Meet IOCDF Advocate Melanie Lefebvre! She shares about finding her voice and becoming an IOCDF Advocate. Learn more about our advocate program.
"I used to keep silent. Now, I speak up to help others find their voice." - Melanie
Below is a screenshot of a comment I made on a psychologist’s blog in 2012. Notice the name I used? Secretive. I was ashamed of my OCD. Barely anyone knew. I was desperately looking to connect with someone who understood but I was scared to have my name attached to what felt like a shameful disorder. Opening up about my experience has been part of my recovery process. It was hard to keep my OCD a secret for so many years because it impacted my life on a daily basis. I also felt like if people knew about it, they would think differently of me. It got to a point where I had to explore opening up about it. It was too much to carry alone. It didn’t happen all at once. It was a gradual, slow process, but each time I opened up about it, it became a tiny bit easier. People didn’t think differently of me. People welcomed my experience with open arms. I learned, slowly and steadily, that it was safe to be me with OCD.
If anyone else out there is feeling secretive about their OCD, I want you to know it is possible to find your voice. If you had told me in 2012 that 2 years later, I’d be creating YouTube videos to “cook up” OCD awareness, I would have fainted in disbelief. And not only did I create awareness videos, but I won the contest for OCD Awareness Week hosted by the IOCDF. I was definitely not secretive anymore!
OCD has a lot of awful features: nasty, devastating, painful, isolating, depressing, terrifying, neverending. Surprisingly, I have found some silver linings along the way:
- Experiencing the power of peer support
- Experiencing the therapeutic impact of sharing my story
- Developing friendships within the virtual community that have extended into the offline world
- Exposure to robust knowledge from OCD experts that have helped me both personally and professionally with OCD as well as with my mental health in general
I went from feeling afraid and shameful to posing by a giant wall of OCD graffiti. I hope you too can find your voice, experience the silver linings of OCD and perhaps even pose beside a giant wall of inspirational graffiti.
Follow me on Instagram
- Professional and Advocacy account: @ProfvocateMel
- Yoga account: @yogibysurprise