Book Club is a segment where I review and suggest books I’ve read recently. In this post, I’ll be talking about Because We Are Bad by Lily Bailey and why it’s a super important and worthwhile read.
A few months ago, I was in my campus bookstore and cafe catching up on some work. On the way out I browsed the books and school apreal, as you do. Then a certain book caught my eye: Because We Are Bad. What really drew me in was the subtitle: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought. Without even reading the synopsis on the inside flap, I picked up the book and bought it and I don’t regret it. The reason the subtitle resonated with me so much is because I myself have OCD. I’ve been battling it for as long as I remember. So when I saw that someone had written an entire book about it, I knew I had to read it.
Because We Are Bad is an extremely well written and hard hitting memoir by British model and writer, Lily Bailey. She recounts her experiences with OCD, or the second person in her head, telling her to do or not to do certain things or else “something bad will happen” throughout her childhood and early adulthood. That particular phrase, “or else something bad will happen”, has always been my reasoning for doing/not doing my compulsions, so seeing that someone else used the same phrase to justify her idiosyncrasies intrigued me. I also had this second person, who my family and childhood therapist dubbed “the bully”, becasue that’s what OCD is, a big, unreasonable, bully that bosses you around and makes you do things you don’t want to do. Bailey put these feelings of mine about OCD and more into words that I could never articulate.
Many people misunderstand what OCD actually is, mostly because of the lack of true awareness of the disorder and the push of society’s view of what they think it is. So many people use it as an adjective, “I’m so OCD, I just have to be organized” or “I like everything clean, I’m kind of OCD about it.” While a lot of people with OCD like to be organize and sanitary, they do it in INTENSE fear of some consequence happening if they are not that way, not just because they just prefer things that way. But the way Bailey and I experienced it was having to repeat things, check things over and over, making lists, and repeating mantras to ward off these bad things. When you are not able to carry out your compulsion, you start to panic and it’s all you can think about, hence the obsession part of OCD. If the disorder is left untreated for long enough, it can send you into isolation so you are safe from the dangers of the world and are safe to do your compulsions uninterrupted.
The memoir also talks about learning about the disorder and being diagnosed with it, as well as going to therapy for it. It talks about peers noticing your oddities and commenting on them. It talks about coming to terms with the fact that you’re “different”, so to speak, and it talks about resisting treatment, even though you want to get better but are afraid because of that underlying fear of these mysterious bad things. She really makes you feel the pain that OCD causes a person, and sometimes of the ones they love.
I am currently making my parents read this book so they can get the insight I was never able to give them about my struggles and the struggles of those with OCD. My dad has always been so interested in the inner workings of my mind, but I could never put it to words, so I gave him this book. My mom just plain didn’t understand my weird thought process, but again I could never explain it as well as Bailey has.
If you or someone you know struggles with OCD, heck even if you don’t, please please please, go out and read this book and spread the truth about living with OCD.
You can but Because We Are Bad here.