Last Saturday in York I had the pleasure of attending the OCD UK annual conference. I was lucky enough to be involved in the planning of the event and it was the cumulation of a lot of hard work. I was pretty nervous as to how it would turn out but based on previous conferences I knew it would be a special day.
The conference organising team were there early, setting up the shop, preparing the name badges and delegate packs and generally getting excited. People started to arrive at around a quarter to nine and we were off…
The first talk was from Sandy (@Snadwai) who gave a moving and funny account of his recovery from OCD. Sandy considers himself completely recovered and was an inspiring way to start the day.
Next up came Dr Claire Lomax who gave us a run down on the NICE guidelines – what treatment we should expect and how to know whether we were getting it. It was a helpful talk and will hopefully ensure that everyone in the audience left with the knowledge and conviction of what they should be receiving.
Before lunch we had the results of the OCTET trial which looked at whether computerised CBT or guided self help could be useful in the treatment of OCD. I will blog more about this later so we can skip over this bit for now.
Next up we had Preeti (@mymindoutlined) who spoke about growing older with OCD. I think that it hit home for a lot of people there, including those of us who were younger. All of us have lost periods of our life to OCD and may not be where we imagined we would end up due to the illness. Preeti spoke honestly about coming to terms with this and how at the age of 40 she is maybe not where she thought she would be but is nevertheless happy and content.
After lunch the amazing Ellen (@Ellen_White_) and I did a Q and A about her OCD. She was, as ever, articulate and eloquent and her bravery and openness was appreciated by all.
Ben (@NCLPsych) followed on telling us about his research about OCD and religion. He is hopefully going to write us a guest blog about his results so I will just say that there were some surprising findings!
Up next was the awesome and hilarious Ian Puleston-Davies (who you may know from Coronation Street or Dirty Filthy Love) who shared his brilliant insights into life as an actor with OCD. He spoke from the heart and made the audience laugh and cry. He was in conversation with Ashley Fulwood, CEO of OCD-UK and it was wonderful to hear from Ash and he was pretty brave to share some of his own story.
Finally we had our Q and A sessions. I was on the panel for the family, friends and carers Q and A and was honoured and humbled to hear some amazing stories of parents who won’t give up on their children, partners who are desperate to get help for their spouse and professional carers looking to learn how best to care for their sevice users. A lot of questions about reassurance and enabling came up, so hopefully I will write a blog about this soon.
All in all it was an interesting, hopeful and inspiring day as ever. Thank you to all of those who helped with the preparation (including Ellen who made up 150 name badges!) and to all of those who came.
Obsessively compulsively yours