I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands is a memoir by J.J. Keeler chronicling her struggle with OCD -Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s told in a light hearted manner and with humor but the underlying seriousness of the disorder is very apparent. You might wonder why I would have wanted to read this memoir and for me it’s a close and personal interest. I don’t share this often and I won’t say a lot about it other than to say I suffer with OCD myself and it’s somewhat of a comfort to know you’re not the only one out there.
Like J.J. Keeler I’ve always found it kind of funny when you mention OCD and people will pipe up and say ‘oh I have OCD’ because I have to have everything clean and organized all the time or I’ll go crazy. That or I wash my hands excessively and while that is an OCD behavior, it most definitely doesn’t mean you have OCD. Really that’s not what OCD is all about. It’s much more serious than worrying whether your house is spotless or your ultra organized. OCD takes many forms whether it be extreme fears, counting, different obsessive behaviors, and in J.J.’s case an extremely scary behavior and that was harming. She would have visions of harming someone. To me that would be one of the scariest things to have to deal with.
From a young age J.J. suffered from obsessions; she just didn’t know that this actually had a name. She went from fear of AIDS to fires and the list goes on and on. She would have to go and check and recheck things to make sure she didn’t actually hit that person on the sidewalk. This is a common OCD behavior and quite debilitating in itself. The problem is that these fears and obsessions end up ruling your life. You know that these fears are irrational but your mind won’t let it go no matter how hard you try.
I think it was so brave of J.J. to even write this memoir and put it out there especially on a topic so personal. So many people look down on those with any type of mental illness or tell you that you can just overcome these things. You can’t – if it was that easy believe me most of us would have done it. Also, people tend to hide the fact that they have OCD and just maybe someone reading this will feel a little less alone because they see that someone else out there is suffering the same as they are.
By writing this memoir J.J. wants people to see that there is more to OCD than you may think and also that there is a real person behind the disease itself. As she says in her book it’s important to realize that OCD takes different forms for different people. Typically OCD focuses on your worst fears and compounds them. It’s important to note that there is help out there if you want it but OCD really never goes away entirely. It may lighten up for months or even years but likely will make a reappearance in your life at some time. J.J. is currently managing her OCD and I hope she continues to do so. I commend her for putting her fears and thoughts out there for others to read. I think that this memoir is one for those suffering with OCD, know someone with the disease, or even those who just want to know a bit more about it.
I read I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands by J.J. Keeler for her book tour with TLC Book Tours. Be sure to pop over and visit the other tour stops for more thoughts on this book. You can find J.J. on Facebook and Twitter and her book can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada.
Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.