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Today’s blog is part 3 in our weekly countdown to #OCDweek! IOCDF Spokesperson Jeff Bell joins us today to explain why advocacy was so important to his own recovery, and how you can take part in raising awareness for OCD during upcoming #OCDweek.

Ralph Waldo Emerson may have said it best: “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.”

For me, these words represent much more than just some aphorism. They are, in fact, the reminder I turn to again and again as I continue my recovery from the worst of OCD.

As some of you know, advocacy played a huge role in my own recovery. I was fortunate to have found my way to proper treatment in the early 1990s, but still I stumbled along on my road to wellness for many years. I needed something more —something to get and keep me motivated. That something proved to be service to others with OCD. The more I shared my story and the more I reached out to others in the OCD community, the stronger I got.

Through my advocacy work, I began to discover how universal this correlation is. All around me in our community were advocates speaking out and, in so doing, finding great motivation for their own recoveries. Fascinated by this concept, I started researching the growing body of empirical evidence supporting this notion that we help ourselves by helping others. Dr. Michael Jenike, chair of the IOCDF Scientific & Clinical Advisory Board, has this to say about advocacy:

“Working with OCD patients since the late 1970s, I have seen some remain very ill, thousands of patients get moderately better, and a few make dramatic strides and totally reclaim their lives. It has seemed to me that the ones who do best are those who feel obligated to give back and help other patients. Somehow this drive to help others energizes them to fight off their own OCD and stay well and productive.” (Excerpted from When in Doubt, Make Belief.)

Through our just-launched OCDvocate Advocacy Program, we hope to provide meaningful ways for members of our OCD and related disorder community to be of service to others — and to themselves — by volunteering, fundraising, working with local affiliates, and participating in a variety of awareness-raising IOCDF programs. Learn more here.

Meanwhile, another important opportunity for advocacy is also just a few days away: OCD Awareness Week. #OCDweek takes place on October 11-17th, 2015, and we invite all of you to join us in this week of community and awareness-building. We’ll be hosting online chats throughout the week to hear from all of you, including one I’m hosting on this very subject — advocacy — on Wednesday, October 14th at 1pm ET. Learn more about our chat series here. Our partners and affiliates will also be hosting in-person events and lectures around the globe. View our #OCDweek calendar to see what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

As most of you know, living with OCD is not always easy, and it’s not always a simple thing to get the help you need. Our hope is that through OCD Awareness Week, and through small, grassroots advocacy throughout the year, we can all work together to make help easier to find for everyone affected by OCD.

Yours in advocacy,

– Jeff


  • Brian M Soto

    I’m glad you exist it means you can save many. Though i doubt I can be saved at least there’s hope for others.


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