Two recent, semi-related questions I received:
- Can you give any recommendations for getting involved in the OCD community and doing advocacy work? 🙂
- I am getting very drained and upset by certain advocacy interactions. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?
Getting Involved in OCD Awareness Advocacy
I don’t think I can answer this any better than by directing you to the IOCDF website, specifically this page, which talks about support groups, research studies, OCD Awareness Week, and getting plugged into your local affiliate!
Proper Boundaries in OCD Awareness Advocacy
I am so happy and eager to help people, but sometimes it’s as if they want different answers, so they keep asking things hoping I’ll suggest something easier than exposure therapy. Or something that alleviates their anxiety immediately. Sometimes asking the questions themselves is the compulsion.
Sometimes it gets to the point where it is damaging to MY OWN mental health or the freedom I worked so hard to achieve via treatment.
In these cases, I have to cut it off.
I can’t be a personal, free, on-call therapist. I can’t be a therapist at all. I can provide resources, and then it is up to individuals to act.
So, set your own standards and stick to them. Be kind but firm. Gently point out when someone appears to be compulsively asking the same questions again and again. Sometimes you might have to say, “I can’t reply anymore.”
One thing that has been especially difficult for me is hearing from people who are in crisis-mode. My own therapist pointed out to me that even she– with her master’s in counseling– is not trained as a crisis counselor. Certainly I– with no formal therapy training at all– am not equipped to handle folks in crisis. It is better to recommend the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) or suicide hotline chat (here).
Excellent advice about boundaries, Jackie. I have been up against the same issue numerous times and on a few occasions have had to say, “I can’t reply anymore.” As you say, I can point people in the right direction and offer resources, but am not a therapist.
Thanks, Janet. It breaks my heart when I feel I can’t help someone, but I have to remember to protect my own health AND theirs! I’m a resource, not a therapist. The crisis moments are the hardest for me, which makes sense … they are intense for anyone to bear, let alone someone without training!
Thanks for your comment. I hope you’re well!