Tuesday, August 2, 2016

From Resentment to Magic: my 3rd OCD conference #OCDcon

I considered skipping the International OCD Foundation's annual conference this year. Initially, I thought I learned what I needed from the previous two conferences I had under my belt. My confidence was short-lived after a driving trigger that left me feeling like I had started over from scratch. I felt resentment towards the treatment for OCD, resentment towards the professionals treating OCD, resentment towards the creation of vehicles.

A professional told me that I had to work on the hit-and-run OCD as it would just morph into another form. I didn't like the answer. I asked another professional: same answer. I asked a third professional: same answer.

It wasn't until a friend posed the question to me, "but couldn't OCD impact you just walking from point A to B?"

"Of course not!" 

But then a light bulb went off. My mind took me back to a few years ago when walking down a sidewalk was stressful, back to a time when peripheral vision felt like a curse, a time when I would doubt whether or not I had caught a glimpse of blood or a body part or a person, whether dead or on the verge of death. It was a time when I wish I could have worn blinders when going for a walk so I wouldn't have to retrace my steps and check to ensure 911 didn't have to be called.

My mind also took me back to when I wasn't driving but felt triggered as a passenger, again with that damn peripheral vision thinking I saw bodies along the road, back to when glancing at a body of water as a passenger had me doubting whether or not I saw someone drowning.

The question, "but couldn't OCD impact you just walking from point A to B?" took me back to these memories I had somehow forgotten. It really wasn't about the driving. My views towards the OCD community softened. I drove all over town solo after that conversation with my friend. I felt like an absolute rock star, until it became scary again. 

Sure, walking and being a passenger in a vehicle had previously triggered my OCD but the amount of anxiety never compared to what I felt when triggered by hit-and-run OCD. 

But I finally saw the logic. I finally saw that even though hit-and-run OCD may be one of the types I deem the scariest, I realized that with enough time and enough avoidance, something else could fill its shoes.

And with that, it was time for my third conference where magic happens--the magic of my adrenaline kicking in, making late nights and early mornings a piece of cake; the magic of the extroverted side of myself coming out in full force; the magic of travelling with a friend who was a first-time attendee after a recent diagnosis of OCD; the magic of the workshops continuing to empower me with the tools I need to live with this illness; the magic of reuniting with friends and the needy texts to and from one another each and every day ("let's meet here;" "come visit in Jonny's penthouse," (not really a penthouse); "you're triggered? We'll be right there."); the magic of meeting a new friend all the way from Shanghai; the magic of knowing we'll do this again in 2017 in San Francisco. 
...the magic of the five of us.

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