25th Annual OCD Conference
The summer of 2017 marked the 24th Annual OCD Conference, and I was accepted for a position through the International OCD Foundation to be a Pediatric Group volunteer. I worked with speakers and room leaders to ensure youth engagement and to deliver psychoeducation about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anxiety in creative ways. Slow to engage with the rest of the group was an eleven-year-old boy who had a difficult time disclosing the details of his obsessions and compulsions. He shared that he felt like his OCD bullied him, but was willing to disclose little else. To connect with him and the rest of the group, I took the opportunity to share that I too have OCD, and validated just how bossy the obsessions and compulsions can feel at times. A chorus of variations on “You have it too?!” and “That’s so cool!” spread across the group. I instantly had a small club of young cohorts who joined me in sharing their struggles with the disorder. At their age, I didn’t consider having OCD to be an opportunity, but now, I see it as the potential to help, educate, and empower others. I celebrate being unapologetically individual and encourage others to feel the same in regards to their mental health.
This first-hand experience connecting with children and teens, where I had the ability to promote a sense of community and positivity around having a mental health diagnosis, confirmed my belief that the continuation of this work is my purpose.
If you haven’t personally experienced the annual OCD conference hosted by the IOCDF, this is the year to start going! The conference is a hub for the OCD community at large and brings together health professionals, researchers, and people of all ages with OCD (+ is super welcoming to their loved ones) for an empowering, informative, and tranformational weekend. The goal of the conference is to educate attendees about the latest methods of treatments and practice in OCD and related disorders. A strength about the conference is that they deliver all of this infomration in a postive and engaging ways with specific programs for people of all ages, OCD subtypes, and interests.
Visit ocd2018.org to learn more or to register for the conference. You don't want to miss this. Hope to see you there!