Monday, October 14, 2013

OCD Awareness Week 2013

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.

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.

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?

35 comments:

  1. My husband I were talking about this a few days ago--that some people probably think OCD is just something that makes you kind of quirky and extra neat and tidy. People are aware of it, but may not know that it's actually a difficult thing.

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    1. Thanks, Kristina. Yes, I think people kind of know that OCD is out there, but the general idea is that it's a quirk or a weird set of habits, instead of a disorder that can really be debilitating.

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  2. I have seen this with several mental illnesses - one that caught me off guard the most was someone saying they have PTSD with certain things (using it as a term for being very afraid of something).

    Outside of you, I don't know anyone with OCD.

    And I wanted to also say that I am very sorry to hear about Sam. I'm familiar with the pain that comes from losing a beloved pet, and know this will take some time.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. It has been hard, but we are trying to be strong.

      I'm glad that people know more about mental illness and that it's talked about more. But it is frustrating when the terms are tossed around and used rather casually.

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  3. Hugs Tina. I've certainly been there. Very difficult.

    Thanks for the OCD awareness! You reminded me that I must do the same.

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    1. Thanks, Sunny. I appreciate all you do to raise awareness about OCD and to educate others!

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  4. Hi Tina,
    I have not been commenting on many blogs lately as I'm trying to keep up with writing a post every single day! But, I've thought of you often and thought, "I really need to visit Tina's blog!". I'm sorry to hear about your dear kitty. You gave your cat so much love and that is most important. Thank you for all the information about OCD, I understand a lot now. Much love and peace to you!

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    1. Thank you, Katherine. I appreciate your kind words. We are trying to remember the happy times with Sam.

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  5. those are amazing statistics Tina, I've read your posts and have shared your blog with others that find comfort from it ...it is a year that we had to put our oldest cat down he was almost 12, it is easier to think about him or see photos of him now but I miss him a lot...I may have mentioned before our other cats have taken up doing certain things with us that only he did before, it is quite comforting.

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. Those numbers are amazing, aren't they?

      I'm sorry about your kitty. We have lost two other kitties, and it does get easier with time, though there's always a hole in the heart. Our Chase Bird has been a great comfort to us this past week.

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  6. Oh Tina great post I do know your blog posts help many. It was too bad they did not diagnose you earlier but they are quicker now for the children that are suffering and that is wonderful. HUGS B

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    1. Thank you, B. I am glad, too, that medical professionals are more knowledgeable about it nowadays, and hopefully children are getting diagnosed and treated earlier.

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  7. Good morning Tina. I love this idea of an OCD Awareness Week. It's vital that people increase their awareness and educate themselves so that stereotypes can be lessened.

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    1. Thanks for your support, Keith. There are a lot of stereotypes about people with mental illness and about OCD, so I agree, we need to increase awareness.

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  8. Thanks for sharing. Since I work with someone with OCD for my job, I definitely see what a struggle it is on a regular basis.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Your client is really lucky to have someone understanding like you helping out.

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  9. it is true - we do over-simplify the disorder and use it to describe someone's obsession over something. you bring it forward to help us all understand it better - and that will definitely help the next set of kids who might have been misunderstood by their parents, teachers, etc. maybe it will save them years of angst.

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    1. Thank you, Theresa. That is my hope, that the more we learn about it, the more it will help children and others with OCD.

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  10. The little friends we have become a big part of our life. They are a great loss.
    I find your OCD posts fascinating. Much is learned . I get to see more and more what is going on. Interesting as to how long it takes to begin therapy for OCD First, one has to recognize a problem.

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    1. Thank you, Red. Yes, we certainly get attached to our pets.

      I think one reason it takes some people a long time to get diagnosed is because a lot of people will try to hide the symptoms from others. I did. I was embarrassed and I couldn't bring myself to tell even my doctor what was going on. Also, in years past, all medical professionals weren't educated on OCD.

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  11. Thinking of you and Larry, friend. Hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Jackie. I appreciate your support.

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  12. Thank you for all you have done, Tina, and continue to do, to raise awareness about OCD. It seems to me a lot of people who read your blog do not have OCD, and educating them is a huge step toward understanding the disorder and reducing the stigma.

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    1. Thank you for your support, Janet. And thank YOU for all you do to support the cause.

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  13. Thank you for speaking out on this subject Tina. xo

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    1. Nancy, thank you for supporting me when I write about it. :-)

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  14. You do such good work with your blog Tina!
    I lived in Africa for 14 years and there I started a support group for people with OCD.
    The relief of finding people with the same disorder was a true joy to all of them.
    I miss those people. We were a small group, but we had a lot of support from one another.
    It's so nice there are blogs now a days!

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    1. Good to hear from you, Klaaske! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. That is wonderful that you started a support group. I'm sure it not only helped you but the others in it, too. Meeting others with the same disorder was a blessing for me too.

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  15. Thank you for these posts, Tina! I am very familiar with OCD. Someone very close to me suffered with it for many years without seeking help, mostly because of shame caused by the stigma associated with mental illness. No matter how hard I tried to convince him to get help, to treat this like any other illness (why do we not treat illnesses of the brain like illnesses of any other part of the body???), he wasn't convinced. It's heartbreaking to watch people you care about suffer when they don't need to. I also find that OCD is not taken very seriously. People believe that someone can simply 'snap out' of their symptoms if they try hard enough. And if they really want to.

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    1. Thank you, Martha. I'm sorry that your friend didn't want to seek help. I understand the reluctance--I had a lot of that too. But there are such good treatments now. It's so much better now than it used to be.

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  16. this is so well written and a great read!!

    i missed you last week!! xo

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. I missed you, too, and am trying to play catch-up. :-)

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  17. Great post, Tina! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Linda, for reading and supporting me.

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  18. I didn't know there was a week for this. Thanks for letting us know!

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