It’s the last day of the Conference: Prepare to be sad when you leave, and maybe sadder when you get home. I said to someone yesterday, “Can’t we just live here?”
“Boston?” she asked. “Or the hotel?”
“The hotel,” I said, “but what I mean is, ‘Can’t we just live with people with OCD and not have to go back to the real world?'”
The answer is no, of course (but let me know if you have any large plots of land we can build an OCD commune on). We live in a world with people who don’t always understand OCD, and after several days of being surrounded by others with OCD as well as caring family members and therapists, it will be a bit of an adjustment to go home.
First of all, take some time to decompress. Relax and reflect on the memorable experiences. Then follow these tips to make the wonderful feelings of community last longer:
- Keep in touch with the new friends and connections you’ve made here. Did you get an email address or a phone number? Use it! Find friends on Facebook or Twitter, and follow people’s blogs or websites. If you met people from your town or city, make plans to meet for coffee or dinner.
- If you learned a lot, share it with others. You don’t have to hold a mini conference to do it; just tell a parent or friend about some of the most interesting tidbits. If you’re up to it, you can write a blog post or do a podcast. Spread the word! You’ll feel great talking about it and educating others. It’s the best way to help reduce stigma, and if you have OCD and don’t feel comfortable talking about it, doing so will be therapeutic.
- Get involved in OCD events. Maybe your area has a local affiliate of the International OCD Foundation. Volunteer with them, or attend meetings. Look for support groups in your area. Start planning an OCD Awareness Week event in October.
- Look ahead to next year! Consider going to the Chicago Conference, and think about how you might be involved. Maybe you’ll be an attendee again, or maybe you’ll hold a presentation or volunteer for the organization.
It was great meeting you all! I know I didn’t meet every single person because that would be impossible with more than 1,700 attendees — we broke records, folks. Take care. See you next year in Chicago?