­

Aha! Moments from an Aha! Moment … and dog toys … and questionable holiday merchandising choices …

Why do I have a dog toy with a tissue taped to it sitting on my desk? And how does it relate to the Target OCD Obsessive Christmas Disorder sweater currently being sold in stores? As usual, it’s sort of a long story. When I wrote my Aha! Moments from the 2015 IOCDF Conference, Part 1, I described my OCD as the equivalent of a sobbing Chicken Little, always crying, “The sky is falling!” In fact, in that blog post, I handed my OCD a tissue for the very first time. The more that I thought of my OCD bawling, the more I envisioned it as a little orange ball. My dog Lily loved her JW Pet Good Cuz orange “football” toy (it was a ball with feet, so it became “the football”), and as I thought more about my OCD as a sad little creature waddling along behind me, whining about all the things that could kill us, the more I decided that it looked like Lily’s football. So I went to PetSmart a month or so ago to find one (as Lily’s has sadly disappeared), and found this one…a little orange ball with feet and sunglasses. It seemed to perfectly [...]

Aha! Moments from the 2015 IOCDF Conference, Part 2

"You can do this," I said as I held Lily's hand, the scene before me becoming blurry as my eyes welled with compassion. Lily* turned to look at me, big crocodile tears rolling down her face. "I'm going to let go of your hand now," she said, her voice breaking with the weight of her fear, the weight of what she was about to do. "Because I want to do it just like you did. Touch it just like you did. With both hands." She nodded, a gesture of resolution more for herself than for me, and turned back around. As this woman I had met only hours before reached her hands forward, time seemed to slow down, as if the universe were pausing to recognize the importance of this small, yet terribly great, act of defiance against a disorder that Lily and I shared: OCD. She continued to reach forward, and I realized I wasn't breathing. In that moment her hands were my hands, and I knew in the very depths of my soul the terror that she felt. "Aha," I heard a voice inside me whisper, breaking the silence, forcing me to breathe. "This is what it's all [...]

IOCDF Conference|

Aha! Moments from the 2015 IOCDF Conference, Part 1

As I sit here thinking about what an amazing time I had at the 2015 IOCDF Conference—the fun I had connecting with friends new and old, the information I learned, the new perspectives I gained—I marvel that I was actually there. Not because I couldn’t get a flight to Boston. (Well, OK, I did have to buy a new ticket to get to Boston an hour and a half before my previously purchased flight would have taken off … but that’s another story for another day.) The real reason I’m marveling is because I’m 44. For anyone who has heard “Is Fred in the Refrigerator?” you know that my OCD loves the number 4. It also loves irony. And according to my OCD, this is the year … that I am supposed to die. But because of a book I read on the flight to the 2014 IOCDF Conference, I have decided to live happily with the knowledge of my potential impending death. And because of attending this year's conference, I have a better understanding of what “advocacy,” one of the themes of this year’s conference, really is. Since the clock is ticking and who knows when the specter of Death [...]

IOCDF Conference|

The 2015 IOCDF Conference

We're less than one week away from one of my favorite events of the year: the International OCD Foundation Annual Conference. This year it's being held in the IOCDF's hometown of Boston, and those of us going on Dr. Jonathan Grayson's Virtual Camping Trip will get to explore some of the innards of the city, so to speak, in great detail on Friday night. But more about that later... When I went to my first conference in 2010 in Washington, DC, I knew no one. I remember talking to my friend Linda the night before the first day of the conference, telling her what I vowed to do: I was going to find people to go to lunch with that first day. I was determined to introduce myself to as many people at the conference as possible. Because I knew that for the very first time in my life, I was going to have the opportunity to meet other people who also had OCD. Little did I know the lifelong "aha!" moment that promise to Linda would produce. How it would change the course of my life and start me on a journey that not only included finally recovering from OCD, but also changing careers to become an OCD [...]

IOCDF Conference|

Aha! Moments from the 2014 IOCDF Conference

When I attended my first International OCD Foundation conference in 2010, the whole thing was one huge Aha! Moment from beginning to end. As I share in "Is Fred in the Refrigerator?", I went through the entire conference picking my chin up off the floor in amazement. In session after session I learned one mind-blowing thing after another about OCD and its treatment, and the fact that as a person with OCD, I did NOT have to suffer. I just left the 2014 IOCDF conference in Los Angeles, the fifth one I have attended. This year I spent the entire conference with a slightly different expression on my face:  a huge smile. In this Aha! Moment, I'd like to share why. Bring It On, Baby! Even though I have been to four previous IOCDF conferences, I have never been on the "virtual camping" trip. This year, I made it a priority to join the 200 other conference attendees walking around Los Angeles on Friday night to do some "OCD camping." So just what is OCD camping? Imagine walking around a city at night confronting all the triggers that your OCD doesn't want you to go near, mentally or physically. I [...]

IOCDF Conference|