OCD Memoirs: Three Recent Contributions

Until recently OCD memoirs have been scarce. Below are three worth considering:

I. Lily Bailey, Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought (2018)

Bailey is a British model. From the publisher’s blurb:

By the age of thirteen, Lily Bailey was convinced she was bad. She had killed someone with a thought, spread untold disease, and ogled the bodies of other children. Only by performing an exhausting series of secret routines could she make up for what she’d done. But no matter how intricate or repetitive, no act of penance was ever enough.

Excerpt from Kirkus Reviews:

As a child, the author privately referred to herself as ‘we.’ However, the girl that ‘shared’ Bailey’s mind was no imaginary friend: she was the ‘other’ who drove her to check on her sleeping sister several times a night, wash her hands to rawness, and mentally repeat elaborate ‘prayer[s].’ She existed to ensure that Bailey carried out rituals as ‘protection against everything going wrong’ and make up for all her real and imagined mistakes…

After significant struggles, therapy eventually helped her manage her condition.

II. Shala Nicely, Is Fred in the Refrigerator?: Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life (2018)

From the publisher’s blurb:

Even at nine years old, Shala Nicely knew there was nothing normal about the horrifying thoughts that tormented her at bedtime, or the nightly rituals she summoned to beat them back. More importantly, she knew to obey her mind’s Rule #1: keep its secret, or risk losing everything and everyone she loved.
It would be almost two decades before she learned the name of the menacing monster holding her hostage: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It would take years longer to piece together the keys to recovery that would change her life forever, beginning with the day she broke her monster’s silence.

And now Nicely is a therapist specializing in OCD treatment. In addition to writing this memoir, she’s also the co-author of Everyday Mindfulness for OCD: Tips, Tricks, and Skills for Living Joyfully (2017).

III. David Adam, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought (2015)

From the publisher’s blurb:

David Adam…has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn’t Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences. In this riveting and intimate blend of science, history, and memoir, Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind and explains how they drive millions of us toward obsession and compulsion.

Excerpt from the Mother Jones review:

The greatest strength of his book―part memoir, part scientific treatise on obsessive-compulsive disorder―is that it meets [people who call themselves ‘a little OCD’] on their level: ‘Imagine you can never turn it off.’ Adam’s personal insights, and case studies from the famous (Winston Churchill, Nikola Tesla) to the obscure (an Ethiopian schoolgirl who ate a wall of mud bricks), make that feat of imagination both possible and painful.

One thought on “OCD Memoirs: Three Recent Contributions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *