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MSU Alum Pens Book on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

A Missouri State Alumnus has written a book about a disorder that affects approximately 2 million Americans. KSMU’s Katie Easley interviewed him and has this story.

For years Shannon Shy was haunted by endless obsessions and compulsions. They included things like checking the coffee pot as many as 30 times to make sure it was turned off, and driving back numerous times to make sure a log on the side of the road wasn’t actually an injured person. Every time he saw someone go into a body of water, he stuck around to make sure they came out. These occurrences eventually became so persistent they forced Shy to become practically non-functioning in his everyday life.

“I had secretly and repeatedly thought that it would be better to be dead than to live like that. I just want everyone to know that I never seriously considered committing suicide because I knew life was too precious. But the thought was always there that that would be better than going through what I was going through,” says Shy.

At age 35, Shy had one very memorable episode that caused him to finally decide he needed help. So he called a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in 1997. Shy claims it was the smartest decision he’s ever made.

“The disorder itself is basically self defining. You have obsessive thoughts which are persistent, unwanted, sometimes irrational, and bizarre thoughts that cause you anxiety, and the anxiety leads to a compulsion to do some act,” says Shy.

Along with giving him medication, doctors helped him develop a behavioral strategy to help control OCD. Within a year after following the strategy, Shy was well on his way to controlling the disorder on his own. Since 2003, Shy has not needed any medicine to treat the disorder, and hasn’t seen any doctors. He has recently written a book that talks about his battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

“I helped a woman that had OCD and she told me I changed her life. So that’s when I decided to write the book with the goal of telling people or letting people know that there is a way out,” says Shy.

The title of the book is “It’ll Be Okay: How I kept Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from Ruining My Life.” You can find the book online. Shy is now working as a navy attorney in Washington D.C.

For KSMU News, I’m Katie Easley.