Whether it’s within the context of panic disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, substance dependence, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, I never cease to be amazed by the strength and courage of mind variance sufferers. We, yes “we,” endure so much and somehow manage to carry on and face another day of presumed turmoil and despair. I was reading the Chicago Tribune this morning and found an article that vividly illustrates exactly what I’m talking about. I’d like to share it with you.

The story featured a 72 year old man who began his life altering relationship with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) at age 7. As is all too often the case, he didn’t know what he was suffering from until he was 50, and that was only because he connected his symptoms with something he happened to have seen on television. What’s even more tragic is the fact that when he put forth the effort to seek treatment he hooked-up with a therapist who knew virtually nothing about treating OCD. So it wasn’t until age 63, 13 years later, that he secured the services of a qualified therapist and began living his life as he had always wanted.

The article detailed how as a boy he’d repeatedly run his hands across his school desk and would constantly rotate pencils in and out of it. Many times he’d complete an assignment, erase it, and start all over again. Ultimately, he failed fourth grade and when his mother first took him to a physician he was about to begin 6th grade for the second time. His childhood and adolescent years were filled with rituals of counting, touching, and tapping. And even sleep brought no relief because he’d repeatedly get out of bed, head to the dining room, and stroke a crucifix that was hanging on the wall. Sadly, he dropped out of high school.

OCD dominated the man’s adult life. He washed excessively; and avoidance consumed him, as he wouldn’t use the phone during certain hours of the day and stayed away from specific streets and buildings. And he was tortured by checking behaviors. However, most tragically to him, he never married and had no children. But, in spite of his living hell he carried on, helped by personal relationships; which he says saved him from the depths of isolation and despair.

These days, the man has a wonderful attitude about life, though he laments over what could have been had he received an early diagnosis and treatment. Yes, he often thinks about not being able to share life with a wife, children, and grandchildren. However, in spite of his challenged life history and deep feelings of disappointment, he’s doing all he can to aid in the effort to ramp-up awareness of OCD and other mind variances. And he does so because he doesn’t want anyone to needlessly suffer, as he had.

No doubt the man was a victim of his disorder and the times. I mean, if you consider that it was 1944 when his mother first took him to a physician it isn’t difficult to understand why his distress wasn’t properly diagnosed and addressed. But the real tragedy here is when he sought treatment in 1987, the “professional” he naively relied upon for hope and help didn’t possess the insight and skills to be of assistance. Nor did he refer him to someone who did.

Well, the bottom-line here is the fact that this is a wonderful and courageous man who deserves every joy life may bring him. My respects to you, sir! We’re all very proud of you.

Author's Bio: 

After a winning bout with panic disorder Bill found his life's passion and work. So he earned his counseling credentials and is doing all he can to lend a hand to those having a tough time.

Bill authored a panic attack education and recovery eworkbook entitled, "Panic! ...and Poetic Justice," which is available on his website. And he now has a blog up and running, which is accessible through his website. Lots of good stuff going on and much more to come.