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Thanksgiving. It’s a day to be grateful. To give thanks for what you have, the people in your life that make a difference, and the freedoms we all share. But when your mental illness has a tight hold of you, it’s so hard to see what you should be grateful for. It’s easier to see the anger, frustration, fear, and exhaustion you feel from dealing with your OCD.  To watch everyone celebrate while you put on your “public” face and suffer on the inside. I can’t tell you how many Thanksgiving dinners I missed because of my OCD and anxiety. Staying in my room listening to the joy just outside the door.

BUT, when your mental illness has brought you to the darkest depths, and you claw your way back… every day is Thanksgiving. Every day you’re grateful for so many things. Suddenly, Thanksgiving becomes a day you’re grateful for being able to be grateful. It becomes a day where you turn your attention to those around you because you can finally be present with them and grateful for them.

Everyone of us must have faith and believe tomorrow can be the next Thanksgiving. That there’s hope. That there is effective treatment. That there is proof in those of us that suffered so much and now live full lives. Not perfect. Not OCD free. Not struggle free. But a life where we can comfortably sit at the Thanksgiving Day table and enjoy with our loved ones.

This Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful for the people in my life that have helped me through my journey, from my parents, to my treatment team, to my friends, and especially the IOCDF for giving me a stage and platform to share my experiences. Most of all, I’m thankful for every one of you that inspire me daily to speak out, to share my story, to continue to be a shoulder for you to stand on. I’m thankful for your bravery, for your fortitude, for your tenacity, and your determination to not give up. To never give up. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you and I’m grateful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving…   Ethan

As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary (the IOCDF was founded in November 1986), we’ve been looking back at all of the people who worked to make the IOCDF a reality over the years. From our founders, to longtime members and donors, and all of you in the OCD community — the IOCDF would not be where it is today without all of you. So, today, we are thankful for you! And, dear OCDvocates, now we want to hear what you are thankful for —whether it’s a friend who helped you through a tough time, or your therapist, or even your favorite song or book — what has made a meaningful impact in your life? Please leave your Thanksgiving message in the comments below or use the tag #OCDvocate to post your message on your own social media feeds. Happy Thanksgiving from all of the staff at the IOCDF!


  • Megan Morris

    I am so thankful that my own OCD is under much better control. My family has been a big support. I was in a bad place three years ago at Thanksgiving. I was at dinner with my family, but my mind wasn’t. My mind was on one of the many obsessions of the moment. But, luckily I had a very understanding boss. I’m a psych nurse, so my boss understands OCD. She made me get more help, and a few of my coworkers were very understanding. I’m very thankful for my awesome therapists at the OCD program in Pittsburgh and especially to Lisel Virkler, my current therapist, who was the first person to understand my OCD. I also love my support group! You know who you are! You rock!

  • Todd Morsette

    Never give up- thank you Nathan for helping us hope

  • Brigit Rotondi

    Hi Ethan and everyone, Just wanted to say how nice this post is and, how it brought my morale up. It was nice to read.


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