The good people at New Harbinger Publications, Inc. gave me theopportunity to review one of their new books about OCD. I’m so glad we live in this period of humanhistory when disorders that were previously kept secret are now making theirway into mainstream awareness. I wish Iwould have had this book when I was first diagnosed.
Dr. Michael A. Tompkins has put together a really helpfulbook, not only for those of us who may have recently been diagnosed, but alsofor our family and friends who are walking through this with us. I’d like to tell you a little about the book,and highlight my favorite parts.Dr. Tompkins’ book has eight chapters:1. What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?2. Get the Right Diagnosis3. Find the Right Treatment4. Put Together Your Treatment Team5. Find the Right Support6. Develop a Recovery Attitude7. Unhealthy Coping and Other Psychological Issues8. Workplace or School IssuesAs I said above, I wish I would have had a copy of this bookwhen I was first diagnosed. The first chapterdoes an excellent job of defining OCD and describing the most common categoriesof OCD struggles. If your OCD diagnosis is the first time you’veeven heard of OCD, you may find instant relief in seeing that the “crazy”thoughts in your head are, in fact, extremely common among fellowsufferers. For example, my current most-stressfulobsessions are: fear of causing harm/sicknessto loved ones and fear of becoming a sex offender (the two things which are, inreality, the least-likely things I would ever do, but which are commonfears). Tompkins’ book is reassuringbecause those two things are listed as two of the most common obsessions. I can only imagine the relief I would havefelt if I had this book years ago whendiagnosed, flipping through the pages and being able to think to myself, “Thisis SO me! I’m not alone! This isn’t a flaw with me, it’s my disorder!”The next few chapters highlight diagnosis and options fortreatment. This is so important because treatingOCD can seem like a daunting task. Ifyou’ve never had to deal with a disorder, you may be overwhelmed about whatoptions are available and where to even begin. The truth is, there many ways to treat OCD, and the main thing is tofind what works for you. Tompkins highlightssome important things to consider when choosing your possible treatment and/ortherapist, and suggests how to get the most out of these treatments.My personal favorite part of the book is chapter 6 (“Developa Recovery Attitude”). It’s my favorite, not because any of the otherparts are less helpful, but because even after 25+ years of struggling withOCD, this chapter is true and essential. Tompkins describes the mindset that is most helpful for beating OCD(because really, therapy, medicines, and other forms of treatments only havelasting power if combined with a determination to beat OCD). To beat OCD, we have to do things that are,as he calls it, “counterintuitive to the way you have been operating.” I have been running this blog for years now,and I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they have beat orsignificantly reduced their OCD by doing things that are counterintuitive towhat their mind tells them. I’m going tosuggest that any good OCD recovery book or program will tell you this, and Dr.Tompkins is right on the mark. The way tobeat OCD is to not only NOT do what it tells you to do, but to run TOWARD theanxiety and do things that make you uncomfortable until eventually you aredoing those things comfortably. If youare able to get a copy of this book, read and reread chapter 6 often.The final two chapters deal with pitfalls of OCD andpossible workplace or school issues. Thelast chapter is great because a lot of times we don’t think about the resourcesavailable in school or the workplace to help us be productive in spite of OCD. At the end of the book, Tompkins also givesus a list of books and treatment centers.Now that I’ve given an overview of the book, I’d like toshare some final thoughts. This book isexcellent for someone who has just been diagnosed with OCD or who suspects theyhave OCD. It is a great way to getyourself informed and ready to start your journey to recovery. I think it is also a great book to have ifyou are a parent who suspects or has just found out that your child has OCD andyou want to know what they may be thinking and where to go from there. Also, if you are a teenager and think or knowthat you have OCD but don’t know how to talk to your parents or an adult aboutit, get this book and show it to them. Show them the categories of thoughts that you struggle with (in chapter1), and tell them you’d like to put a plan in place to beat OCD. Finally, this book also has value for those of us who havelived for years with OCD. The treatmentsuggestions may spur you to try something different if what you are doing nowisn’t working. And really, I can’temphasize enough the importance of the concepts in chapter 6. If you buy the book just to hammer the ideaof a “recovery attitude” into your mind, you will not have wasted your money.This is a great OCD resource, and I thank New HarbingerPublications, Inc. for publishing this and giving me the opportunity to reviewit!