My husband and I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with our kids. Our oldest child was diagnosed with OCD last fall. He’s our only boy, and we have three daughters.

I will not be using our names to protect my son’s privacy. He is only 11 and is understandably very sensitive about the OCD.

Getting to this diagnosis was a long time coming. We can’t really remember a time in his life where he didn’t struggle with different OCD-like behaviors. But it wasn’t until last fall that we were finally able to pin his behavior down as OCD.

My family has learned so much from living with OCD. One thing that has truly surprised us is how much OCD can affect other family members. I think this is true of any mental or physical illness. But with OCD, the family really gets involved in the illness by accommodating the family member with OCD. The family constantly reassures them that things are okay, and tries anything to get them not to obsess over whatever they’re worrying about. Unfortunately this only feeds into the OCD and makes things worse.

There are so many hurting people in this world. My husband and I don’t think that our life is any more difficult than anyone else’s. We all go through times where life is hard due to the circumstances we are facing. But OCD is our family’s life right now. And we want to make our lives open for others to laugh and rejoice with us over our OCD victories and sorrow with us over the setbacks.