This novel would not be true to the style of S. Walden if it did not contain some dark and difficult moments. Events that cause anxiety can be especially hard for individuals who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder . . . It is obvious to me that the author thoroughly researched OCD and combined the knowledge she learned with her ability to write a beautiful story. ~ Robin (Hesperia Loves Books)
(art by Michelle @ Give Me Books)
I suffer from anxiety. Not the same thing as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (though the two are BFFs), but it’s a mental condition that can be quite debilitating. So when I created the idea for LoveLines—knowing I wanted to write a story about a heroine who suffers from OCD—I knew I wouldn’t take it lightly. “It” being the actual condition. I wouldn’t disrespect it. I knew I’d probably end up teaching readers a thing or two, because from what I discovered through research, OCD is nothing like our society portrays it in movies, on television, even in books! I thought I understood it before cracking open those journals. Um, no.
First off, let's be real. Tics can be funny. If you’ve ever read “A Plague of Tics” from David Sedaris’s Naked, you know what I’m talking about. You probably laughed so hard you peed yourself and never admitted it to anyone. So yeah, the quirks can be cute and funny. Reece, my hero, sees them that way. But that’s before he really “sees” Bailey’s OCD—how it affects every aspect of her life. Controls her. Inhibits her. Forces her to live a life with “clearly defined lines.” It is . . . debilitating.
Could I write an entire story with that somber tone? Hell no! And anyway, let’s face it: some tics lend themselves to humor. And Bailey can see the humor. She makes fun of herself. Her self-deprecation is probably her cutest characteristic. But understand that her creator took a lot of time to learn just how OCD works and how loved ones of OCD sufferers should help them manage their condition. Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of research out there. Doctors still don’t know why a person is OCD (they think it’s a different wiring in the brain), but there are treatments to manage the condition. Not cure it. Manage it.
Here’s the most important thing I learned: people who suffer from OCD do not take pleasure in performing their tics. In fact, they loathe themselves for submitting to their urges. Why can’t they just refrain from tapping that pen like we can? Well, here’s the second most important thing I learned: they believe that something disastrous will happen to them or their loved ones if they do not perform their tics. Makes no sense to us, but it makes total sense to them. They don’t want to invite heartache or loss. It’s easier to tap the pen.
You will see this all throughout LoveLines. Yes, you’re gonna laugh. A lot. Yes, you’re gonna think Reece is a weirdo. No, I didn’t say Bailey. I said Reece. You’re gonna experience some sickly sweet moments and tough moments that demonstrate Bailey’s condition. Front and center. And hopefully when you reach the conclusion, you’ll have a better understanding of a mental illness that’s been misrepresented or ignored.
(art by Karinna Baez)
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