Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought
'Extremely compelling' – THE GUARDIAN
'It's a fascinating read... Buy the book! Buy the book!' – JO GOOD, BBC RADIO LONDON
'Searing... funny, eloquent and honest' – PSYCHOLOGIES
'Remarkable... I hope this book finds a wide readership' – WASHINGTON POST
'A beautifully-rendered memoir' – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
'Often as chilling as Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, but also full of so much inner and external turbulence that it reminded me at times of The Bourne Identity and Memento. Readers will root for Lily, even when she is attempting to run away from the realities and sometimes authorities chasing her.' – HUFFPOST UK
'A harrowingly honest memoir' – KIRKUS REVIEWS'
Because We Are Bad is an emotional, challenging read. Lily takes us deep into the heart of the illness but she is also a deft writer, and even the darkest moments are peppered with wit and wry observations.' – JAMES LLOYD, OCD-UK
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 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.
It is ideal for anyone who liked books by fellow OCD sufferers Bryony Gordon (Mad Girl, Glorious Rock Bottom), Rose Cartwright (Pure), and David Adam (The Man Who Couldn't Stop: The Truth About OCD).
Chapter 1: Chesbury Hospital
From the outside, Chesbury Hospital in London looks like a castle that got lost and was plonked down in the wrong place. It is long and white, with battlements and arched windows from which princesses could call down, in the chapter before they are saved.
But it’s not entirely believable. Where the portcullis should be, there are giant glass doors. Walk through them, and you could be in a five-star hotel. The man at reception wears a suit and tie and asks if he can help, like he’s going to book you a table. A glass cupboard showcases the gifts sold by reception: bath oils, rejuvenating face cream, and Green & Black’s chocolate, just in case you arrive empty-handed to see a crazy relative and need an icebreaker.
The walls, lampshades, window fittings, and radiators are all a similar, unnameable colour, somewhere between brown, yellow, and cream. A looping gold chandelier is suspended by a heavy chain; the fireplace has marble columns. The members of staff have busy, preoccupied faces—until they come close to you, when their mouths break into wide, fixed smiles.
Compared with the Harley Street clinic, there is a superior
choice of herbal teas. When the police arrived after the escape, Mum cried a lot; then she shouted. Now she has assumed a sense of British resolve. She queries: ‘Wild Jasmine, Purple Rose, or Earl Grey?’
A nurse checks through my bag, which has been lugged upstairs. She takes the razor (fair enough), tweezers (sort of fair enough), a bottle of Baileys lying forgotten in the handbag (definitely fair enough), and headphones (definitely not fair enough). There would never be a hanging: far too much mess.
The observation room is next to the nurses’ station; they keep you there until you are no longer a risk to yourself.
It is 10th January, 2013, and I am 19.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Lily Bailey is a model, writer, and mental health campaigner.
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. She began campaigning for better awareness and understanding of OCD, and has tried to stop companies making products that trivialise the illness.
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