Book Review: The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam

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I recently finished reading The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam.  This book provides a fascinating look at OCD.  Adam tells his own story in conjunction with statistics and the history of OCD.  I first heard of this book around the time John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down came out; when in a youtube video John Green recommended this book (full video of his book recommendations below).    

Going into reading this book, I had a limited level of knowledge in regards to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  I’ll admit, I fell into the majority of people who associated OCD with handwashing and orderliness. Television shows and movies play a large role in these common associations.  An example that Adam gives in his book is the popular television show Monk, in which OCD is not only portrayed as being about needing everything just so, but is also romanticized through mysteries solved.  Adam points out that for most, that is not how OCD is experienced; though like with all illnesses and disorders everyone can experience it in a unique way.

In all books I keep an eye out for quotes that I can save, and in this book I found one that felt perfect for how I had been feeling. “Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.”  I loved this quote because it summarizes a sentiment that I have been trying to take to heart. I often feel like I am doing worse than everyone around me; even in mental health treatment groups.  It is because I see other people smile and laugh; or just seeming comfortable or calm. I don’t know what is going through their head, and the people to whom I am comparing myself could very well feel the same insecurity in regards to me.  We all present ourselves to others by sharing what we want to be seen.

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop was a fun and educational read.  Unlike many books with history, facts, and statistics I found myself eager to see what would be on the next page.  If you want to learn about OCD and hear interesting stories from the author as well as from case studies; you should read The Man Who Couldn’t Stop.

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