Memoirs

Last week while on vacation, I read two memoirs – "Rewind, Replay, Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" by Jeff Bell and "Money: A Memoir" by Liz Perle. The former was a much more interesting read. But, then again, I live with someone who copes with OCD. I found Bell's accounting of OCD to be highly informative and moving. I find that about half the people I talk with don't even know what Obsessive Compulsive disorder is. And, among the other half, the majority equates it with Monk, sees it as a germ phobia and hand-washing thing only or believe they have it because they like to keep their silverware drawer neatly arranged. The reality is that people with OCD have a brain disorder where the brain gets "stuck" in a particular thought pattern (the obsession). To alleviate the thought pattern, the person will perform some action (the compulsion). Often this is repetitive. And, in my experience, it isn't always consistent. What I know is that the person with OCD is aware of the "stuck brain" and related behaviors, but that awareness alone cannot stop the cycle. The resulting anguish can be devastating. Jeff Bell talks about his long road to understanding what was happening to him, the many paths through self-help, research and therapy to grasp the root of his anguish and subsequent attempts at learning to cope. I'm so grateful that for my son, we recognized his OCD when he was only 6 and have been able to get him - and us - the help we need to deal with this disorder for a lifetime. If you'd like to learn more about OCD, visit the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation's website.

In "Money: A Memoir," Liz Perle chronicles her own journey in coming to grips with the particular emotional issues that women wrap around money. I took away the concept that as women, we tend to be stuck between having someone "care for us" and taking care of ourselves, in a financial sense. We allow money to dictate the nature of so many of our relationships. Sadly, we put a lot of our self-worth in our wallets. In writing the book, Perle talked with a great number of women about money. And, as you might expect, at first many of them were reluctant to open up. Somehow, our culture has made talking about money taboo, especially if you're a women. I think we could all greatly benefit if we'd just put it out there. Imagine what you could learn! Of course, we'd have to get past that annoying habit of comparing ourselves to others based on net worth, income and possessions (back to that self-worth in the wallet thing). For what is sure to be a far better review of the book, go to USA Today.