Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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9780312622107: Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

***AS FEATURED ON NPR'S TALK OF THE NATION***

Imagine the worst thing in the world. Picture it. Construct it, carefully and deliberately in your mind. Be careful not to omit anything. Imagine it happening to you, to the people you love. Imagine the worst thing in the world.

Now try not to think about it.

This is what it is like for Fletcher Wortmann. In his brilliant memoir, the author takes us on an intimate journey across the psychological landscape of OCD, known as the "doubting disorder," as populated by God, girls, and apocalyptic nightmares. Wortmann unflinchingly reveals the elaborate series of psychological rituals he constructs as "preventative measures" to ward off the end times, as well as his learning to cope with intrusive thoughts through Clockwork Orange-like "trigger" therapy.

But even more than this, the author emerges as a preternatural talent as he unfolds a kaleidoscope of culture high and low ranging from his obsessions with David Bowie, X-Men, and Pokemon, to an eclectic education shaped by Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Catholic mysticism, Christian comic books, and the collegiate dating scene at the "People's Republic of Swarthmore."

Triggered is a pitch-perfect memoir; a touching, triumphantly funny, compulsively readable, and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age tale for Generation Anxiety.

Fletcher Wortmann on OCD and sex:

"If a girl accepts an invitation to help count the tiles on your bedroom ceiling, then she will probably be disappointed when she realizes you were speaking literally."

...on OCD and religion:

"I have found Catholicism and obsessive compulsive disorder to be deeply sympathetic to one another. One is a repressive construct founded in existential terror, barely restrained by complex, arbitrary ritual behaviors; the other is an anxiety disorder."

...on OCD humor:

"By the sink, I noticed a perfunctory sign warning readers to wash their hands. It was scrawled with graffiti: NO YOU CAN'T GERMS ARE UNPREVENTABLE AND INESCAPABLE."

...on the seductiveness of OCD:

"Every so often, everything will work, and you will somehow convince yourself that you are safe, and the disorder will claim credit. I had struck a bargain with the OCD. The transaction was complete. In that moment I became subservient to it."

Le informazioni nella sezione "Riassunto" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

About the Author:

FLETCHER WORTMANN was born and raised in Winchester, MA. He graduated from high school in 2005, and in 2007, Fletcher was diagnosed with crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). After receiving treatment at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, he went on to receive his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from Swarthmore College in 2009; he wrote his senior thesis on the evolution of the superhero in American culture. Fletcher has been variously employed as a college Writing Instructor, "Party Associate," SAT Tutor, record store clerk, and farm-stand hand. He lives and writes in Boston, MA.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

Some Say the World Will End in Ice
 

And when the smoke cleared away, and I sought to look upon the earth, I beheld against the background of cold, humorous stars only the dying sun and the pale mournful planets searching for their sister.
—H. P. Lovecraft and Winifred V. Jackson, “The Crawling Chaos”

Unless you or someone close to you has been affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder, or you have taken a course in clinical psychology (I take great satisfaction in the fact that my school’s psychology department no longer considers me “abnormal”), you probably know only the basics of OCD: superb personal hygiene, exceptional organizational skills, an inclination toward solving mysteries. For many, a number of alleged professionals in mental health issues among them, any understanding of the disorder ends here. Before I proceed I want to give a short explanation of OCD.
I regret to inform you that we have reached the “interactive” portion of the text. I’m going to propose a thought experiment. If it isn’t too much trouble, I need you to look up. Do it. Now. No one’s watching. Look around you. Study your surroundings. Now consider the possibility that, at any moment, the end of the world could occur. The ground cracks, the clouds spark with red lightning, hungry waters rise. The sky hums with annihilating angels. Feel free to incorporate details from your preferred apocalypse, as long as they fit the overall scenario. Imagine the final crisis of man. Let us pretend that the sky is falling.
Now I would like you to prove, with absolute certainty, that this is not true and that you are not about to be owned by God. Never mind if you are inside, or even in some kind of reinforced bunker, because for the purposes of argument the hypothetical bullet the universe has aimed at you will pierce any barrier. No rational force can protect you. You have literally moments to live, and you are wasting them reading a memoir.
Now, no one is saying that the world is definitely about to end. You could probably construct a strong argument that my impending doomsday is actually pretty unlikely. You could cite research studies, endless statistics, and I’m sure all of these would be very accurate and science-y. But you have to recognize that all of this goes only so far. You can present your evidence to me and I can ask, “How do you know that’s right?” and then you can show me your citations and your annotated bibliography, but I can ask, “How do you know that’s right?” I can ask this again and again, as many times as I need to. A 5 percent margin of error is all well and good but will be small comfort if you are the unlucky one in twenty around when shit gets real.
The truth is that you cannot prove anything one way or the other. Everything is possible. We live in a world not of certainty but of endless incalculable risk. The music of the spheres is chaos.
Now, before you panic, I’m going to suggest a possible resolution to this situation: The end of days will not occur until you close the covers of this book. You can postpone the apocalypse for as long as you like just by keeping the book open. The instant you shut it, however, everything will be destroyed. Again, I can’t prove to you that this is the case, but considering that we aren’t sure about the end of the world to begin with, I don’t think this is unreasonable. I know it will be inconvenient to keep the book open, and I am sympathetic, but it’s such a minor inconvenience considering what is at risk. Just keep it open, at least for a few more minutes. Then, when you get a chance, you can put it facedown on your desk and forget about it. Or you could nail it open to a plank of wood and hide it in the attic or something. It’ll ruin the spine, sure, but that’s a pretty minor sacrifice, considering you now hold in your hands the trigger to the extinction of all worlds.
But you tell me, “So what?” And you forget about the possibility of imminent destruction, and you go on with your day. May I congratulate you on your apparent sanity. I can continue the narrative, secure that your brain is functioning as advertised. But imagine that “so what” was not good enough. Imagine that you could not live happily without absolute certainty, and that it seemed reasonable for you to keep the book open as long as you could. In this case, certain additional preventative measures would be prudent.
Fortunately I just thought of some additional preventative measures. They won’t make or break the deal, of course, but they’ll help. Maybe. They shouldn’t hurt, anyway. Listen: When you hit page one hundred, make sure you lick your finger before you turn the page. Actually, you’d better do that every ten pages. And when you do put the book down, make sure you shut the lights off before you leave the room—although it would probably be better if you flicked them twice first. Also, next time you’re out, make sure to write down the remaining time on any parking meters you see. And you know what? I’m going to need you to count things. Like, red shoes or milk or something. Seriously, it doesn’t really matter what. Just start counting shit. Like maybe you see three cars go by, just fucking one two three, like that. Just to be safe. Trust me, it’ll help, maybe.
Of course none of these behaviors will definitely prevent the apocalypse, but they might protect you, and in these dire circumstances we need to do everything we can. These are inconveniences, but aren’t they preferable to the end of the world?
No. Not really, unfortunately. It is possible for a human being to reach a point where incineration in divine fire would actually increase cognitive and behavioral functionality.
It does not end here. It cannot. Tell me: How do you know that you won’t be killed by a falling meteor? How do you know that you shut off the toaster oven this morning? That one of the seething millions of bacteria on your hands will not kill you? That your friends don’t all secretly hate you? Do you have religion? Do you have the right religion? Are you sure? Are you a pedophile, a necrophiliac, a rapist? A murderer? How can you know that these tendencies do not dwell latent inside you, waiting for the right moment to evince themselves in the most horrific manner possible? How do you know that you are not a monster? How do you know that it isn’t the end of the world?
Everyone has moments when, against probability and common sense, we attempt to eradicate ordinary uncertainty using our minds. You get halfway around the block and then realize that you might have forgotten to lock the front door, so you drive back around to check it. It’s near the end of the seventh inning and things aren’t looking good, so you pull out your favorite baseball cap because sometimes it seems to help. You call your child’s phone twice to make sure that she got to the party okay. You cross your fingers, you knock on wood, you wish on a coin or a star or a stray eyelash. Everyone does this. It’s not a problem for most people.
OCD is called “the doubting disorder,” at least among people inclined to give cutesy alliterative nicknames to mental illness. OCD is the pathological intolerance of risk, however minute, and the surrender to protective ritual, however unbearable. No matter how unlikely a feared consequence, if there exists even the fraction of a percent of a possibility that it could occur, the disorder is able to find purchase. It seeks out the cracks in our perception of reality, it finds the tiny darkened territories on our internal maps; and then ceaselessly, tirelessly, it sets about expanding them. These cartographic elaborations are careful and clever. You will not notice that anything has been changed until the ink starts to bleed through onto your hands, and then suddenly every inch of territory has been marked inaccessible. Everything is made unknown and unsafe. Here there be dragons.
OCD presents itself as an innocuous problem-solving mechanism. If you have a problem, after all, you should try to find an answer. If there is danger, you should protect yourself. So when you are confronted with the possibility of an undesirable occurrence, the disorder suggests modes of defense. Its voice is like that of a beloved grandmother, recently passed away and resurrected by evil ritual. It is maternal, condescending, and affectionate, with a slight suggestion of righteous indignation. “I know what’s best for you, dear,” it says, a hint of formaldehyde on its breath, a tiny fly crawling on its unblinking painted eye. You listen, compelled by guilt and fear, despite the suspicion that this cannot end well.
The disorder promises what it does not have the power to give. As you accept its reasoning, as you begin to work with it, it tightens its hold on you. It exaggerates danger and then offers a modicum of relief through an ever-expanding web of regulation and restriction. OCD insinuates itself delicately until you are utterly constrained, until every moment of existence is a choice between submission to the rule of an absurd tyrant and absolute terror. Eventually the behavior of the sufferer is entirely divorced from reality. Hand washing is no longer a basic hygienic practice but a magic charm, a banishment cast against the immaterial, malevolent threat of “germs.” Strange trigonometries are calculated and then arbitrarily discarded at the disorder’s whim. The world is perceived through a fine mesh of obsession. Everything is connected; everything shines like a razor with terrible significance.
OCD demands safety and certainty, and the fact that nothing can ever really be proven is regrettable but irrelevant to its purposes. It is the anti-life equation, and it will demonstrate to you, if you allow it, that free will is illusory and that everything wants you de...

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. ***AS FEATURED ON NPR S TALK OF THE NATION*** Imagine the worst thing in the world. Picture it. Construct it, carefully and deliberately in your mind. Be careful not to omit anything. Imagine it happening to you, to the people you love. Imagine the worst thing in the world. Now try not to think about it. This is what it is like for Fletcher Wortmann. In his brilliant memoir, the author takes us on an intimate journey across the psychological landscape of OCD, known as the doubting disorder, as populated by God, girls, and apocalyptic nightmares. Wortmann unflinchingly reveals the elaborate series of psychological rituals he constructs as preventative measures to ward off the end times, as well as his learning to cope with intrusive thoughts through Clockwork Orange-like trigger therapy. But even more than this, the author emerges as a preternatural talent as he unfolds a kaleidoscope of culture high and low ranging from his obsessions with David Bowie, X-Men, and Pokemon, to an eclectic education shaped by Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Catholic mysticism, Christian comic books, and the collegiate dating scene at the People s Republic of Swarthmore. Triggered is a pitch-perfect memoir; a touching, triumphantly funny, compulsively readable, and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age tale for Generation Anxiety. Fletcher Wortmann on OCD and sex: If a girl accepts an invitation to help count the tiles on your bedroom ceiling, then she will probably be disappointed when she realizes you were speaking literally. .on OCD and religion: I have found Catholicism and obsessive compulsive disorder to be deeply sympathetic to one another. One is a repressive construct founded in existential terror, barely restrained by complex, arbitrary ritual behaviors; the other is an anxiety disorder. .on OCD humor: By the sink, I noticed a perfunctory sign warning readers to wash their hands. It was scrawled with graffiti: NO YOU CAN T GERMS ARE UNPREVENTABLE AND INESCAPABLE. .on the seductiveness of OCD: Every so often, everything will work, and you will somehow convince yourself that you are safe, and the disorder will claim credit. I had struck a bargain with the OCD. The transaction was complete. In that moment I became subservient to it. Codice libro della libreria BZE9780312622107

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. ***AS FEATURED ON NPR S TALK OF THE NATION*** Imagine the worst thing in the world. Picture it. Construct it, carefully and deliberately in your mind. Be careful not to omit anything. Imagine it happening to you, to the people you love. Imagine the worst thing in the world. Now try not to think about it. This is what it is like for Fletcher Wortmann. In his brilliant memoir, the author takes us on an intimate journey across the psychological landscape of OCD, known as the doubting disorder, as populated by God, girls, and apocalyptic nightmares. Wortmann unflinchingly reveals the elaborate series of psychological rituals he constructs as preventative measures to ward off the end times, as well as his learning to cope with intrusive thoughts through Clockwork Orange-like trigger therapy. But even more than this, the author emerges as a preternatural talent as he unfolds a kaleidoscope of culture high and low ranging from his obsessions with David Bowie, X-Men, and Pokemon, to an eclectic education shaped by Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Catholic mysticism, Christian comic books, and the collegiate dating scene at the People s Republic of Swarthmore. Triggered is a pitch-perfect memoir; a touching, triumphantly funny, compulsively readable, and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age tale for Generation Anxiety. Fletcher Wortmann on OCD and sex: If a girl accepts an invitation to help count the tiles on your bedroom ceiling, then she will probably be disappointed when she realizes you were speaking literally. .on OCD and religion: I have found Catholicism and obsessive compulsive disorder to be deeply sympathetic to one another. One is a repressive construct founded in existential terror, barely restrained by complex, arbitrary ritual behaviors; the other is an anxiety disorder. .on OCD humor: By the sink, I noticed a perfunctory sign warning readers to wash their hands. It was scrawled with graffiti: NO YOU CAN T GERMS ARE UNPREVENTABLE AND INESCAPABLE. .on the seductiveness of OCD: Every so often, everything will work, and you will somehow convince yourself that you are safe, and the disorder will claim credit. I had struck a bargain with the OCD. The transaction was complete. In that moment I became subservient to it. Codice libro della libreria APC9780312622107

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.***AS FEATURED ON NPR S TALK OF THE NATION*** Imagine the worst thing in the world. Picture it. Construct it, carefully and deliberately in your mind. Be careful not to omit anything. Imagine it happening to you, to the people you love. Imagine the worst thing in the world. Now try not to think about it. This is what it is like for Fletcher Wortmann. In his brilliant memoir, the author takes us on an intimate journey across the psychological landscape of OCD, known as the doubting disorder, as populated by God, girls, and apocalyptic nightmares. Wortmann unflinchingly reveals the elaborate series of psychological rituals he constructs as preventative measures to ward off the end times, as well as his learning to cope with intrusive thoughts through Clockwork Orange-like trigger therapy. But even more than this, the author emerges as a preternatural talent as he unfolds a kaleidoscope of culture high and low ranging from his obsessions with David Bowie, X-Men, and Pokemon, to an eclectic education shaped by Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Catholic mysticism, Christian comic books, and the collegiate dating scene at the People s Republic of Swarthmore. Triggered is a pitch-perfect memoir; a touching, triumphantly funny, compulsively readable, and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age tale for Generation Anxiety. Fletcher Wortmann on OCD and sex: If a girl accepts an invitation to help count the tiles on your bedroom ceiling, then she will probably be disappointed when she realizes you were speaking literally. .on OCD and religion: I have found Catholicism and obsessive compulsive disorder to be deeply sympathetic to one another. One is a repressive construct founded in existential terror, barely restrained by complex, arbitrary ritual behaviors; the other is an anxiety disorder. .on OCD humor: By the sink, I noticed a perfunctory sign warning readers to wash their hands. It was scrawled with graffiti: NO YOU CAN T GERMS ARE UNPREVENTABLE AND INESCAPABLE. .on the seductiveness of OCD: Every so often, everything will work, and you will somehow convince yourself that you are safe, and the disorder will claim credit. I had struck a bargain with the OCD. The transaction was complete. In that moment I became subservient to it. Codice libro della libreria APC9780312622107

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