Today I am delighted to review Janet's recently released book about her family's experience of the condition.
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Dan Singer's OCD has prevented him from eating for five or six days and he is not only thin, but also dehydrated. His mother, Janet, on a visit from home 1,500 miles away, finds a son who is a shadow of his former self. His condition also often prevents him from moving and she has to coax him, step by agonising step, up the stairs to her motel room. Once inside, the problems continue: Dan proposes to do nothing but sit in the same chair for the next eight hours, before returning to his student accommodation.
So begins Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery, which describes Dan's often rocky road to a better life - one free of OCD's disabling grip.
|Cover image courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield|
Janet perfectly conveys her desperation, frustration and helplessness in the face both of her son's difficulties, which he first revealed at the age of 17, and the challenges of finding the most appropriate treatment for him. Initially implicitly trusting the experts' opinions, Janet comes to realise that her sometimes conflicting parental insight and instincts - and research - are equally valid considerations.
At times, the story reads almost like a psychological thriller. Will Dan escape the clutches of his obsessions and compulsions? Will his parents be able to extricate him from the care of doctors whose treatment - whether via therapy or medication - is sometimes, it transpires, doing more harm than good?
It all makes for a pacy, compelling and moving read, which also has dots of dry and dark humour, both from Janet and Dan - even OCD sufferers can, on occasion, see the funny side of their plight!
The book is co-authored by Seth Gillihan, who provides expert commentary and background information about the condition and its treatment, which is interspersed throughout the book in bite-sized chunks easily digested by the layman.
At the end, I had a lump in my throat, in spite of already knowing the outcome of Dan's journey, both from the book's title and as a follower of Janet's blog. His success in reclaiming his life is inspirational and proves that, no matter how badly affected you are by OCD, you can do the same.
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Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery is available on amazon.com here and on amazon.co.uk here. You can also read more from Janet on her blog, ocdtalk.
*Pseudonyms Janet uses to protect her son's privacy.