Thank you, dear readers, for the sympathy and support you showed me this week after losing Sam.
I appreciated each message and each kindness. You reminded me that while most of us don’t know each other “in person,” we forge connections in this bloggy world that are important and strong.
It was a very difficult week for Larry and me. We are still in a daze. It all seems to have happened so fast.
Soon I will write more about what has been going on.
But right now it is easier to write about something different.
The week of Oct. 14-20 is International OCD Awareness Week, promoted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF).
I want to use this opportunity to bring awareness to an often-misunderstood disorder.
According to the website of the IOCDF, one in 100 adults and up to one in 200 children in the U.S. likely have OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. The website goes on to say, “OCD can be a debilitating disorder, but there is treatment that can help. Unfortunately,it can take up to 14–17 years from the first onset of symptoms for people to get access to effective treatment, due to obstacles such as stigma and a lack of awareness about mental health, and OCD in particular.”
|One of the IOCDF's social media signs.|
I first exhibited symptoms of OCD when I was a young child, perhaps 7 or 8 years old. I was not diagnosed until I was 26 years old.
I counted compulsively, tried to pray constantly, asked forgiveness over and over, confessed to thoughts I might have had, washed my hands until my hands and wrists were red and raw. I spent an inordinate amount of time checking for things that might be dangerous to others. I read and reread schoolwork over and over.
I hid my symptoms the best I could. My parents thought I was being disobedient and contrary, wasting water, wasting time, not doing my schoolwork like I was supposed to, asking seemingly silly questions over and over.
Treatment, including medication, therapy and self-help have brought me a long way from the hellish days when OCD was a constant, strong force in my life.
There also seems to be more awareness about OCD among the general public.
But some that of that awareness oversimplifies this very serious disorder. OCD is not about being super-organized or neat.
This misunderstanding helped to guide the IOCDF in creating social media posters for this year’s awareness week: “Popular culture is fond of using the phrase "I'm sooo OCD" to mean someone who is a perfectionist or a neatnik. But rarely do people understand what it really means to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.”
I have written about the different manifestations of OCD that I’ve experienced. Below are links to some of those posts is you’d like to learn more about the way the disorder has affected me.
I hope you will also check out the website of the IOCDF for more information.
Besides me, have you ever known anyone with OCD?