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Let's Talk OCD: Rose Cartwright's Movement towards Pure O Acceptance

The author's firsthand account of living with Pure OCD gives a unique insight into the disorder and has inspired others to share their stories.

Written by Jana K. Hoffman

Let's Talk OCD: Rose Cartwright's Movement towards Pure O Acceptance

01 Pure OCD: A Rude Awakening by Rose Bretecher was published in The Guardian in 2013.

02 The author shared her firsthand account with Pure O, beginning with the time she pictured a naked child at age 15.

03 The author used humor, sarcasm and personal anecdotes to humanize her experience with intrusive thoughts.

04 The article empowered others to share their stories of intrusive thoughts in mainstream media.

Until recently, there were very few existing news articles about Pure O that shed light on the disorder and made a positive impact. When The Guardian published Rose Cartright's Pure OCD: A Rude Awakening in 2013, it started a movement toward mainstream acceptance and understanding.

In the article, Cartwright shared a firsthand account of the time when she was 15 years old and imagined a naked child. She went on to reveal the many other common types of repetitive thoughts that plagued her and the treatments she attempted over time. Readers could experience a glimpse inside the world of someone who led a normal life yet battled Pure O. For those who experienced intrusive thoughts, the article may have helped them find comfort in knowing that they weren’t alone. And for others, it may have served as an educational tool.

Most importantly, Cartwright may have given some readers a voice, allowing them to find the courage to communicate their thoughts to loved ones or seek professional help. This article became a valuable resource — and even a source of relief. Unlike the many academia articles that compiled scary thoughts and fears into bulleted lists and difficult language, Cartwright used humor, sarcasm and personal anecdotes in an effort to humanize her experience. For many, this was an important factor that led to the success of her powerful story.

Cartwright put a real face to a real mental illness. It further offered a sense of community that has since empowered other people to come forward with their stories.

About the author

Jana Hoffman is a writer, editor and storyteller based in San Francisco. She is currently working as a copywriter at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Outside of work, she is a trained volunteer for Crisis Text Line and has been open about her experiences with mental health.

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