Top 3 FAQs about OCDad
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Books are designed to start conversations. Frankly, they're conversations in and of themselves. With conversation comes questions. Lots of questions. Naturally, a book about OCD and parenting is no exception. Still, there are a few questions that come up regularly, and, much like the book that sparked them, those questions are valuable conversations in and of themselves, so I thought I would take some time to tackle a few of them here.
1. How did you find time to write a book while raising newborns? This is a common question, and one that I often get in the form of a quick reaction when I mention the words "writing" and "twins" in the same sentence. I have two answers: first, I have a family that believes in me, and in my book. Thankfully and luckily, they expressed that belief by giving me time and space to write during the book's formative stages. Sometimes that looked like grandparent care, sometimes that just means some quiet time during kid naps. Regardless of the scenario, my family understood (and still understands) that pen and paper time is important to me, and I'm grateful for that. Second, it may sound oversimplified, but I just squeezed in writing time whenever possible. In fairness, I did no writing whatsoever for the first six months after my boys were born, but after that, think of it this way: I never wrote when my boys were awake, or when I was at work. I'll leave you to infer the many weird and wonderful ways I found time to write within those constraints, but there is one scheduling shift I made that I found especially helpful: I watched less TV. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy TV as much as the next person, including the occasional Netflix binge. I just knew that I couldn't spend hours on Netflix and get a book done at the same time, so I made a choice, one that I continue to practice to this day (most nights).
2. Why did you write a book about OCD and parenting?
This question has nothing to do with the 'why' of writing a book; it's about choosing the format of a book for sharing my thoughts and ideas. Why not a YouTube channel, or maybe a series of blogs? Again, a fair and common question.
The main reason is I wanted my choice of medium to reflect the reality of its content. Mental health therapy - my experience with it, anyway - is a process. It's a series of conversations over a long period of time, with plenty of thinking and reflection time built in. I also found that change is gradual, and it requires a revisiting of concepts, exercises and observations. From my perspective, the format of a book was the most authentic representation of those qualities. In my experience, a truly engaged relationship with a book involves reading, re-reading, taking notes, pausing to think, and revisiting old ideas through new lenses; in other words, the therapeutic process. To be clear, I'm not knocking YouTube, blogs, or any other medium, but for this particular project, a book seemed like the best choice.
3. Was it hard to talk about your OCD in the book?
The short answer is 'no'. Oddly enough, I think the process of writing the book made talking about my OCD - and, by extension, sharing it in public - much easier. I talk about this a lot in the book, so I won't exhaust the point here, but writing about what was going on in my head gave me distance from it. It allowed me the time and space to study my thoughts, instead of just thinking them. By the time the book was ready to be published, I had read, reread, written and rewritten so many of my intrusive thoughts and articulated so many stages of my therapy journey that they just started to feel common, unsurprising, and even normal. More importantly, I began to see them for what they were: stages in a process of healing maladaptive thoughts, emotions and reactions. Most importantly, though, the act of keeping an ongoing record of my therapy journey was a constant reminder that I had made progress. Once I could see that, the book became less of a chronicle of suffering, and more of an affirmation that I had changed for the better, both for myself, and for my family. That's something I'm proud of, and it's rarely hard to share something that makes you feel that way.