And so, the countdown begins...to next year's conference that is! I had an amazing time at the 2011 IOCDF Annual Conference - heard a lot of inspiring stories and learned even more about this disorder that I have personally found so debilitating yet so fascinating at the same time.
I'm definitely in a post-trip funk right now. I think the normal lows that can come when an anticipated vacation is finally over are exacerbated by the fact that, for a few days at least, I felt like I could be my complete, honest self. No hiding my OCD. No hiding my past. No working around the truth of how and why I have gotten to where I currently am. My life is about much more than just OCD, but for a couple days I didn't have to keep this part of my life a secret. So it's a bit tough coming back into the "real" world, where you aren't surrounded by other OCD sufferers who know too well the toll this disorder can take and who aren't surprised or weirded out by it.
While OCD is pretty much always on my mind, it hasn't been quite as prominent a part of my life as it was, say, a year ago. I'm working now. I am much more functional. I'm going out more and not letting every single choice I make be dictated by my disorder. But when I had the chance to really be myself at the conference, it reminded me just how much of my OCD I keep hidden, even now. So I'm a bit sad to be home - I already miss that open and honest and safe environment!
One goal that I definitely have for myself this year is to finally become more involved in the OCD community in some way or another. It's something I honestly think would be very motivational and simultaneously therapeutic for me. I like being in an environment like that of the OCD conference, so why not find a way to put myself in that sort of setting more frequently than just once a year? We'll see. There's just something about the OCD community that provides a sense of belonging that can't often be found elsewhere. Anyways, there's still a lot up in the air for me right now - when, where, and how much I'll be working once the summer is over and the possibility of entering an intensive outpatient treatment program are two major things that still aren't sorted out, but I still want to try to pursue ways to become more involved.
I'm going to try to write more about the conference and some of the interesting presentations I went to another time, but not today :). Just as it was last year, though, the conference was an amazing experience in so many different ways, and I hope to be able to go again in the future.
Last but not least, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Pure O Canuck! It was great to finally meet you in person at the conference and I hope you had a safe trip home! Thanks for taking the time to meet up. :) You and your mom are in my thoughts.
The conference was great - just as good as or perhaps even better than the last one. All I have to say is: hurry up next year! I'm waiting for another conference!