SoCal OCD Conference - My Humbling Experience

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I've been debating whether to just write an overview of my incredible experience at the 3rd Annual OCD Southern California Conference, or if I should share the raw footage of my verrrrrry vulnerable speech. After watching it over and over again, I realize that at the end of the day You're reading this because you are a subscriber or a part of this community for good reason. Because I want to honor that relationship, I want to bring you the best content that I can, no matter how taboo or embarrassing it may be. 

Phew. This is a hard one.

I'm a public speaker. I do this all the time. I can get through my speeches, with no problems and no emotions. It's when I watch them back that I cringe. Not because of what I'm seeing - but of what I'm hearing. My dark past coming out of the cracks instead of being shoved where it deserves to be. But if I kept it shoved down as far as I ultimately would like, I wouldn't be doing my job, nor would I be leading this community in the most authentic and organic way possible. 

The SoCal OCD Conference was everything an OCD sufferer could dream of. These are the types of conferences attendees commonly say that for the first time they feel "they are home," or "with their people." It's true - these conferences truly are places of no judgement, and the more raw and real you get, the more people open up, speak up, and begin to get help and heal.

I was so honored to be asked to speak on the OCD Recovery panel at the conference. But what truly felt so right was sharing The Gateway Institute booth. This was a HUGE favor - to be front and center, the main booth, with all of The Obsessive Outsiders marketing paraphernalia spread out, digital email subscribers lists, book excerpts - the whole nine yards. I worked for weeks to prepare for this and nothing fell short of my expectations. I will never be able to thank Jim Sterner and Bradley Wilson at The Gateway Institute enough for their mentorship, friendship, and genuine support. 

It was all fine and dandy when I was standing at the booth, meeting hundreds of parents, children, colleagues, followers (perhaps even you!), but then it came time for the panel and I had to get up there and do my thing. I decided to share the non-edited version of my speech with you (click the button below to view), and I mean...let's just say it got REAL.

But the feedback I have received from dozens and dozens of onlookers? Priceless, and so worth spilling all the dirty little secrets of my mental illness past. Hearing people tell me that hearing my story was the first time in fifteen years they identified with someone for the first time or realized they have my same OCD theme they never knew existed and can now seek the right kind of help - that's what I live for.

- Kerry Osborn, Founder