By: Luke Harris
Millions of people in the US are diagnosed with OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, according to the International OCD Foundation.
It’s a recurring theme that many of these people feel alone, which is what makes it so relieving to bring people with OCD together to spread awareness of the condition.
On October 21st, people with OCD gathered together to talk about their symptoms and have a walk together. This brought many kids and parents with OCD together to remind themselves they are not alone in this struggle.
“This walk and this group is incredibly important to me,” said event organizer and OCD Specialist Michelle Witkin. “It’s a passion for me. “
The grassroots organization OCD Awareness SCV, which put on the event, says its goal is to reduce the stigma associated with the condition and create community while decreasing the time frame for receiving effective treatment.
“I’m a psychologist, and one of the things I noticed out here in Santa Clarita is that there were very few resources for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder,” said Witkin. “Some of the patients I was treating in my practice were feeling incredibly alone.”
According to diagnostic interview data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, these patients are not alone as they feel, as an estimated 1.2% of all U.S. adults had OCD in the past year.
Lots of people everywhere struggle with OCD; it was refreshing to see people get together to spread awareness of the condition. As a COC student with OCD, I think it’s very important to spread awareness around campus.
Event attendees expressed themselves through art projects, found resources and shared stories about their struggles with the condition.
“OCD has impacted me since as early as 7 years old,” said Joe, an attendee with OCD. “A lot of double-checking, a lot of looking for reassurance, a lot of feelings of not feeling comfortable or confident, and having to redo things to find that confidence.”
Dr. Mark Liker, a Neurosurgeon who studies OCD in the human brain, was at the event to give attendees a deeper medical understanding of how the OCD brain functions.
“I have an interest in the way the brain communicates within itself and what health looks like, brain health, and how problems with brain communications pathways cause so-called disease,” said Dr.Liker.
Many in attendance felt it was reassuring to see how many people came together for this event. To support the foundation, visit the International OCD Foundation’s website, iocdf.org.