16-year-old teen with OCD creates book to help others with disorder

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – On Wednesday morning members of the community gathered at A Boutique in Boiling Springs to celebrate the launch of the children’s book “Maggie’s Friend Otis”.

16-year-old author Maggie Grace and her mother Jennifer Watkins, owner of A Boutique, both suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD.

According to the CDC, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is when a person suffers from a series of thoughts that bother them and they might feel like they have to do something about those thoughts, even if their actions don’t actually make sense.

According to her mother, Maggie suffered from an aggressive and severe form of OCD as a child but through art they found a creative way to manage the disorder.

“I just had her do as a home school project this drawing of what she thought OCD looked like, and she created this cute little creature but then it was a way for us to talk about it. Now we didn’t say ‘Your disorder’ or ‘OCD’ we were able to say ‘Otis’,” Watkins said.

That adorable blue creature came to life in the book Maggie’s Friend Otis and helped Maggie and many other children realize they had an identity separate from OCD and that their disorder does not define them.

Marriage and family therapist Jeanna Smith said that’s her goal when helping clients with OCD, to externalize the disorder and essentially make them believe the disorder is a separate entity.

“It’s not a character defect it’s not a fault in you its something that you have but it’s not a label on you,” Smith said.

The mother daughter duo wants the book to help other kids with managing their OCD or anxiety and to ease the stigma associated with mental disorders.

“I just hope it helps someone,” Maggie Grace said. ” Someone told us that we changed her life and that was the biggest accomplishment that I could have ever hoped for this book,”

Later this week Maggie and her mother will present at the SC Council for Exceptional Children Professional Development Conference in Myrtle Beach where they will talk about the book and how it could help those who want to manage their disorders.

To purchase the book “Maggie’s Friend Otis” visit A Boutique on Boiling Springs Road or their website at maggieandfriend.com

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