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Sunday, January 10, 2010


Andrew Alexander produces book about his battle with OCD.

Most of us are irritated by an irrational desire to double-check what we do – checking handbags or wallets for boarding passes at airports or shopping lists as we enter supermarkets. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder’s (OCD) is a condition that takes these seemingly harmless naggings a quantum leap forward until they control one’s thinking and entire way of living.

Cape Town born Andrew Alexander grew up in Zimbabwe where he became a promising scholar, a reasonable athlete and a well-adjusted young adult until Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder’s (OCD) insidious onset started to affect his functionality and eventually rendered him almost completely housebound.

From diagnosis in 1995 after the illness forced his withdrawal from university in Cape Town, through major depression, suicide attempts, psychiatric hospitals and electro-convulsive therapy, OCD has led Andrew on a path that he would never have chosen. At the lowest point in his life, with 10 stitches in each wrist, Andrew had nothing left but a story to tell – a story that helped him salvage something from his lost years and which he hopes will help other OCD sufferers by, if nothing else, offering the solace that comes from knowing that others like you are out there.

Andrew now lives in Cape Town, two minutes walk from the same beach on which he took his first steps sometime in 1977.

Fly Fishing for Sharks is Andrew Alexander’s memoir of life with OCD. It is available at Exclusive Books, and Wordsworth Books at a cost of R160.