Feb 142013
Review: I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCDI Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD by J.J. Keeler
Published by Paragon House on Mar 15, 2012
Genres: Memoir
Format: Paperback from Author
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Living with OCD is not for sissies. J.J. Keeler proves that. From her fears of the bomb in her teddy bear, to her fear of having run over innocent pedestrians, to her fear that she has killed her waiter, she tells her story in a way that allows us to see inside her disease and to see that she has not lost her sense of humor. This light-hearted yet serious and comforting look at OCD lets some light into the closet of sufferers. This book is for those with OCD, those who love someone with OCD, and for those who would like to know what it’s like to live with the daily challenges of OCD.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This was a very honest and simple memoir. I rarely read memoirs, but this one was very eye-opening while still being entertaining.

People tend to think of OCD in a very narrow perspective, and this book really helped to highlight some of the lesser known aspects. As someone without OCD, some of the scenarios described in the book seem incredible, but when taken into the context of a mental illness, it just seems scary. The fact that it is so hard to fight and controllable OCD is one of the main things that makes it a such a scary illness.

There were two things that I really loved about the book. The first was the letter to fellow OCD sufferers. It was very heart-felt and moving. The second was the observation that everyone has something crazy in their head, but it can range in strength from a mental illness to a phobia to something that strongly bothers you. I personally have a phobia of numbness, like the freezing you get at the dentist. This observation helps illuminate the fact that OCD sufferers are not alone, and that almost everything is a matter of perspective and degree.

Overall, this was a great book that helps to reveal what a complex illness OCD is. There is a lot more to it than just the standard opinion that OCD sufferes are obsessed with tidiness. I want to end my review with two quotes from the book that help to showcase what OCD is:

OCD focuses on the negative. I didn’t think to myself, My praying will save my grandma. Instead, I thought, If I don’t pray, my grandma will die for sure.

OCD is not a disease that bothers; it is a disease that tortures.

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