Trevor Dineen: Too many thank yous to count
By Trevor Dineen
Doing an entire episode, of national radio, about your mental health can be a little stressful.
Especially when your mental illness is something that not a lot of people truly understand. So when I pitched the idea of using a whole hour of Now or Never to discuss the horrible downward spiral I fell into with obsessive compulsive disorder, I really didn't know what to expect.
Would people understand? Would they care? How would I even go about telling my story?
I personally thought I could treat it like any other episode. I was an idiot. This wasn't just any other episode for me.
The episode took a much bigger toll on me than I thought. Going back and talking to my parents, my psychiatrist, and even my ex-girlfriend was harder than I thought.
Each person brought back so many memories from the most terrifying time in my life. Things I hadn't thought about in years, or compulsions I completely forgot I had surfaced. For the three weeks I worked on the episode, my emotions were like a ticking time bomb. I can't even begin to count how many times my eyes would start tearing up out of nowhere.
For some reason, I wasn't ready for how much energy it would take to aim a microscope at myself.
But then the show aired.
To say I was overwhelmed by the response from listeners would be an a colossal understatement. Within hours we were receiving hundreds of messages of support and kindness.
People from all across Canada were tweeting, Facebook messaging, emailing and calling the show, saying the episode touched them in some way or another.
Robin Kyler wrote, "Thank you for this show! It was so validating in so many ways. As someone who has struggled with it for most of my life, it really helped to hear these stories and relate to them. Thank you for opening up about your journey to help the rest of us with ours!"
Sean Jason Byrne said, "I never realized how crippling OCD could be until I read this."
Julie Fossitt tweeted "I cried on my walk home listening to this. Best thing on CBC in many years. You are a kind & brave soul."
I received emails from people who have OCD, or have friends or relatives that are battling it. I got messages from people who had no idea how bad OCD could be and some who apologised for ever making light of it.
Psychiatrists, doctors and therapists all reached out to say they enjoyed the show. Listeners told me how they were brought to tears in their cars and old friends sent text messages saying they had no idea what I had gone through.
I tried my best to respond to everyone. So if I accidentally missed you, I sincerely apologise.
But I also want to say thank you again. Thank you to every person on the episode who I was lucky enough to meet and brave enough to open up their lives. Thank you for being supportive of everyone who told their stories on the show. Thank you for taking the time to write and say all of the kind things that you did.
And thank you in advance for sharing all that kindness and support with the next person you meet who has OCD or any other mental illness. It's not an easy thing to talk about. But after seeing how you responded to this episode, I know people who do will be pleasantly surprised by what awaits.
So thanks, truly.