Passing for normal: Tourettes, OCD and growing up crazy

Amy Wilensky was eight years old when she started to suffer from Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The apple of her father's eye and a pretty, high achieving young girl, she watched as her body began to do things she couldn't control, her mind lurch and veer in ways she didn't understand. Ostensibly illogical, Amy's fears and compulsions ranged from an irrational dread of odd numbers, to a love of multiples of six; from denying herself water, to an impulse to stockpile rotting food; from needing to touch wood to ward off harm, to balancing on the edge of the subway platform. This involuntary dimension to her life was bewildering and potentially crippling. Now a young woman and a powerful witness to her own dysfunction, Wilensky looks back on the emotional fall-out of this socially disabling condition. By turns tragic and comic, her gripping narrative extends our understanding of the complex human mind and, with subtlety, humour and an eye for the absurd, challenges our notion of what it is to be 'normal'.


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