Review of “The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought” by David Adam
By Carlos Lozada January 22
Linger for a moment on those irrational thoughts that sometimes hop the mind’s rope line. What would happen if I drove against traffic in the thick of rush hour? What if my completely healthy loved one died tomorrow? Or if I got too close to that ledge, might I jump off?
Imagine now that the thoughts are not quickly cast out, but instead claim more and more space until they overwhelm everything else, all but the awareness that you can’t stop them. Trying to banish them only ensures their persistence. Some people develop distractions — compulsive, repetitive behaviors — to fight back. But the compulsions aggravate the obsessions. Being caught in this destructive loop is what it means to live with obsessive-compulsive disorder.