Monthly Archives: December 2013

“OCD” Products

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Today I visited Amazon to see the ratings for my book (which, by the way, fluctuate so wildly they’re not at all helpful). Instead of searching by the full title, I just typed “OCD” into the search box, and since I didn’t choose “Books” from the drop-down menu, I came across a surprising number of “OCD” products. Not useful materials for people who have OCD, but gadgets and gizmos for organized or picky people.

There’s the OCD Pencil Cup with the words “store,” “stack,” and “file” on the sides, and the OCD Cutting Board complete with helpful measurements and “The OCD Chef” stamped on the front. There are more, but let’s not get into that.

FryOCD

These product names upset me, and at times I feel overwhelmed by how much misinformation is out there about OCD. How can we ever reach people with the right information when the wrong information is on pencil cups and cutting boards, and when Buzzfeed publishes clever and green cleaning tips with the title “33 Meticulous Cleaning Tricks for the OCD Person Inside You” instead of one that, oh, I don’t know, accurately describes the article? And when people in comments sections shoot us down for pointing out inaccuracies, telling us to loosen up and be less sensitive?

We keep pushing, that’s how. We keep living our lives as the awesome people we are, and everyone around us will start to learn more and more about what OCD really is. If you’re not “out” with your OCD diagnosis yet, that’s okay. You can still help spread accurate information by sharing articles on Facebook or recommending them to friends. No one has to know you have OCD (although you know how I feel about being open about it–it can be truly healing to expose demons to caring friends). If you hear someone say, “I’m so OCD!” you can gently point out that OCD is no laughing matter.

It can be frustrating to keep fighting misconceptions and stereotypes. At times it can feel like playing a game of Whac-a-Mole! (Huh, now I’m hungry for guacamole…) An insensitive joke pops up and we knock it down just to face another. But we can spread awareness–don’t give up.

 

Why a Print Version of My Book Is a Good Thing

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Being Me with OCD will be out as a paperback in March, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. When I submitted my proposal, the publisher was interested but hesitant to go forward with a “regular” print book. OCD is a sensitive topic, and they thought teens might feel embarrassed to carry around a book with “OCD” in big letters on the cover. And today’s teenagers and early-20-somethings are more and more connected to electronic devices–more so than my generation, that’s for sure. Wouldn’t they prefer to read a book on an e-reader?

Their reasoning was sound. We could reach teens where they are, which is, by and large, online. They could order my book with the click of a mouse, or, more likely, the swipe of a finger. But still wanted a real, tangible, bound paper book I could hold in my hands. I can’t help it. I love to read; I always have. I grew up with my nose in a book, to the point that my parents were trying to get me to read less. I stayed up too late and never looked out the window as our station wagon wended through scenic countryside.

I love books. I love the smell of them, I love the way they feel, I love that they’re portable and nearly indestructible. I read in bed and in the tub. I’ve dropped my books in soap bubbles and slept on top of them. I’ve squished them in suitcases and purses. I crease the spine to get a wider view of the page spreads, and when the paper is soft I rub my hands over it, again and again, unable to pull away from the tactile sensation.

So every time I met with my publisher I’d mention that what I really wanted was a print book. They knew. Believe me, they knew. I was, and am, beyond grateful that they agreed to publish my book at all. I’m glad it’s available as an ebook. It’s the wave of the future, after all, and on the bus I see people of all ages reading on Nooks and Kindles.

But having my book available as a paperback is important. I don’t have that many friends and family members, but I do have supporters who will buy the paperback just to have it on their shelf, even if they’re not the target audience and don’t necessarily intend to read it cover to cover. And that means exposure. It means a teenager visiting a relative might see it on a side table or in a bookcase and realize it exists, and make a mental note to check it out later. Or maybe even ask about it.

A few weeks ago the International OCD Foundation posted an excerpt of my book to their blog, and several mental health professionals commented that it would be a great resource to keep in their waiting rooms or on a shelf somewhere in their practice. Young people with OCD may run across the book this way, and maybe they’ll ultimately still purchase it in ebook form. And that’s okay. It’s been my goal all along to reach as many hurting people as I can, and I think having my book in print is another step in that direction.