This book was written from a layman’s perspective. It is not intended to be a medical book.
Most of the people whose stories I have told, will never seek medical advice and those who do won’t share their secrets with their doctors.
Marty Gibbons is one of these people. He knows that he has a serious case of OCD but he won’t talk about his problems. He will acknowledge that he does everything in multiples of three, e.g., brushing his teeth three times, writing an email the same way three times before sending it, driving to a store three times before parking and going into the store, etc., but he won’t discuss the other more important factors.
He finally allowed himself to go to a doctor for medication but instead of telling him about his OCD, he told him that he was very depressed and needed an antidepressant. He was given an antidepressant but it didn’t address the most important part of his OCD.
Marty’s OCD leaves him with anxiety that is uncontrollable. It also leaves him with ungovernable anger that causes him to explode for no reason at all, at least it seems like no reason at all to his victims. He has difficulty holding jobs and sometimes the anger is so out of control that he has the feeling that someday he is going to kill someone. But his psychiatrist only knows that he is very depressed and needs an antidepressant.
When we think of obsession, we think of “Fatal Attraction,” the movie about the married man who has a one-night stand that turns into a murderous obsession. His lover won’t let him end the affair and she turns his life into a nightmare. She claims to be carrying his baby, terrorizes him, and temporarily kidnaps his daughter in her attempt to win back his affection. While most people don’t let their obsessions go this far, they do let them destroy lives in countless other ways.
Most of the people I’ve written about are my clients but some of them are not; they have simply confided in me about their problems. I listen but I don’t attempt to solve their problems although, I must admit, I often tell the ones with serious OCD behavior to seek the advice of a doctor.
Perhaps someday, when OCD becomes mainstream people will stop thinking about it as a stigma and get the treatment they need. For now, most people are ashamed of it and hide their symptoms and don’t talk about it to anyone who is trained to help.
While the stories in the book are true, the names of the people have been changed out of respect for their privacy and confidentiality and I am grateful for the trust they have given me in sharing their private pains in dealing with the ravages of OCD.