I’m thrilled to be able to help celebrate the paperback publication of a book I’m desperate to read today; Because We Are Bad: OCD and a girl lost in thought by Lily Bailey and to share an extract with, you as I think we all have a little bit of OCD in us and I’ve heard such wonderful things about this book.
Because We Are Bad: OCD and a girl lost in thought is published by Canbury and is available for purchase here.
Because We Are Bad: OCD and a girl lost in thought
As a child, Lily Bailey knew she was bad.
By the age of 13, she had killed someone with a thought, spread untold disease, and spied upon her classmates.
Only by performing a series of secret routines could she correct her wrongdoing. But it was never enough. She had a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it came with a bizarre twist.
This true story is from a startling new voice in non-fiction. It lights up the workings of the mind like Mark Haddon or Matt Haig.
Anyone who wants to know about OCD, and how to fight back, should read this book. Immerse yourself in a new world.
An Extract from Because We Are Bad
A woman swings round the doorway to the waiting room. She wears a long skirt and has puffy strawberry-blonde hair. ‘Lily?’ she says, like our name is a question in itself. ‘Lily?’ …We finally get up and follow Dr Finch. Her office is tucked away at the top of the building, along a reassuringly out-of-the-way corridor. She says to sit down, so we do, and we watch her shut the door and arrange herself on the chair opposite us with a file on her lap.
‘Tell me about you,’ she says.
I squeeze my eyes shut and try to hold on to this moment. These short few seconds are the bridge between when then becomes now. Then: you and me, together and on a mission to make me perfect, wedded together by our shared purpose. Now: a secret told that can’t be unspoken, a bond broken beyond repair thanks to my weakness. Everything I know about my world so far, changed by what I say next.
The promise of a full confession was made when I told Dr Ford the first part, even if I didn’t know it at the time. The facts are hard but irrefutable: I don’t want to live like this anymore. And any second now, I am going to tell the truth:
‘There are two of me in my head.’
Something strange has happened.
My head feels clear and fresh, like being dunked in an ice bucket and pulled out by the scruff of your neck—or slapped across the face by someone you respect.
These thoughts that have plagued me don’t define me.
These rules that must be obeyed to make sure nothing goes wrong might just be the things messing everything up.
‘Was she helpful?’ Mum asks tentatively, cutting through steak and kidney pie in the pub where we’ve gone for a debrief.
‘Yes—in a way. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it’s treatable.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
‘I didn’t know. I’d heard of OCD, but I thought it was all about lining up your books and checking the door’s locked. I mean, I do have that door thing a bit, but it’s so far from the main problem. . . . I didn’t make the link.’
She squeezes my hand and bites her lip. ‘I feel so terrible.’
‘For not noticing.’
‘You couldn’t have. I live my life trying to come across as normal. All my energy seems to go into making sure no one does notice anything at all. If you knew, that would have meant I’d failed.’
‘I don’t get it, though. How is that OCD? I’m not saying I don’t believe you fully—I do. But why don’t I see you doing things over and over?’
‘I do it all in my head.’ I stop. I don’t want to talk to her about it properly; it was bad enough with a stranger. The whole thing is so shameful and exposing; it’s the naked-in-public nightmare, apart from the good bit where you wake up. And yet, of everyone who I could possibly tell, I think she probably deserves to know the most.
‘I make lists in my head of everything I’ve done that might be wrong. Then I repeat them over and over again and analyse them. I have to be perfect. I feel like if I do this enough, then one day I will be.’
‘Why do you have to be perfect?’
‘You know what?’ I smile properly for the first time in days. ‘I’ve never really thought about it.’
(I’m sure this will resonate with so many readers. It’s certainly made me even more determined to get this book to the top of my TBR.)
About Lily Bailey
Lily Bailey is a model and writer. She became a journalist in London in 2012, editing a news site and writing features and fashion articles for local publications including the Richmond Magazine and the Kingston Magazine.
As a child and teenager, Lily suffered from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She kept her illness private, until the widespread misunderstanding of the disorder spurred her into action.
In 2014 she began campaigning for better awareness and understanding of OCD, and has tried to stop companies making products that trivialise the illness.
Her first book, Because We Are Bad, published in May 2016, relates her experience of OCD.
Lily lives in London with her dog, Rocky.