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I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side Of OCD (2012)

by J.J. Keeler(Favorite Author)
3.92 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
1557788928 (ISBN13: 9781557788924)
languge
English
publisher
Paragon House
review 1: In her biography, I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD, J.J. Keeler explores with honesty and humor her struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and how OCD manifests itself in her life. She writes in the prologue: "You might know someone like me. You might be someone like me. I didn't plan this for my life.It's not like I went to career day at school and thought, Being a lawyer sounds neat. Being a doctor sounds cool. But, I really want to grow up to be in the depths of despair. (pg. x)""Maybe you're thinking I wash my hands a little too often, I organize things a little too thoroughly, I make sure my house is a little too clean. But, the truth is, I do none of those. OCD has another side. (pg. xi)" Keeler isn't obsessively clean or neat or organiz... moreed. Her OCD takes another direction: obsessions.Some of Keeler's obsessions are harming obsessions. She acknowledges "By definition, they sound so simple: those of us with harming obsessions have an obsessive fear of harming others. But, they are much more complex. (pg. xiii) And she goes on to explain how they affect her daily life. Simply reading about her thought processes as she tried to deal with her obsessions was enlightening to me, someone who does not have OCD.While Keeler is funny and writes about grappling with her various obsessions in a smooth, entertaining way, her honesty also allows some of the pain the obsessions have caused to show through, which is heartbreaking. Keeler openly describes the time-consuming rituals she has performed in order to fight off the panic and fear her obsessions caused.She says of others who also have OCD obsessions: "On one level we know these obsessions aren't a reflection of reality. We tell ourselves not to worry. But, the obsessions persist and pester. They build in our heads until we yearn for reassurance the way a junkie yearns for a fix. (pg. xiii-xiv) and "Sometimes I think people with OCD view the world from inside a 1950's TV: we tend to see things in black and white. Things either have a right way or they have a wrong way. (pg. 35)"Keeler does and excellent job describing what she was thinking and experiencing when she obsessed over having AIDS: "I can't tell you how many times I've had AIDS. I've probably had it more often than the average person has had a common cold or a sinus infection. I’ve had it more often than the average child has had strep throat or the average athlete has had a muscle pull. I’ve had AIDS more times than I can count. (pg.1)" Or being scared of bombs: "Whatever the reason, I was scared of bombs, and believed they were everywhere. (pg. 19)"Or being excessively fearful of getting into trouble: "Getting into trouble was something I feared all through childhood. But it wasn't just a lingering fear that many children have; it was an obsession. (pg. 51).Or vampires: "Though I know they don't exist, that doesn't stop me from being afraid of vampires. By mentioning this, hopefully people will tell others that this book is about vampires and its sales will increase dramatically. (pg. 83)." (And I hope this mention of vampires will help.)It is exhausting to just read and consider everything Keeler has to go through when she is obsessing over something - and she obsesses over big things. This is an incredible look at a side of OCD that isn't generally thought of when the disease is mentioned. Keeler does a real service to others by educating us about another aspect of OCD. She also has random facts about OCD through out the book that are illustrated with little cartoon stick figures. For example" "Random OCD fact number 1: Approximately 3 million people in the U.S. are believed to have OCD. (pg. 11)" Certainly most of us know someone who has OCD - or it is a personal battle. Last chapter "Dear Friend" is written specifically to those who are struggling with OCD. Keeler wanted to reassure others who are suffering from OCD that they are not alone - especially since only someone else who has OCD can truly understand what they are going through. Keeler shares some knowledge and some strategies she uses to deal with OCD. Reading about some of her personal struggles makes the wisdom she shares to help others master their OCD even more powerful. This was a very powerful chapter and would be worth acquiring the book if only to read it. But read the whole book, especially if you have OCD or know someone who does. Very Highly Recommended
review 2: This is a goodreads free give away book for me. If you think you know what OCD is, I recommend you read this book. Today, we hear a lot about OCD, but just about all of it involves endless washing of hands or organizing. OCD is more than that. Before I read thids book, I hadn't though about OCD as much of anything besides this hand washing or excessive organizing. Now I realize it is far more than that. I think most people would be quite surprised to find out just what OCD involves. Like me, they will never again look at the term or someone diagnosed with it the same again, once they read this book. less
Reviews (see all)
researe
Very good read. I have OCD and can relate to so much of what she describes and says.
lazyaznkid
Like I say in my video: you don't know OCD til you watch someone struggle with it.
chocolatefreak
Very Well written. Feels luike the Author is narrating the experiences in person.
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