After returning home, he was able to find work as a Psych Tech at two prestigious mental health facilities. He spent hours counselling and caring for patients who had mental disabilities similar to his. After a depressing Thanksgiving, while no one was at home, he took an overdose of medication pills and drove his car into a telephone pole. He survived and was hospitalized at Yale Mental Health Center. He remained there for nearly three months. After discharge he attended outpatient therapy and returned to work. His co-workers at Silver Hill Hospital had no idea the he had OCD or depression. The day before he passed he was accepted into McClain Hospital in Boston.
JCK wrote over 2400 pages describing in detail his battle with OCD. As parents we respected his privacy and did not read these journals until he was no longer here. These are John’s words:
• “It is time to take a stand now! Stop running away from fear. Stand up and be a man.”
• “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”
• “This is my new organized approach to dismantle OCD.”
• “OCD has taken too much away from me and now is the time to regain the links to my life. Peer approval is important to me and I base my self-esteem on having valuable friends."
• “Whenever anything is valuable to me, I don’t want to attach anxiety to it because it will feel ruined. I can’t be happy and I will do everything to avoid this anxiety. However by avoiding this anxiety, I am strengthening the fear in my life. I don’t want to begin liking something because I will attach anxiety to it and I am stuck doing nothing. OCD is like Hitler and I am playing the game like a scared Neville Chamberlain. I need to be Winston Churchill instead. I never was able to take a stand because I always felt like I had something to lose. I have no friends, no interests, nothing. Everything is tarnished.”
• “Small Steps- Going to job interview, eating at COOP, not taking a shower or changing clothes or sheets, reading the Maroon News and leaving it in my room.”
• “Brainstorm, Distraction, Emotion Focused Coping, Exposure and Mindfulness. It is amazing the progress I have made.”
• “Either suck it up or get sucked into the trap of OCD.”
• “Screw you OCD standing on your high chair of the upper crust of society because that stain could send you spiraling toward social suicide. If you don’t risk anything you risk even more.”
• “Getting anxious and feeling contaminated. My sister gave Mom a baby, my father is the perfect husband and father and I am afflicted by this severe illness given by their genes. Why should I feel guilty? I am probably projecting but I feel like the black sheep.”
The Village of Dobbs Ferry was shocked that John had died. Over 800 people attended his funeral. A few months later his friends spontaneously decided to have a commemorative softball tournament. Over 100 players and countless more spectators participated. Between funeral donations and the tournament over $24,000 dollars was donated to the IOCD foundation. Two year later the JCK Foundation was established and is sponsoring college programs to tell John’s story and to increase awareness and compassion for mental illness. The foundation wants to help others win their battles with mental illness and especially OCD. Recently The JCK Clinic in Uganda has been established to provide mental health awareness and treatment in remote villages.
“The mark of a man is to make a difference in people’s lives.” Through the JCK foundation, John lives on. He has defeated OCD by never giving up and he is helping others fight their battles today.