Frequently Asked Questions about Fred

1. Why did you write Fred?

I wrote Fred for 3 reasons:

  • To communicate how it feels to have OCD. Ninety percent of OCD (and its close cousin, body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD) is invisible to others. My stories illustrate how having the disorder is akin to being held hostage, the barrel of a gun slammed into your temple, day after day, week after week, month after month.

    Chapter 3: Just as my hair was starting to fall out.

“Her writing cuts to the quick when describing the suffering that lies beneath the exterior that others see.”
—Joan Davidson, PhD, author of Daring to Challenge OCD

  • To share hope that you can reclaim your life from OCD and BDD. According to the International OCD Foundation, it takes sufferers 14-17 years on average from onset of OCD symptoms before they receive the right treatment, exposure and response prevention therapy. It took me twice that long. Further, once someone starts treatment, it can take months or years to recover from the devastation of the disorder. But regardless of the treatment detours people with OCD experience, I want them to never, ever give up, because they, like me, can get better.

“Everyone with OCD will be able to see themselves in her struggles,
and her journey will provide them with the hope that the road to recovery is one that they, like her, can travel.”
—Jonathan Grayson, PhD, author of Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • To tell a good story. I love page turners—mystery and suspense novels that keep me guessing and on the edge of my seat—so that’s what I wanted to write. My life has been somewhat of a wild ride (literally at times—just ask my spirited Arabian horse, Lee, who features prominently in my life and in Fred), so I had lots of good material to work with. I hope readers will enjoy it and pick up some new insights about OCD and BDD along the way.

“Shala has crafted a masterpiece detailing the suffering and pain associated with OCD.”
—Eric Storch, PhD, McIngvale Presidential Endowed Chair & Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

“An amazing story of terror and resilience. Fred is … a gripping portrayal of an unrelenting disorder.”
—Randy O. Frost, PhD, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

2. What kind of OCD do you have?