For Immediate Release
Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (2/27/14) — A new book tells the story of how a life-long sufferer conquered her own Obsessive Compulsive Disorder without medication.
“Some people suffering from OCD definitely do need medication, but I don’t think people realize there are alternatives to try before they subject themselves to medication which can have disagreeable side effects,” said author and former OCD sufferer Bess Cunningham. “Medication often only treats the symptoms, but not the underlying disorder. Understanding of what is happening to them and natural therapies can be very helpful to some sufferers, especially children.”
“OCD and Me: My Unconventional Journey through Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” by Bess Cunningham (PlantaPress, Liverpool, U.K., Dec. 2013), includes the author’s personal narrative with OCD, supplemented by interviews with OCD specialists, and information on natural therapies that help to alleviate OCD, anxiety, and depression.
“This is not a clinical book. It’s a creative informational work that’s meant to connect with the reader on an emotional level,” Cunningham said. “I want my readers with OCD to know that they’re not alone in what they’re experiencing — and for their friends and loved ones to better understand what it feels like to have OCD.”
Cunningham has learned to laugh at some of her past experiences with OCD. But she still can’t laugh at the isolation and humiliation she felt as a child. In grade school, she had a pet goldfish that she loved very much. One morning she had an intrusive thought that told her to wear a particular red headband every day or else her fish would die.
“I was very anxious about wearing the same headband every day,” Cunningham said. “My Granny used to wash it, but I didn’t even want her to wash it. I just wanted to wear it so my fish would be all right. This went on for years.”
One day, she told the kids in her class why she wore the headband, and she was picked on and teased thereafter. “I felt terrible,” she said. “I would get stomach aches from the ridicule. That’s what happens when you speak about this condition. And, no, I can’t laugh at that story. But I can laugh about a lot of other things.”
At one point Cunningham’s OCD was so bad, she had to withdraw from college. But it was not until 1999 that she gained insight about widespread her condition was. After psychotherapy sessions failed to help her, she turned to the Internet and found an online discussion board for OCD sufferers and professionals exploring treatments.
“I used to just live with it, as best I could,” said Cunningham. “But one thing led to another and I learned about professionals like Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, who advocates for a four step self-treatment behavioral therapy approach that helped me a lot. I believe you can change your brain chemistry, and you can do that naturally, by listening to music, immersing yourself in humor, using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), taking Inositol, which is a form of Vitamin B, as well as other natural therapies in the book.”
An interview with Dr. Schwartz, author of “Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior” (Harper Perennial, 1997) appears in “OCD and Me.” The book also includes an appendix of resources and an extensive bibliography and information about other OCD specialists.
“My hope is that this book will inspire and teach OCD sufferers that they don’t have to live this way,” Cunningham said. “There’s humor in my book, but there’s a lot of pain, too, that people can empathize with.”
“OCD and Me” is available through booksellers across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and through Amazon. Illustrations are by David Michael Lyndon Thomas.
REVIEW COPIES/ PUBLICITY ART
For an author photo and book cover, visit: http://DuncanCrary.com/clients/OCDandMe.html
To request an interview or review copy, contact Duncan Crary at 518-274-2723 or DCC@DuncanCrary.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bess Cunningham was born and currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is President of Landing Gear, a Brooklyn based company with retail stores in the New York area, which she and her husband run. She is also a mother, a photographer and book editor. None of this would be possible without her conquering her severe OCD, which she did alone and without medication.
She blogs at http://besscunningham.blogspot.com (OCD and Me)
Find her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/OCDandME