Monthly Archives: November 2013

YA Literature, Love, and OCD

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DISCLAIMER: (You can read that in a robot voice if you want to.) I haven’t actually read these books, but they look very promising!

I can’t tell you how happy I am that OCD is getting more and more attention all the time. I still need to check out OCD Love Story, and now I see there’s another YA novel about falling in love while dealing with OCD, the award-winning The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten.

Learn more about it in the Montreal GazetteWhat do you think? Will you read it? If you do, let me know what you think!

                  The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Overcome Your Obsessions By Facing Them Head-On

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Last month I faced a huge fear of mine–speaking to a roomful of people–and upped the ante by reading very personal passages from my book. What I read aloud was once so shameful to me that even my husband was hearing some of it for the first time. (He told me later that it helped explain a lot he hadn’t fully understood before.)

Afterward friends, family, and people I’d never met lined up to hug me, wish me well, or introduce themselves. One young woman wanted to know what medication I was on, and we discussed that for a few minutes–side effects, doses, how long we’d been on our respective medications. Then, with visible desperation, she asked how she can ever hold a baby when she’s so afraid she’ll drop it.

“You just have to do it,” I told  her. “That’s the only way you will get over this. You just have to hold the baby.”

“But if I dropped it, it would be so terrible,” she protested.

There was nothing about this young woman that made her more likely to drop a baby. Her hands weren’t made of butter. She was clearly a caring person who absolutely, definitely did not want a baby to be hurt. But she knew the consequences could be dire, and that was enough to make her believe she was somehow destined to carry out her fear. Being afraid of something doesn’t make it more real–it just makes us less sure of ourselves. Doubt breeds doubt. It can be a vicious cycle.

I turned to an older woman standing near us and said, “Don’t you think that’s true?” I asked. “That the only way for her to get over this fear of dropping a baby is to hold a baby.”

“Oh, absolutely,” she said, nodding and brushing cookie crumbs from her hands.

“You can start how little kids start–by sitting down and having someone carefully hand you the baby,” I suggested. “You’ll gain confidence. And babies are resilient!”

I was afraid to be alone with my oldest nephew when he was born, and some of those fears resurfaced a few years later when his brother was born. But I faced those fears, knocking them down one by one. I changed their diapers. I gave them baths. I strapped them into their car seats and drove them to swimming lessons and my parents’ house and to the mall. Each time I realized how capable I was, and I had to remind myself I wasn’t experimenting with being courageous, somehow using my own nephews for my gain: I was simply living my life. I was being an aunt. A  helpful sister. A “villager” in the “it takes a village” movement. I may fear for my nephews’ safety now and then, but I don’t fear that I will hurt them. I love them and want to protect them, and I am an active part of that. Instead of protecting them from myself, I am nurturing them and building my own strength.

A Must-Read for School Counselors and Teachers

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It’s no wonder people with OCD are so afraid to tell people what’s going on. In “Obsessive Thoughts: A Darker Side of OCD,” the young author says she was suspended from school after she wrote an anonymous article about her harm OCD symptoms in the high school newspaper. School officials thought she was a threat to others.

This has got to stop. I do understand the confusion and I do understand the need to keep all kids safe. But the more we know about OCD and what makes a person with OCD different from someone who will actually hurt someone, the better off our young people will be. I feel pained that this young woman had to go through this, especially after suffering in silence for so long before she took the courageous step to share her story.

Let me know what you think.

Free Spirit Publishing’s 30th Anniversary!

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My book’s publisher, Free Spirit Publishing, is amazing. I can’t imagine a better fit for my book–its whole mission is to help kids and teens navigate life, and navigating life with OCD can be especially difficult.

This year marks 30 years of making a difference, whether it’s through books for teachers, parents, counselors, teens, or children. And this week Free Spirit has gotten a great write-up in Publishers Weekly. Bonus? PW mentioned Being Me with OCD!

 

Being Me with OCD Now Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

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The wait is over! I started writing my story years ago, so I’m delighted that my book, Being Me with OCD: How I Learned to Obsess Less and Live My Life is now available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Let me know what you think. I hope it helps you in some way, whether you’re a young person with OCD, a medical professional, a counselor, or someone who loves a young person with OCD.