In September last year, we published PURE, a mental health memoir with a difference. For over ten years, author Rose Bretécher experienced a rare and often misdiagnosed form of OCD known as ‘Pure O’, with devastating consequences. If you pledged for PURE, dear reader, you may well share our sense of pride at its hefty contribution to the national debate on mental health in general, and OCD in particular.
On Saturday afternoon Rose was interviewed by Sky News as part of a wider focus on Pure O. Even if you’re familiar with Rose’s story by now, the documentary that accompanied her interview features yet more incredible stories of people who have suffered in silence with intrusive thoughts for years, not knowing what they meant. A primary school teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, nearly lost his job after discussing his obsessions with a mental health professional. A new mother was so gripped by the fear she’d somehow harm her young baby, she retreated from life altogether.
Mental health isn’t quite the taboo it used to be. Ongoing research, tireless campaigning and good literature on the part of charities, and a renewed focus on medical and social approaches have meant that our understanding of certain anxiety and depressive disorders is becoming broader and more nuanced. I like to think we’re much more alert to signs of struggle in those around us. But Rose’s story shows us we’ve still got a long, long way to go.
Sharing our stories has always given us the best chance for growth, healing and change. It’s partly why we love publishing books – and it’s absolutely why Rose’s heartbreaking and triumphant tale has resonated with so many.
Watch Sky’s documentary on OCD in full here: