about?” But I’m not sure I’ve ever actually sat down with another person who not only has OCD but is doing as well with it as I am.

Earlier this week that changed. I met a fellow OCD blogger for coffee, and it was like being on a first date with someone you have a ton in common with, the kind of meeting that goes by so quickly you don’t realize what time it is and you’re not done talking.

I’ve gotten so used to telling other people about OCD, explaining what it’s like, and here I was, just talking about it with someone who already understood, firsthand. Someone who’d had many of the same obsessions I’d had, someone who’d gone through life for decades without understanding what was wrong, and someone who’d pretty much beat the disorder into submission. We kept enthusiastically agreeing with each other, exclaiming “Yes!” when one of us said something that really hit the nail on the head.

I highly recommend talking with another person with OCD. I know it’s not always easy to find others who have OCD, and when you do they may have totally different symptoms and be at a different stage than you are. But even if you can’t meet in person, try to chat with someone. There are online support groups, phone numbers you can call, and local events. Check out the list offered on the IOCDF website to get started.

Good luck!