Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking: A Life Lived Obsessively

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Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking: A Life Lived Obsessively

Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking: A Life Lived Obsessively

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References to social media trends, language and, I apologise in advance, *discourse* gives me the same feeling as a film which references wokeness or, worse, covid.

most of it just didn’t really feel relevant to me, and i didn’t really take anything away from it - maybe it’s my fault for expecting something else from this, but I was left a bit disappointed. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. Indeed, in a time when other accomplished essayists – Jia Tolentino, Cathy Park Hong, Melissa Febos – are using the essay form to convulse the boundaries between the personal and the political, Marianne Eloise has camped out firmly in the former. Marianne Eloise has a lighthearted, easily readable tone that is present all throughout the book and works really well when talking about mental health and neurodivergence. Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking is a culmination of a life spend obsessing, offering a glimpse into Marianne’s brain, but also an insight into the lives of others like her.

I find it endlessly grating to read some iteration of “I had no money” when on the same page the author speaks of years spent jetting off to faraway places for months on end, living in Brighton and London, name-dropping celebrities she had breakfast with in LA, yada yada. While I couldn't relate to every one of her experiences, it was moving to read a deeply honest account of how it feels when your brain and body feels like it's working against you.

Marianne Eloise is a journalist who is most well known for her commentary on music, TV and popular culture.Fascinating, especially in a world which wants us neurodivergent women to have only one of two types of experiences. It sounds more like she’s talking with oh-so-cool friends over drinks on one of the sun-soaked beaches she talks about.

Would I like to feel more restful, or be able to try new foods or deviate from my strict routine without a meltdown? Its tacky shorthands – the hand washing, the germaphobia, the clean freaks – have made their way into everything, from Buzzfeed listicles to The Big Bang Theory. It's truly a joy to be able to read something like this and know other people also have weird brains and what that looks like for them. In the introduction, she uses the term neurodivergent, a label that replaces the taxonomies of the doctor’s office with a more personal, holistic definition of being cognitively different. The rest of the book mostly annoyed me, because there’s this frustrating dichotomy between the person the author describes herself to be at first, and the person who constantly does stuff that the first version of herself would, surely, find extremely difficult if not impossible.

I’ve lived with it (and probably autism too) for my whole life and I find that one of the worst things about it is struggling to communicate the horrors of it to other people; other people don’t know what OCD is and they don’t care to try to understand it. In her candid, witty memoir, Marianne Eloise offers a powerful account of what it is like to feel trapped by mental health problems and obsessions … A brave book that puts vulnerability fully on show. Having OCD myself I was hoping this book would offer some useful information on the subject however this is a series of personal articles on the author’s condition and with autism.

It was well-written, it could have been more structured at times (it is biographical and I found some elements confusing at times, getting mixed up between boyfriends for example). This memoir was ultimately less a memoir of her life and more a memoir of her brain and thought patterns. Depression gets William Styron’s Darkness Visible, psychosis Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. That said, I was surprised by how well she made such niche, personal, specific experiences feel relatable and general.Overall, I found this book a massive disappointment and would have made for a far stronger blog post. Like many essays in the book, “Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy” highlights the equivocal status of obsession: it can be as joyful and productive as it is demanding and devastating. To invoke this term is to make as much a political argument as a personal one: it is to qualify what we mean when we say “mental health”.

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