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Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  995 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Written with the indelible power of Girl, Interrupted, Brain on Fire, and Reasons to Stay Alive, a lyrical, poignant memoir by a young woman about her childhood battle with debilitating obsessive compulsive disorder, and her hard-won journey to recovery.

By the age of thirteen, Lily Bailey was convinced she was bad. She had killed someone with a thought, spread untold disea
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Harper (first published May 13th 2016)
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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  995 ratings  ·  139 reviews


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Marianne
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“It has been an hours and fifty minutes since I’ve been by myself. I’ve enjoyed hanging out with Frankie, but the routines have piled up as usual and now I’m at bursting point. When I spend uninterrupted time with other people, a dam builds in my head. It can hold the words back for a while, but at some point they’ll surge free and overflow, and there will be chaos”

Because We Are Bad is a memoir by British model, journalist and author, Lily Bailey. Even in her earliest memories of childhood, Li
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Rebecca
(3.5) “For as long as I could remember, I wasn’t me, I was we.” Lily Bailey, a British writer and model, had a sort of imaginary friend while she was growing up, but instead of a comforting presence it was a critical voice pushing her to be ultra-conscious of how her behavior appeared to others. She couldn’t stop thinking about how she might be perceived – everything from body odor to inadvertently acting snobby or selfish. Every imagined transgression was tallied up and given a letter abbreviat ...more
Kressel Housman
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Someone in my life has OCD, so you will be seeing more of these OCD memoirs in my feed. As a memoir, this was a good one; the author brings the reader right into the obsessions ruling her life. Hers were all about social faux pas, though, and not contamination fears, which is the variety of OCD I’m dealing with. But as I said, the picture she paints of her intrusive thoughts and her belief in her own “badness” is disturbingly vivid. She’s equally detailed and vivid with the various kinds of ther ...more
Lily S.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I finished Bailey's book two days ago but since I had so much going on I had some time to gather my thoughts about it.

Overall I'd give it 4. 5 stars.

Lily's been having problems from a very young age. She constantly thinks she's bad and worried she might have hurt people. As she ages her worries, obsessions and compulsions to control then get worse. Bailey tells the story of her disorder, her way to recovery talking honestly about her relapses.

It's a very special book because it's written in a b
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Lisa
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
In the midst of my own "bad time" this is exactly what I needed. So many of Lily's experiences mirror my own so exactly. She gives me hope.
Katy Noyes
Matt Haig's honest and uplifting look at his own depression last year touched a nerve of many. This year, I think I'll put my best on Lily Bailey's personal journey through a lifetime of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as non-fiction's best mental health confession.

I've read very few fictional representations of OCD in the past (Into the Darkest Corner stands out in my memory), and certainly never with an adolescent at the heart of the story.

Lily Bailey hear describes with no holds barred he
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Hana
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everybody\ seriously, go read this.
4.5

((This review will be short because I'm flippin' speechless))

I have just finished reading this, and I am in awe...
I read it in one sitting. Lily writes beautifully, and honestly, and I couldn't tear my eyes off my Kindle screen.
This book filled me with the same deep sadness that The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath did.
Just heart-rending.
When the blurb talks about Lily's debilitating OCD, it isn't exaggerating. Some parts of this book were really hard to read because Lily was in such obvious pain.
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Natalie  S
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Because We Are Bad is a devastating memoir where the author actually lived, breathed and believed the title. The book is a chronicle of Lily Bailey’s years spend living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) from her initial diagnosis as a child through to becoming a young woman. The story is a relatable, first person account of the mental illness and it’s one that should resonate with people who have this disorder as well as helping to dispel some of the misconceptions that are out there.

This
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Gary Sun


Lily Bailey is a young British writer and model.

Lily Bailey is pretty and funny.

Lily Bailey also has a secret: she used to have an imaginary friend who didn't have a name, who would, under an amicable disguise, control her thoughts and stub out any of her attempt to enjoy life like a normal human being.

Lily Bailey has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, known as OCD.

I started reading this bewitching, gut-wrenching, highly instructive and most importantly, insanely funny memoir after the 'incident
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Caitlin
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
As someone who has studied psychology, one of my pet peeves is when people make light of disorders - such as saying they have OCD when really, they just like things to be symmetrical or don't like the odd teaspoon left in the sink. It's rare when someone says, "Oh, I'm just really OCD" they mean they haven't been able to leave the house for hours due the sheer terror that should they neglect to undergo the full cycle of necessary behaviours something awful will happen to the very people they lov ...more
Stew Elliott
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A devastatingly honest account of living with OCD. There are a lot of misconceptions around the condition, some of which I held myself but this book has shed light on it. It is endearingly written with a dash of humour but it nonetheless faces the uglier side of OCD head on without sugar coating anything.

I'd recommend this to anyone as the best way to gain insight into the reality of suffering with OCD, or any mental illness.
Katie/Doing Dewey
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This memoir was so engaging and hard to put down, it felt a little voyeuristic. It made me feel less bad that the author clearly intended this to be an engaging read. The chapters were short and snappy. They often ended on a cliff hanger. I constantly wanted to find out what happened next and devoured this book in only two sittings. The author also wrote about her experiences in an evocative way. Not having shared her experience of having OCD, I felt she helped me understand better what that’s l ...more
Molly
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this memoir. I don’t think I had read any personal accounts of OCD before (and didn’t know much about it, truthfully) and Ms. Bailey painted a picture of how truly incapacitating it can be.
Zoe Hall
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
This is phenomenal. This book has a personal connotation for me. For me, this is my favourite read of the year. Stunningly written. There’s not much else for me to say, other than thank you to Lily Bailey for highlighting OCD in this way.
Amy Dreger
I just finished this book and am speechless. Parenting a child with OCD has given me insights into this disease, but this stunning memoir underscored just how debilitating and destructive this illness can be. The author is inspiring and resilient and shares her story with brutal honesty that is sometimes very hard to read.

OCD is a mental illness that is often made fun of and grossly misunderstood. It is thought of by many to be a personality quirk and not a crippling mental illness. This book s
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Kelly
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fellow OCD-diagnosed woman, so Lily Bailey's story resonated with me. I was particularly impressed that she was twenty-one when she finished writing it. I only have two "but"s to my praise: first, there were a few points where I would turn the page and I could swear I'd accidentally skipped a page. It would feel like we'd just jumped ahead in time without warning, or segued without context. The other complaint I had is that I think she actually should have waited to write this book until ...more
Carah
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
Wow, what a read. If you have dealt with OCD, know someone with OCD, or just want to know more about it. Read this. Very well done. The way she writes this book really makes you feel the torment one feels through thought. I have read many books on this topic and a lot of times I feel like the torment doesn't come across like it should. She hit the nail on the head here. There are points when you are annoyed in this book.. but in a good way because it means she got her point across.

This book defi
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Claire
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with an anxiety disorder
I'm feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that this book exists, and that Lily Bailey was able to express her struggle so honestly and clearly. OCD seems poorly understood by most people- it summons images of hand sanitizer and overly organized school supplies. By contrast, three aspects of the disorder that were striking in this book are magical thinking, intrusive thoughts, and the horrible feeling of having committed a crime that you can't remember.

I highly recommend this to people with anxiety
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Beth Bonini
This is a memoir which reads, especially in the first half, like fiction. When I thought it was a fictional story, I had some criticisms about the ‘storyline’ - but when I realised it was actually a very raw and relentless look at the mental processes of a young girl with severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) the way I was evaluating the book really altered.

Kudos to author Lily Bailey for being brave enough to construct (or reconstruct) what it was like to be her: a young girl with severe
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Allison
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
"Arriving in Blank Slate feels like resurfacing after being under the sea--that first breath you take when your lungs are greedy for oxygen and the joy of sun and sky hits you all at once."

"To love someone who is paid to be your friend is a terrible thing."

"She says she wishes I would give natural remedies and mindfulness a chance.
Mindfulness is the fucking problem: my mind is too full."

"I've been transferred from intensive care to the psychiatric unit. It's a state place, and the rumors are tru
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Jamie Jones Hullinger
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you are searching for an honest depiction of mental illness Because We Are Bad fulfills that need. If you are struggling with OCD and other forms of mental illness you will find someone to relate to with Lily. I was glad to receive this galley copy of Because We Are Bad by Harper Books in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book. Even if you cannot relate to the depiction of mental illness it will still provide invaluable insight to the struggle that so many people experien ...more
Kylie ward
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. What a fantastic read!!! This is a memoir that reads just like a novel, it goes through lily when she is young, her school days, collage, hospital stays. It gives such a perfect view. I would hands down recommend this to everyone!!! Everybody needs to read this!!!
I only took off .5 a star because I wanted more! I wanted to keep reading.
Please go and read this!!!!!!
Catherine Dixon
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a biography that details Lilys struggle with OCD during her childhood and teenage years. This book gives an honest, raw and powerful account of what it's like to live with a mental illness. It should be mandatory reading for anyone who has ever said they’re “a little bit OCD”. This is OCD laid bare. Great read!
Amelia
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I wasn't fully aware of the fact that I have OCD (albeit not as severe as Lily Bailey's) until I read this book. I devoured it, and was shocked especially by the first 50 pages, to read about the sort of behaviours I had as a young person, described perfectly on the page. I think this would be interesting for anyone to read and to understand what OCD actually is, and that it's not as simple as chilling out and not washing your hands too much.
Michelle
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 - 4 stars
This book was quick to read and kept me interested the whole way through. I was so enthralled with the way Lily thinks and I think this is a great book on the subject of OCD for sure. I learnt a lot.
Olwen
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The first parts of this book become tedious - probably as tedious and time consuming as the author found her own OCD thoughts to be. But persist, the end is worth the journey of reading right through.
Rebecca Altmann
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-challenge
Wow.
The pacing of the book is amazing - at times slow and measured and relaxed, then quickly accelerating to a chaotic crescendo and then crashing... at times I felt breathless, or exhausted, or panicked, or calm. The pace matches the events and drags you into Lily's chaos.
I've never read anything like it, and being a true story (which I was unaware off while reading) makes it more impressive.
A very talented writer and a book worth reading.
Kate
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5/5 Review to come
Channa
4.5/5. One of the best books I've read in a long time. I highly recommend!
Leah Michael
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book! I have never struggled with OCD but she does a great job explaining her thoughts and feelings so you understand what someone with OCD goes through on a daily basis.
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“I tidy up the loose ends for a couple of minutes and then nod, signalling that I am done. I say done — I’m never really done when I only have two minutes, but I am done enough to attempt to engage in a conversation for a small window of time. Bursting point has been delayed.” 0 likes
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