Welcome to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I am sharing my takeaways from the 2019 International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) Conference. I just got back and it was possibly one of the most wonderful experiences. This year, the conference was in Austin, Texas, and I won't lie…it was HOT. I was super impressed with the people from Texas, as they were so kind, cheerful and helpful.
In today’s episode, I wanted to give you guys a quick peek at what I took away from the 2019 IOCDF conference this year. The 2019 IOCDF Conference is a conference that is held annually to help provide education, support, and advocacy for those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Health Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, Tic Disorder or Tourette's Disorder and general anxiety. It is a wonderful opportunity for those who need extra support or want to learn the gold-standard treatment for OCD.
Not only is it an educational weekend, but it is also a weekend filled with hope, love, and unconditional acceptance. Here is what I took away from this year’s 2019 IOCDF Conference.
First of all, you guys are so kind. I cannot tell you how overwhelmed and honored I was to meet so many of you. Thank you to each and every one of you who came and said hi, gave me hugs, thanked me for the work I am so honored to do and for those of you who showered me with the sweetest and most thoughtful gifts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now, once again this year, I was honored to host the 2019 Compassion Collective support group for Self-Compassion with my dear friend Michelle Massi. Michelle and I met each morning at the very early hour of 7 am to sit with a group of beautiful humans who are invested in being kinder and more compassionate to themselves. It was a beautiful group and, once again, we got to peek inside their minds for an hour each morning and learn just how hard you all are on yourselves. Wowsers, you guys. Humans are FAR too hard on themselves. The main message we tried to share with y’all (We were in Texas hehe) was to drop the idea of getting A+ in life and to shoot for a B-. Be a B- human. Give life a B- effort. Give yourselves a little break here and there.
In addition to running the Compassion Collective group, I also had the honor of running the Women’s OCD Support Group with my dear friend, Beth Brawley. The one big takeaway from these amazing women was to be unapologetically yourself. As women, we need to stop apologizing for ourselves and just own the struggles and wins that we have.
Another thing I heard from attendees over and over in the elevators and hotel halls is the strong urge and pressure to make themselves attend each and every presentation. If anyone has attended and IOCDF Conference, you will know that the schedule is JAM PACKED every single hour of the day. There is no way we can do it all. I figured you guys are hard on yourself in daily life also so my message to you is that you don’t have to do it all.
This one is SUPER important. You are alone! You really are not. Each year, thousands of people meet in a random city in the USA to learn about OCD. I know at home you may not know a single soul with OCD, but please know that people like you are out there and they are wonderful and kind and smart and funny and make my heart so full, just like YOU.
The last takeaway from the 2019 IOCDF Conference is this. YOU ARE SUPPORTED! I was honored to attend the OCD Game Changers event at the conference and there I met a large number of OCD treatment providers and OCD Advocates who are on a mission to help you all and provide good treatment and to advocate for you and to fight for you. You may have had terrible experiences with some therapists, but please know that there are some incredible therapists out there who are such badasses and they are fighting for you.