On today’s blog, we feature a guest post from IOCDF board member JoAnn Winston. JoAnn shares what the Foundation means to her and her family, and why she is so excited about celebrating the IOCDF’s 30th birthday next month at the Then & Now Anniversary Party in Boston.
When OCD entered our family back in 2008, I was so misinformed about OCD. I asked, “Isn’t that when people wash their hands too much? We can make her stop it right?” I soon realized I was so uneducated and had no clue what OCD really was.
Every day, maybe four or five times a day, my daughter was taken away from me into a world of confusion, doubt, and fear. It would cripple her daily tasks and rob her from her childhood pleasures. Chloe would ask me; “Mom, why is my brain doing this to me? Please make it stop.”
Like any mother, I turned into Tiger Mom and was ready to do anything I could do to stop my little girl from her suffering. Not only did I have to educate myself fast, I had to educate Chloe on how to manage her OCD, while continuing my everyday life for the rest of the family. It was going to take a village and I was on a mission to find one.
After a lot of searching, I stumbled across the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) website, where I found books and other resources to further my knowledge of OCD. I started attending a support group at McLean Hospital, which was very beneficial in giving me the support needed to manage the change in our everyday life. However, it was the IOCDF’s annual 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk, which happens every June, that was really the stepping stone for me to become more involved in the Foundation. I was inspired by Denis Asselin’s story about his son and his family’s strength despite their loss. The walk showed our family that we were not alone in the fight against OCD. It was particular eye-opening and helpful for Chloe to see so many people like her that had OCD and all the others that were there supporting them. We haven’t missed one walk yet!
Flash forward to the IOCDF’s most recent Annual OCD Conference in Chicago, where I dropped into a session for kids named, “Want to Beat OCD? Learn tools and start fighting back!” I was so impressed with the kids that were participating. They asked really good questions and shared really hard things about their OCD. I thought to myself, I wish I knew about this when Chloe was little. Then, I went to OCD in the Family: Becoming more supportive parents and siblings. This I really needed!! Having a loved one with OCD can really test your patience. I loved that everyone in the room was feeling the same way I was and boy did that make me feel much better.
I found my village and I am so thankful that the IOCDF makes this all happen, day after day, year after year. It gives our community the resources we need to be educated and supported through all stages of OCD. I think a lot about all the kids and adults that are just being diagnosed with OCD. I want them to find the IOCDF and get help because even though OCD does not go away it can be managed and we can fight back together!
On October 14th, the International OCD Foundation is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with an event in Boston, its headquarters location. I am so excited to be helping with this event as the chair of the host committee. I’m excited to hear from the founders of the IOCDF and celebrate their forward thinking and efforts in making this all happen thirty years ago. I’m also looking forward to being a part of the next 30 years and supporting all that the foundation does for our community.
Please join me in supporting the International OCDF Foundation by attending this special event. We’ve worked hard to make this event accessible to many, whether you want to attend the awards presentation at the beginning of the evening by buying a Patron Ticket for $86, or whether you want to just come for the party (and great music and dancing) later in the evening for just $30. Click here to learn more.
We can’t wait to see you there!
30th Anniversary Party Host Committee, Chair
IOCDF Board of Director, Member