Because We Are Bad

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A book review of Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought by Lily Bailey

A book review of Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought by Lily Bailey

Stars: *****

Harper Paperbacks (2018)
Memoir>Mental Health
272 pages

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Summary: Written with the indelible power of Girl, Interrupted, Brain on Fire, and Reasons to Stay Alive, a lyrical, poignant memoir by a young woman about her childhood battle with debilitating obsessive compulsive disorder, and her hard-won journey to recovery.

By the age of thirteen, Lily Bailey was convinced she was bad. She had killed someone with a thought, spread untold disease, and ogled the bodies of other children. Only by performing an exhausting series of secret routines could she make up for what she’d done. But no matter how intricate or repetitive, no act of penance was ever enough.

Beautifully written and astonishingly intimate, Because We Are Bad recounts a childhood consumed by obsessive compulsive disorder. As a child, Bailey created a second personality inside herself—”I” became “we”—to help manifest compulsions that drove every minute of every day of her young life. Now she writes about the forces beneath her skin, and how they ordered, organized, and urged her forward. Lily charts her journey, from checking on her younger sister dozens of times a night, to “normalizing” herself at school among new friends as she grew older, and finally to her young adult years, learning—indeed, breaking through—to make a way for herself in a big, wide world that refuses to stay in check.

Charming and raw, harrowing and redemptive, Because We Are Bad is an illuminating and uplifting look into the mind and soul of an extraordinary young woman, and a startling portrait of OCD that allows us to see and understand this condition as never before.

Because We Are Bad

This was a shocking book about OCD that starts as a young girl. I know quite a bit about OCD but I’ve never seen it so young and the idea of a second personality that isn’t DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) was intriguing. I don’t have OCD but I have OCD traits with my Bipolar. I’ve never experienced anything like this though.

You will just want to grab a hold of the young version of the author and hold her close and tell her it will be alright. Be prepared for emotions while reading. OCD is different for everyone who suffers from if it of course. However if you want an idea of what it can be like for someone who struggles with it, you will want to read this book.

Shameful Thoughts

I am proud of the author. She was honest with some very scary and shameful thoughts to help others. If you don’t know, it’s common to have obsessive thoughts about abusing others, including sexual, including children. These people don’t actually want to do any of these things. Most would never actually do these things. They are obsessive thoughts that you don’t want to have but can’t control.

In the case of Lily Bailey, it’s not that the was actually abusive in any way. She just thought that doing anything innocent might mean she wants to abuse someone. Or that someone might misunderstand something in that way. For example she checked on her little sister many times a night to make sure she was still breathing. She did this by putting her hand on her chest to feel if it was moving up and down. Later she learns that if someone touches a child’s chest, breast or privates they are being abusive. So she thinks she has been abusing her sister this whole time.

There are many cases of misunderstanding that could have been cleared up possibly if she talked about it. However she was ashamed and scared so she kept the thoughts to herself. I’m so glad that she made progress when she got older.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.