Kirsten Pagacz - Leaving the Ocd Circus: Your Big Ticket Out of Having to Control Every Little Thing
(photo from Livingstondaily.com)
Kirsten Pagacz, former 20-year OCD sufferer, felt a real sense of responsibility to share what she learned about OCD with other OCD sufferers and their families. That’s exactly why she wrote the self-help book, “Leaving the OCD Circus,” published by Red Wheel, Weiser, Conari Press who are located in Newburyport, Mass. Kirsten knew pitching her book idea was a long shot, especially as a first time author, but at one time, getting out of the clutches of OCD and living a joyful, healthy, well-balanced life was a long shot, too!
Pagacz says, her motivation to get up at 5am every morning to write content for her book, before starting her long work day at Retro-a-go-go!, was always to help other sufferers get onto the path of their big happy life, faster than she did.
It’s like the meanest, wildest monkey running around my head, constantly looking for ways to bite me. That was how Kirsten Pagacz described her OCD to her therapist on their first session when she was well into her 30s she’d been following orders from this mean taskmaster for 20 years, without understanding why.
Initially the tapping and counting and cleaning and ordering brought her comfort and structure, two things lacking in her family life. But it never lasted; the loathsome self-talk only intensified, and the rituals she had to perform got more bizarre. By high school she was anorexic and a substance abuser common "shadow syndromes" of OCD. By adulthood, she could barely hide her problems and held on to jobs and friends through sheer grit. Help finally came in the form of a miraculously well-timed public service announcement on NPR about OCD at last her illness had an identity.
Leaving the OCD Circus reveals the story of Pagacz s traumatic childhood and the escalation of her disorder demonstrating how OCD works to misshape a life from a very young age and explains the various tools she used for healing including meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, exposure therapy, and medication. Pieces of her art scattered throughout the book add depth and humor to her stories.