I love a book that you can lose yourself totally in and can’t wait for every opportunity to sit to flick through the pages. This book did just that it is a biography of Bryony Gordon who is a journalist for several years. She writes openly and honestly about her first hand experience of living with OCD and clinical depression.
As a suffer off both clinical depression and OCD I felt I could really identity with how Bryony expressed her experiences clearly, how out of nowhere something triggered causing the panic and obsession. Almost like someone flicking on a switch.
I feel that this is a honest reflection of OCD. It is also not your typical cleaning OCD but a main focus on the thoughts and how they influence behaviour.
As a mother I also found the area about motherhood particularly around pregnancy interesting and relatable. Especially when it is your first time pregnancy can be very stressful and make you feel very paranoid especially with the debate about whether or not you should or should not take anti-depressants and the effect that it will have on your new born.
I think it is an interesting observation mentioned in the book about the fact that Bryony comes from a middle class family that was fairly stable with not a lot of trigger to cause mental illness. It goes to show that money can’t pay for everything and that mental health effects all walks of life. The only good think about being wealthy is getting better care privately. The reason Bryony and her mum chose private over NHS is shockingly poor and a long waiting list to boot.Though she chats openly that it doesn’t matter as you still have to work hard to get a good therapist that understands you to help with your recovery.
It is a brilliant account of how OCD can feed off you when you are mentally low such as being in abusive relationship can trigger OCD behaviour.
Even if you don’t suffer from OCD it is fantastic way to help you understand better about the condition and help increase awareness for mental illness. Also how hard it is to find the right help and that if the Dr’s dealt with it sooner then it would possibly be not as bad as the thoughts are not been long lasted for years as a way to cope with life stresses.
The best advice Bryony concludes is cutting back on alcohol/exercise/eating healthy and just making sure that every area of your life is catered for can help reduce the OCD.
Bryony also reflects on her experience of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and the power of thought. How CBT worked for her and now accepts that slips happen, OCD thoughts will always be there but accepting them as just that but not taking them as gospel is the biggest progress to live a better more fulfilled life.
A powerful message is that mental illness is not on the same level of importance of physical health. If you had a broken leg you would get it plastered. But mental health is still a taboo that is not talked about and at times shamed upon with stigma or being blasé with comments about being a bit OCD with putting clothing straight. It is much more then complex and intrusive then simply having things in a certain way.
Bryony set up a group called mental health mates where strangers meet up in London to walk and talk about mental illness.There is no demand to change just a place to not feel so alone and isolated. I think it is a brilliant idea and I wish there were more groups around in the UK.
In my personal opinion I think this is one of the best books I have read of a first account of living with OCD. It is not pretentious or glamorised, just trying to get the message out that whatever background shit happens. It is great to help get the message about what it is really like to live with OCD. I definitely recommend it.
Cheers for reading X