Interview with Author, Publisher, Vrinda Pendred on New OCD book ‘Check Mates’By Lynn Serafinn on May 1st, 2010
If you follow my weekly radio show on Blog Talk Radio, you know I open every episode by saying it explores “personal empowerment, life purpose, balance of mind, body and spirit, and how to tap into the inner hero that lies within every human being.” While I believe all of my guests are “heroes” in their own right, never have I been more filled with emotion to introduce the hero of the show I hosted this past Wednesday, April 28.
Why? Because the guest was my own daughter, Vrinda Pendred, author and founding Director/Editor of Conditional Publications, a new independent publisher dedicated solely to publishing the works of authors with neurological conditions. Their first book ‘Check Mates’ comes out on May 11, 2010, and it is nothing short of groundbreaking. What makes Check Mates so special is that it is a collection of short fiction and poetry either about or inspired by the struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, all written by people with OCD. Whether solidly real, allegorical, or completely fictionalised, all the compelling work contained in this collection portrays the true story of this greatly misunderstood condition.
It is also the first ever book of fiction written entirely by OCD authors—including Vrinda herself.
This interview is stop number 6 on Vrinda’s 14-day Virtual Blog Tour to promote the launch of Check Mates. Yesterday Vrinda stopped by the blog of Yvonne Perry from Writers in the Sky. If you happened to miss that stop, just click here.
Listen to the interview:
OR if you cannot view the player, CLICK HERE to download the MP3:
In our interview together on April 28, Vrinda started out by describing the struggles she faced as a child growing up with neurological disorders.
She was first diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at age 7, but doctors did little to educate her, her parents or her teachers about the disorder. She describes the frustration of not being able to explain what compelled her to think and do the things she did, and how this impacted her childhood experiences and emotions. For years, she pretty much kept the reality of having Tourette’s hidden from her friends, but she finally had a breakthrough when the topic of Tourette’s came up in a discussion in a science class at school when she was 13 years old. She described how learning more about her condition was a “stunning” revelation, and how it released her from the feeling she needed to hide her condition from the world.
Wanting to understand her condition, Vrinda requested to go back to the doctor to find out more. It was then that a new neurologist finally diagnosed Vrinda with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Vrinda, now 27 years old and extremely knowledgeable about both Tourette’s and OCD, said she finds it “shocking” she was not diagnosed with OCD by the paediatric neurologist when she was 7 years old, as “half the stuff you brought me to the doctor for [at age 7] was actually OCD, and not Tourette’s at all.”
Vrinda explained that OCD, Tourette’s, autism, bipolar disorder and other neurological conditions are genetic in nature, but the way they manifest in a person are “completely founded in your own emotional experiences in life.” Vrinda and I discussed how her diagnosis opened up my own understanding about my own frustrations as a child because my father (Vrinda’s grandfather) had OCD, although it was never diagnosed when he was alive. Vrinda gave some pretty humorous examples of her grandfather’s OCD behaviour in a way that only a fellow OCD person could recognise.
I asked Vrinda about the freedom she has found from learning about her diagnosis. She described how most of her life she had suffered from the terrors of intrusive thoughts, and when she found a name for what she was experiencing, and realised that other people experienced the same thing, she stopped feeling “crazy” and alone. She said, “Once it had a name, it seemed so much smaller. As soon as I could box it and put a name on it I said, ‘Ok, this is the OCD—and I am more than it.”
Vrinda discussed how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has successfully helped her with many of her obsessions, by enabled her to learn how to allow her anxieties to pass without acting upon them. She said, however, that “intrusive thoughts” were frequently much more difficult to overcome and she is still challenged by many of them.
Vrinda discussed how important it was for parents to “educate” teachers about how OCD impacts the child’s behaviour and performance at school. She gave an example of how helpful it was when one compassionate teacher allowed her to take an exam in his private office so she would not be challenged by her OCD by being in a distracting environment.
Vrinda went on to talk about her book Check Mates. She explained that the title “Check Mates” refers to the tendency for people with OCD to “check” things, and also because it is a collection of stories by people who have now become good friends (“mates”). The 20 authors of this book all met each other on a social network called “OCD Tribe” (http://ocdtribe.com). Vrinda said it was “indescribable” and “life-changing” to find a “tribe” of people who all shared the same condition.
She explained that what makes Check Mates unique amongst other books is that it is not a “self-help” book, but rather a book of fiction by OCD authors. She said she felt fiction was “more powerful” than an autobiography in this case, as readers who do not have OCD would be able to see something of themselves within the stories as well.
She explained how the stories in the book shed light on the wide range of the types of obsessions people with OCD have, such as fear of death, post-partum OCD, pre-occupation with religion, compulsive cleaning, self-harming, hoarding, counting rituals, checking, etc. “We wanted to show that OCD is a very complex thing. When you see it on television, they only ever focus on one or two problems that seem really extreme. They certainly don’t ever talk about the thoughts, or ‘pure obsessional OCD’ (obsessive ruminations), which in my view is the most debilitating problem.”
If you or a family member has OCD, or any neurological condition, you definitely will want to check out Check Mates when it comes out on Tuesday May 11.
You can do this by heading over to: http://conditionalpublications.com/pages/check-mates-launch.html
When you are there, be sure to sign up for a “launch reminder” so you can receive over 30 free personal development gifts when you buy the book on the day of its launch. Amongst the gifts are a free short story on Tourette Syndrome from Vrinda, and a free mini-course from me called “Making Friends with the Monsters Under Your Bed.” Just click HERE to read more about the book and the 30 free gifts (if you are reading this article after that date, you may buy the book directly from that page).
I should also mention that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every single book goes to OCD charities, so when you buy it, YOU are also making a difference.
Being Vrinda’s mom makes me understand what they mean by the term “pride and joy.”
Be sure to follow Vrinda to her next Virtual Blog Tour stop on Sunday May 2nd, hosted by Geoff Laughton at http://geofflaughton.com/gltc/blog/.
AND… don’t forget to sign up for the book launch reminder so you can buy ‘Check Mates’ and over 30 free personal development gifts on May 11, 2010. Just go to http://conditionalpublications.com/pages/check-mates-launch.html