OCD and Holiday GivingPosted by Phil Cardenas on Dec 01, 2011
by Janet Singer
“I will never forget that feeling of being completely lost and alone, not knowing who to listen to or where to turn for help.”
This quote is from my first post on Connections, where I talk about my son Dan’s journey through severe OCD. Though this nightmare transpired almost four years ago, the fear I felt back then is still palpable, and is what fuels my advocacy for OCD awareness and proper treatment.
If you’re reading this, you are likely either an OCD sufferer or care about someone with OCD, and so there’s a good chance you have an idea of how I felt. Again, if you’re reading this, then you’ve also found Beyond OCD ’s web site, and now there is no longer any reason to feel “lost and alone.”
Beyond OCD is an amazing organization that provides the most up-to-date information and resources not only for OCD sufferers, but for their families and mental health professionals as well. Our popular OCD Guides for all age groups offer encouraging and practical steps to improve the lives of adults and children who are affected by OCD.
Exploring the entire Beyond OCD web site could take days. In addition to facts and resources, the Expert Perspectives and Personal Stories links are informative and down-to-earth. For specific information on helping students with OCD in school, parents and educators have the option to visit our second web site, the OCD Education Station.
While the quality of this site is impressive, I believe the heart of Beyond OCD lies in the individual attention afforded those who seek our help. A “real person” who has knowledge of OCD will always answer the phone when you call and spend whatever time is needed responding to your questions and pointing you in the right direction. We offer referrals to treatment providers and support groups, and our support group is the only free one in the Chicagoland area. Beyond OCD also provides speakers to school districts, public forums and the news media for the purpose of heightening awareness and understanding of OCD. Most importantly, Beyond OCD offers hope and encouragement to those dealing with OCD.
Mental health charitable giving
Beyond OCD offers every one of its resources and services for free, and we rely solely on donations to keep afloat. But nonprofit organizations such as ours are often not at the top of the list when people are considering holiday giving. Even as there has been an increase in awareness of mental health disorders that has brought a request for our services to a higher level, donations have dropped. While some of this drop can be attributed to our economic times, there appear to be other reasons as well.
For one thing, when people are in the throes of OCD, they are often not in the position to help others financially. Their own therapy and related costs, coupled with coping with a crisis situation, makes holiday giving a low priority. And once things stabilize for OCD sufferers and their families, the last thing they often want to think about are their struggles with OCD, and once again, contributing to mental health groups is overlooked.
OCD secret suffering
Another point to consider is that many OCD sufferers and their families are just not comfortable talking about OCD, and may even keep it a secret. Chances are you know a lot more people with OCD than you think you do. If we were all more open about discussing OCD and how it affects us, it would become a more personal cause for a lot people, who, in turn, would donate to OCD organizations. One of the main goals of groups such as Beyond OCD is to reduce the stigma of OCD and other mental health disorders. Ironically, it is this very stigma that perpetuates the silence, precludes so many people from donating, and leaves us struggling financially.
And so I am asking, during this holiday season of giving, to consider donating to Beyond OCD or another OCD organization of your choice. If you or a loved one is suffering from OCD, or has suffered in the past, there is no better way to honor this struggle than to ensure the continuation of organizations such as Beyond OCD . If you remember that feeling of being “completely lost and alone,” please donate, so that others who may feel this way will always have somewhere to turn.
Janet Singer, an advocate for OCD awareness, is published regularly on various mental health web sites. She explores all topics related to OCD and shares what helped and what hurt in her son Dan’s recovery from this devastating disorder. While there were many lessons learned along the way, Janet feels the most powerful one of all is that there is always hope. She is committed to getting the word out that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable. You can read more about Dan’s story and follow her personal blog at: http://www.ocdtalk.wordpress.com/. Janet uses a pseudonym to protect her son’s privacy.