raising awareness about O.C.D.!

ok…number one, i’m just kidding!  and number two, i have O.C.D. so i can make fun of it.  i have a mild version, if you will, of the aforementioned “disorder.”  for those of you who might NOT know what obsessive compulsive disorder is, following is a brief description of the fourth most common psychiatric diagnosis.  the essential features of OCD are recurrent obsessions or compulsions that are severe enough to be time consuming [i.e., they take more than one hour a day] or cause marked distress or significant impairment.

that being said, i thought i’d share a real OCD shop-vac story with you.  on september 26th 2008 debbie and i hosted an obama fundraising event at our house.  it was a $1,000 a ticket debate watch party where caroline kennedy, YES… THE CAROLINE KENNEDY, was the guest of honor.  we had been prepping the house and grounds for a couple of weeks.  everything was in place.  the caterers were set and ready.  the valet was at the top of the hill.  our house staff was here and dressed to the nines.  i had yet to shower and get dressed.  where was i?  i was out in the front lawn using the shop-vac to get up a few random leaves here and there.  i was definitely PAST the hour point of nervous cleaning for the day.  i was still chasing a few leaves around when mary, our housekeeper, yelled out to me “QUIT FEEDING THE MONSTER!”  i got it.  i laughed and had deep compassion for that place in myself that was feeling overwhelmed!

i was more than just my normal level of overwhelmed.  i was dealing with the enormity of the event AND the fact that caroline kennedy was coming to our house!  some part of me felt i didn’t deserve to be a part of this, nevermind listed as one of the hosts.  we were also going to a swanky $10,ooo a plate dinner with caroline later that night.   i’d only been a cater waiter in the past…now i was supposed to sit down with twelve people and have an intimate conversation.   i was only two and a half years into my recovery and i was a nervous wreck.  the shop-vac soothed me.  nervous cleaning is something i’ve always done.  that september day back in 2008 was a turning point of sorts.  now, if and when, i catch myself cleaning out of any place other than “this is really dirty and i need to clean it” i stop and gently guide myself to the funny.  because for me, it’s my humor that’s saved my life in so many ways!  here’s to everyone with OCD past, present and future…there is a cure and it’s unique to each person with it.

peace + love + laughter + healing,    -kathleen.


  1. Bonnie ColeFebruary 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm 

    Wow, after reading this, I’m thinking, maybe I need to find some humor in OCD. I live with it every single day, not myself, but my husband. He drives me bonkers with the constant cleaning…..I’m going to use the “stop feeding the monster” phrase!

  2. NicoleApril 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm 

    Loved this post. I’m so like that with the Shop-vac in my house and car, mostly when someone is coming over (or pretending they are so I can get the house detailed). Maybe I need to look at WHY 🙂

  3. anikaOctober 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm 

    Well, at least you weren’t shop vacuuming the snow!…which i probably would have been doing!

  4. CharleyFebruary 19, 2013 at 3:05 am 

    You truly created many great items within your blog, “Kathleen Fontaine

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