Reviews of Is Fred in the Refrigerator?
Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life

This book is a compelling and powerful portrayal of the inner workings of OCD. Shala paints a vivid portrait of life with this debilitating disorder as well as a candid depiction of what it takes to overcome it and thrive. Is Fred in the Refrigerator? is a masterfully written memoir-meets-educational-meets-inspirational tale that I couldn’t put down.

—Ashley Smith, PhD, coauthor of Childhood Anxiety Disorders

Shala is a good friend and one of my heroes. In this memoir she bares her soul and the result is an inspirational story of hope for those with OCD. My patients are often concerned about their ability to do the hard work of overcoming OCD; it often seems to them that perhaps those who succeed in treatment are somehow better. Shala’s recovery is not a sugarcoated fairytale. Her pain and suffering are real and her story riveting. 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: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty

An amazing story of terror and resilience. Fred is at once a gripping portrayal of an unrelenting disorder and a guide for doing battle with it. It is one of the clearest descriptions of the experience of OCD and how one can learn to defeat it. A fascinating read filled with hope and inspiration. You’ll cry, you’ll cheer, and you’ll put your shoulders back with Shala as she conquers the OCD demon.

—Randy O. Frost, PhD, Harold and Elsa Siipola Israel Professor of Psychology at Smith College and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Is Fred in the Refrigerator? is a true story that reads like a novel. Shala’s rocky journey to recovery will act as a guide to navigate people toward recovery and away from the pitfalls that face those lost in their own minds. Although Shala’s story is sadly one that many people with OCD face due to the lack of understanding of OCD both in the generic public but also among healthcare professionals, her story is a testament to her spirit and determination to find a way in spite of this.

—Stuart Ralph, The OCD Stories

In this book, Shala Nicely, a consummate storyteller, takes the reader on a journey inside the mind of someone who struggles with OCD. You are immediately transported into her life, which is crippled by OCD, ultimately finding yourself cheering her on as she learns of the appropriate treatment for her disorder. You are with her as she does battle with her internal demons and emerges empowered and victorious, having faced down her OCD and having learned that she is, and always has been, the stronger force on this battlefield. It is a story of inspiration and hope, providing insight for therapists and encouragement for those with firsthand experience of the disorder. It will serve as a great introduction to those just learning about OCD, or as a treasured addition to those building their OCD libraries.

—Allen H. Weg, EdD, founder and director of Stress and Anxiety Services of New Jersey and author of OCD Treatment Through Storytelling: A Strategy for Successful Therapy

Shala’s very articulate descriptions are fine examples of aspects of body obsessions, known as body dysmorphic disorder. Her own struggles illustrate so well how completely these types of insidious ideas can intrude on a person’s consciousness and take over their actions. Her delightful prose will be a great help to many who seek to understand their own experiences through reading about those of a fellow sufferer.

—Gail Steketee, PhD, MSW, Professor, Boston University School of Social Work and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

With exquisite candor, Shala reveals how her inner BDD demon, “the salesman,” cunningly manipulates and distorts her self-perception. Having walked hundreds of miles to raise awareness about BDD, I am awed that Shala covers the same distance metaphorically with elegant prose and in much less time. Since I have lived in the arena of this cruel disorder with my son Nathaniel, I know that Shala’s insights about how she fights back will give courage and hope to sufferers and caregivers.

—Denis Asselin, Founder of Walking With Nathaniel

Is Fred in the Refrigerator? Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life is a true depiction of the turmoil and disruption caused by OCD followed by the hope one can get when they finally receive the help that they need to manage their illness. As you hear the intimate details of Shala’s life story, you will be educated, inspired, and moved. This book illustrates the incredible results of ERP therapy for OCD and the life-changing benefits of moving into advocacy and sharing our OCD story.

—Elizabeth McIngvale, PhD, Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine and founder, the Peace of Mind Foundation

What starts as a gripping horror story turns into a book filled with stellar advice and inspiring action for those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental illnesses. Is Fred in the Refrigerator? is a stunning story of growth, perseverance and hope. Shala beautifully details how mental illness shaped her life, taking us with her on her brave journey through perfectionism, shame and fear. This book is the perfect combination of entertainment, education and validation for those who are on their journey to recovery from OCD, but also for any human being who wants to live courageously and joyfully. Bravo, Shala!

—Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT and founder of

Shala has crafted a masterpiece detailing the suffering and pain associated with OCD, while providing hope and inspiration to those affected. Her writing style —which is a perfect combination of educational and inspirational—is certain to make this book a must-read for those embarking on their journey in beating OCD as well as for those closest to them.

—Eric Storch, PhD, McIngvale Presidential Endowed Chair & Professor, Vice Chair & Head of Psychology at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine

Is Fred in the Refrigerator? is one of the best books ever written about obsessive-compulsive disorder. It reads like a page-turning novel. Shala brings the reader into her world, and she helps the reader truly understand how OCD operates in one’s mind as well as how to lean into it, externalize it, and develop the skills to live a fulfilling life. This book provides the reader with key elements that would greatly benefit everyone with OCD as well as their friends and family who are trying to understand this debilitating disorder. It’s so helpful to have a book that tells the story of OCD from the person experiencing it who has also become an expert in treating it. Ultimately, the book instills hope, compassion, and the motivation to thrive in the face of OCD.

—Becky Beaton, PhD, founder & clinical director of The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute and cofounder, OCD Georgia

Shala Nicely has a story worth telling and she tells it brilliantly! Shala bravely shares some of her most intimate struggles with OCD and BDD and brings us into her world of unrelenting and often terrifying intrusive thoughts. Her writing cuts to the quick when describing the suffering that lies beneath the exterior that others see. If you struggle with similar problems or want to better understand them, you’ll appreciate Shala’s candor. But she also goes steps further, sharing what she learned from some of the best teachers in our field about how to accept and even welcome uncertainty and imperfection. Her wealth of knowledge, humor, and gift of storytelling shine a much-needed light on how to successfully pursue and embrace the treatment you need. Bravo Shala!

—Joan Davidson, PhD, codirector of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, and author of Daring to Challenge OCD: Overcome Your Fear of Treatment and Take Control of Your Life Using Exposure and Response Prevention

I have known Shala for many years. I have learned her story of OCD and her growth into an OCD therapist. After this book, I really know Shala and have an even better understanding of the day-to-day difficulties and struggles a person with OCD must overcome to just get out of bed, go to work, or be social. If you have had trouble understanding just how interfering OCD can be in one’s life, you won’t after reading this book. Thanks Shala.

—Patrick McGrath, PhD, author of The OCD Answer Book: Professional Answers to More Than 250 Top Questions about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Shala brilliantly captures the relationship between the mind of a person with OCD and the OCD itself. She shows the reader why calling the OCD’s bluff is worth it, and her defiance against this disorder is, for lack of a better word, infectious. For a memoir, it is refreshingly not just about her, but about all of us with this kind of mind.

Jon Hershfield, MFT, Director of The OCD and Anxiety Center of Greater Baltimore and author of Overcoming Harm OCD

Many excellent books have been written about OCD. Some promote compassion by articulating the challenges of a life tormented by this condition. Others inspire as they chronicle the struggle to recover. Some educate about treatments that can change lives and others bridge resources to those in need. Is Fred in the Refrigerator? does it all. Shala Nicely’s story is at once compelling and enlightening.

—C. Alec Pollard, PhD, founding director, Center for OCD & Anxiety-Related Disorders and Professor Emeritus, Saint Louis University School of Medicine

“In her detailed book, the author acknowledges that her OCD will never leave her. But the harrowing, ultimately hope-giving story of her “work in progress” may be of significant encouragement to those living with OCD and other anxiety disorders.  Written with courage and precision—the anatomy of a potentially incapacitating mental illness laid bare.” — Kirkus Reviews

Is Fred in the Refrigerator?: Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life is available for purchase on Photographs in the top banner by Sabrina Fattal Photography.

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