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Psychiatry Newsletter - Typical OCD, atypical family

Hopkins BrainWise Spring 2011

Typical OCD, atypical family

Date: March 30, 2011

Cecilia Scheeler
Cecilia Scheeler

“I can open doors with my feet.”

Writing that helped open a different door for high school senior, Cecelia Scheeler: It was part of a college essay that’s just gotten her into Oberlin. Such an admission, though, only comes from a deep place of self-respect. And it’s one not typical for someone who’s lived with signs of ADHD and obsessive compulsive disorder—she fears touching germs—since childhood.

Where’s that confidence come from? In part, it’s from Scheeler’s parents, who are also atypical, both in their approach to their daughter’s illness and their willingness to help others with similar troubles.

When Cecelia was four, says mother Mary Ellen Pease, “she changed almost overnight” from a happy child to one so fearful that she washed her hands raw. Pease rapidly sought psychiatric help for her daughter: There was no denial, no hesitating.

And with father Charlie Scheeler, a Hopkins trustee, the family was as quick to support psychiatric research, first financially and then with their very blood. They and their many Baltimore relatives have participated in genetic and other studies. “What Hopkins is doing,” says Pease, “is that important to us.” n

To read Cecelia’s complete essay, go

Articles in this Issue


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Translational Science

Insights: Dean MacKinnon

Supporting the Cause

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