end of an era

Last week, I ventured to the Fairview Medical Center at the University of Minnesota to see my beloved psychiatrist Dr. Suck Won Kim for the last time before his retirement.  Dr. Kim is a skinny Korean man with salt-and-pepper eyebrows and sharply combed hair.  I met him first in 2008 when, after years of failed prescriptions, my old psychiatrist essentially threw in the towel and referred me to Dr. Kim, a national expert on OCD who has seen over 3,000 OCD patients.

The first time I met with Dr. Kim, he asked me about what meds I had tried.  And when I had told him, he resolutely said, “No more of that.  You are done with that.”  And he started me on Effexor XR, which I am on to this very day.  Dr. Kim spoke with such confidence that I had felt confident.  I remember thinking, I think this might actually work this time.

But Dr. Kim wasn’t done after he wrote out the prescription.  He turned to me and said, “Cognitive-behavioral therapy.  Tell me, have you heard of it?”

I had.  Horror stories.

“It’s the best treatment there is for OCD.  I’d like you to call Chris Donahue and get an appointment.”


“It will be hell,” said Dr. Kim, telling me what to expect.

And it was– but it set me free from the reign of OCD.  And that is why I was feeling sentimental as I sat in the office of this OCD genius for the last time, feeling cheesy but needing to tell him that he was one of my heroes.

5 thoughts on “end of an era

  1. Dear Jackie,
    I actually stumbled upon your blog while trying to find the number for Chris Donahue. And thank you. I am a fellow Minnesotan and Christian who has been diagnosed with OCD for about 4 years, but it has been going on way before that. My OCD is around one of the worst things, how my brain functions, schoolwork, and paralysis at decision. I spent an entire year in and out of hospitals and thought I had finally I had it under control, but I realize now I just removed the problem. And you’re right, no one really understands this and it’s torments like someone who deals with it. You become someone who isn’t you. The only way to fight it is to not. How ironic. Anyway it’s great to have the support and understanding, because sometimes this battle feels hopeless and then I remember Psalm 42 and that my hope is in God. So thank you. Thank you for being honest.

    Grace and Peace,

    Ali Wolfe

    • Ali, did you find Chris Donahue’s number? I have it, if you still need it! I’m so glad you stumbled upon my blog– I love meeting others who GET IT. If you’re in the Twin Cities and would ever like to meet up for coffee, I’d love to!

  2. Pingback: looking back … and ahead | lightsallaround

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