This story is written by Alyssa King for her daughter Bella as a part of our Spring Inspiration Campaign. Donate and share your story of who inspires you at iocdf.org/inspire
My inspiration is my daughter, Bella. As an 11-year-old with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Bella has had to deal with more than any child her age should. Yet, she works unbelievably hard to manage her condition and does so with a positive attitude and an amazing sense of humor.
It’s hard to believe that just a short time ago, my family was drowning under the weight of what we now know to be OCD. The therapist we were seeing at the time didn’t properly diagnose or treat Bella, instead encouraging her to turn her “cloudy thoughts” into “sunshine thoughts.” Her symptoms continued to snowball out of control, until we found ourselves in a psychiatric emergency room, where we first heard the words that would change the course of our lives: “Your daughter is showing signs of OCD.”
Bella was diagnosed with OCD in the summer of 2017, but she suffered for more than six months prior because her symptoms weren’t recognized as being a form of OCD. There was no compulsive hand washing, the lights in our house weren’t flipped on and off incessantly, her room wasn’t neat and organized – often what we think of as “typical” OCD symptoms. Instead, Bella suffered from disturbing and distressing intrusive thoughts and compulsions to confess these thoughts and seek reassurance.
My heart breaks thinking of the months Bella suffered, but I know that we were lucky. For many people, it can take years to get the correct diagnosis and even longer to find a qualified therapist. This is what inspired Bella and our family to become outspoken advocates for OCD awareness and the IOCDF. Together, we have created fun and educational videos about her experience with OCD, some of which have been viewed 7,000+ times on Facebook. Bella has written articles about OCD for our local paper, created mental health awareness wristbands, and spoken at her school about what OCD really is. Last fall, our family participated in the IOCDF Mental Health Advocacy Capital Walk in D.C., which provided us with the opportunity to meet others who know exactly what it’s like to live under the shadow of OCD.
We are all so grateful for the work the IOCDF does to increase awareness and access to effective treatment so families like ours get the resources they need. Please make your donation to the support the IOCDF today.
We want to know who inspires you! Share your story by visiting iocdf.org/inspire or filling out the form below.