NPR

An Obsessive Compulsive's 'Life In Rewind'

Because of his severe obsessive compulsive disorder, it took Ed Zine 16,384 precise movements to get from his bed to the bathroom.

Neal Conan talks with Zine and Dr. Michael Jenike, the psychiatrist who helped Zine find a way to overcome OCD and unlock his life. Their new book with author Terry Weible Murphy is called Life in Rewind.

Jenike is a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School and the founder of the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington.

A little over 10 years ago, Ed Zine was stuck. His obsessive compulsive disorder so overwhelmed him that he never left his basement, never changed his clothes or sheets, never washed and could not use the bathroom. He watched TV and repeated his movements over and over again - forwards, then backwards, always by an even number.

Enter Michael - Dr. Michael Jenike. Ed Zine's desperate family called the renowned OCD expert for help, and slowly, painstakingly, Ed and Dr. Jenike began to unwind the disease that had taken over his life. Ed's journey out of the basement is described in a new book, "Life in Rewind." The doctor and the patient are coauthors, with Terry Murphy. Both will join us in a moment to talk about living with OCD and overcoming it. If you or someone you know are afflicted with OCD, tell us your story. Our phone number: 800-989-8255. Email us: talk@npr.org. And you can join the conversation on our Web site. Go to npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Later in the hour, Farhad Manjoo tells the message from the future will not come on voicemail. But first, Ed Zine and Dr. Michael Jenike join us from a studio at member station WGBH in Boston. Their book is called "Life in Rewind." And gentlemen, welcome to the program.

Dr. MICHAEL JENIKE (OCD Specialist; Co-Author, "Life in Rewind"): Thank you.

Mr. ED ZINE (Co-Author, "Life in Rewind"): Thank you.

CONAN: And Ed Zine, tell us who you were before the disease became so severe. It was triggered, in fact, by a childhood event, no?

Mr. ZINE: Yes. Me, at the age of 11, seeing my mother pass away in front of me. I think it's funny, through the process of even doing this more, I can have a better understanding that - I find now that it's more than just that. It was more multiple traumas - at the age of 11, seeing my mother pass away in front of me. Then my grandmother came to live with me. In 89, she passed. In 91, my Uncle Tommy, and December 15th - my mother was December 19th. December 15th was my Uncle Tommy. And then in 92, when I went down to Clemson, that's when I say the first time I noticed it because I think it was slowly progressing towards the fact that unless you get closure of something - I never really got closure to, you know, dealing with that. And passing away is kind of like just shuffled underneath the rug.

And from 92 on - then 95, my Doberman Zeus passed away in front me. I think that kind of triggered off more of my mother, seeing him go that way. And then 96, you know, I got taken to - and it's in the book, when I read it, about Pembroke, where those - my family, you have to understand, I love my family and they love me and they wanted to do everything in their power to help me. But I guess in a time when they didn't understand, they thought Pembroke would be the best place. And as you can understand, that…

CONAN: A psychiatric institution. Yeah.

Mr. ZINE: Yes. And it wasn't - just because you have OCD doesn't mean you're a threat to yourself or those around you. For me, mine stems with seeing my mom pass away in front of me. And unless, I say, you've got the two C's, which is closure to the problem and the coping skills so you don't regress, your body creates something to kind of deal with it in a way, like a coping mechanism. And that's OCD kind of - as irrational as it is, OCD is a way to kind of make you, like, a safety blanket to deal with it. And…

CONAN: And you mentioned you noticed it first when you were down at Clemson, where you wanted to go to college. And how did it manifest itself? How did you suddenly get outside yourself enough to notice that this wasn't an eccentricity, this wasn't a tick? This was something serious?

Mr. ZINE: I remember coming to a path, and I sat there for hours. And I couldn't figure out why can I not move forward? Why am I stuck? And then a thought of, I think the fear of if I went one way, something would happen to my father. And as illogical as it is, I understand. See, one thing you have to understand. I don't ever, for one minute, believe that I could control time. But this is a safety, a security blanket, sort of, if you will, to deal with a thought that pops up. It kind of - OCD makes you, with rituals and superstitions, kind of deal with it.

So, for me, I sat there hours on end, and I couldn't figure out if I went this way, something bad would happen to my father. Then I said, no, go this way. Now something would - bad happen going that way. So then I just - I couldn't figure out. And then a couple hours later, I ended up going. But that's when it sort of became clear in my mind that something's gone awry. I can't figure out why. And I think it's more fearing the unknown and passing. And I'm going to say something that I've been saying in the past week, which I haven't been saying for a long time, and I'll do it here, is death. I actually said the word, and it has no power over me.

CONAN: Dr. Jenike, death was a word that, well, Ed could not utter and could not bear to be - hear spoken.

Dr. JENIKE: Yes. If the word death came out in a conversation, it had to be repeated. And that would somehow neutralize the power that it had over him. And I conceptualized Ed as having a post-traumatic stress issue from his mother passing and the other deaths in his life, and then developing or having OCD that got exacerbated or worsened by this trauma. And then he developed a number of rituals, was actually paralyzed - couldn't wash, couldn't shower, hadn't brushed his teeth in over a year. I mean, he was kind of living in a basement in utter filth.

CONAN: And it was interesting to me to read the book - first of all, to understand, I think, for the first time, everybody's OCD manifests differently. And another point that was made in the book, Dr. Jenike, is that, indeed, as -yeah. It seems crazy that somebody like Ed could think he could, well, stop time and prevent death, thereby protecting the people he loved by reversing all those things that he'd done as part of his ritual, but that he didn't necessarily believe that at the time, that in way, the intelligent mind is a prisoner of the OCD.

Dr. JENIKE: Yeah. That's actually a very, very good way to put it. It's almost like the rational mind is still there, but you have a feeling that you have to do these things or there's great danger that his father might die if he didn't walk up and down the stairs over 16,000 times forward and backwards. His brain tells him that he won't die, that it's not true. But the feeling is so powerful that he really had to give in to the feeling. And the problem with OCD for most people is there's a disconnect between what we know and what we feel, and we generally - people go with what they feel.

And if you're a afraid that something will happen if you don't do something, then you're likely to do that ritual over and over again. It's almost like superstition gone awry. If you, you know, if you go to a meeting or something and you wear a particular tie and one day you forget it, it can make some people very, very anxious. But if you had OCD, they actually wouldn't be able to go forward. They would have to go get that tie and do the regular rituals that they did so they'd be able to perform.

CONAN: And Ed Zine, as you watched yourself in this condition that Dr. Jenike was describing, not only were you trapped by these rituals, there must have been an element of self loathing in there.

Mr. ZINE: What does mean, if you could explain?

CONAN: You hated yourself for being in the situation you were.

Mr. ZINE: No. I just - I was sad that I could see that I lost a quality of life that I can look back now and say I lost pretty much all of my 20s. And, you know, for me, you have to understand. At a point, in my lowest point in my life, that I always remained happy and I didn't want - even though I was going through the pain that I was going through I didn't the others around me to feel it doesn't mean you're in denial, just, I didn't want people to feel that pain that I was going through. And so I tried to, you know, lessen their pain by trying to, you know, be smiling and happy. Although I may live like that doesn't mean that you have to feel that, because that would be selfish. And when I first saw - I hope I'm not going off the track, here.

CONAN: Oh, no.

Mr. ZINE: When I first met Big M through a lot of things, through Pembroke, you know, that situation put a lot of…

Dr. JENIKE: I'm Big M.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ZINE: Big M is Big Brother Mike, I call - used to be Dr. J because he's good at basketball. Now he's graduated to Big M, Big Brother Mike for me.

Dr. JENIKE: Ed, by the way, is much bigger than me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ZINE: And the first time that I met Big M was that he was somebody that I believed in. And what I say is believing in somebody, trusting someone when they say trust you means go solely by what they say. Believing in someone, they have respect for you to allow you to make that well-informed decision. And for me, meeting Big M, because of what happened with Pembroke is that there was just a lot of - I didn't believe in anything. And I remember when he first walked out, my family walked over. And when you're trying to get help, you want that one-on-one relationship and not feel there's interference, and for me that felt that, you know, Big M walked out of the house, and I saw my family walk up, and I thought that that was going to be something where they were going to sort of run point on it. And he said, I will not betray his trust.

And for me that just meant I could believe in Big M, that there was something for me. And in my lowest points, I mean, I was housebound for over two years, down to 159 pounds, that close to passing away. And in '98 when I saw Big M, you know, cry for me, that was the point when I had had enough of my OCD hurting me and the loved ones. And you know, for me that going through all of this was, you know, it was just very hard for me, and like, I mean, I love my family.

My father, although he - you know, he's very old-school, didn't understand, but he has such a big heart. And to me he's always - he's my hero, and I love him for always making the strides, 'cause his generation didn't understand. He still, to this day, today I have a greater relationship, and I think maybe all the events that have happened have brought out better ways for me to have a better perspective on life. So and - I'm sorry, go ahead.

CONAN: No, I was just going to ask Dr. Jenike, you just in passing, Ed described you crying for him. I don't think that's in the normal practice book of most psychiatrists. This is a story about you, too.

Dr. JENIKE: Yeah, unfortunately it is. I had my doubts whether I wanted any of my story in there and my own particular traumas and war and some of that. But it all sort of hung together. Terry Murphy dug all this out of us and out of me and out him, and he was willing to go forward with his life, his traumas and living there in filth and all kinds of embarrassing things. So I figured maybe I needed to step up to the plate, too.

What happened that time, the crying incident, which I wish you hadn't brought up…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ZINE: (Unintelligible). You have to show the humane…

Dr. JENIKE: We were sitting there. He was sitting there and just in enormous pain. We were looking at each other and it was clear that he was just suffering more than anybody should suffer. And we looked at each other, and we both started to cry. It's kind of a weird thing, but out of that, it turns out that he mustered the strength to honor my hanging in there and figured out a way to get himself better.

So it's an incredible story of how he took that emotion that you're not supposed to show as a doctor, and he used that to get better. So that's the part I think that really sort of hooked me as it's an incredible story.

Mr. ZINE: I think the things that you broke for traditional medicine was - but you know, for me it's funny that humanity now is considered the unconventional medicine, when that was the forefront of what set the tone for it. And now, just treating me as a human being, that was the way that Big M approached me, and sort of the rules that he broke was one, coming for a house visit, when they don't really do that. And two was befriending me.

Because I tried the medicines and tried the therapy, and I talked to Big M more, and I now understand that what I did was not a doctor teaching me behavioral therapy. I used behavioral therapy in my own mind, how to break it down. So I guess you could conceptualize it as that. And for me it was honoring Big M and what he did to want to make the strides.

And for me, what I did was I took my OCD and I broke it down. And if something can be constructed - because everything has a schematic and a blueprint - if it was the fear of - I used to spell it - D-E-A-T-H - death. If death was driving me to do these rituals and compulsions, what I did was I flipped the script, used its own ideology.

CONAN: We have to take a short break, so stay with us.

Mr. ZINE: I'm sorry.

CONAN: "Life in Rewind" is what we're talking about. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Today we're talking about OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, with Ed Zine, who was paralyzed by it. And with Dr. Michael Jenike, who helped him escape from solitary confinement it put him in. And they wrote a book, along with Terry Murphy, called "Life in Rewind: The Story of a Young, Courageous Man who Persevered Over OCD and the Harvard Doctor Who Broke All the Rules to Help Him."

And here's an email we have from Alan(ph) in Cleveland, Ohio. Your guests' description of OCD resonates very much with my own experience of the disease. I, too, have had an obsessive fear of death or harm and felt that my actions could have the power to do something to ward off such harm to myself or others.

I also have had words that I could not bear to hear said. While my disease has not been as severe as the way your guest describes his, it has been a feature of my life for nearly 30 years. Finally as an adult, I began psychiatric treatment and psychotherapy, which has made a huge difference. I am not cured, but I am more functional, and I understand better the power that the disease exerts on me. And Dr. Jenike, I think that's one of the messages you're trying to get out in this book is to reach people who are sufferers of this disease.

Dr. JENIKE: Absolutely. I think that the main reason for doing this is for people to know that no matter how severe the illness is, you can get your life back. Ed was as severe as anybody I've seen, of the thousands of people I've seen since the late '70s, he was as severe as any of them. And he's got a life, a beautiful wife, two beautiful children, working. I think it's remarkable. So everybody can have hope, and for people with mild to moderate OCD, it's often fairly easy to get them better with the treatments that we have today.

CONAN: Diagnoses sometimes not so easy.

Dr. JENIKE: Well, diagnosis, if you know what you're doing, is fairly straightforward in 95 percent of the people. There are some people that are on the fringes of a number of different disorders, and it's always hard to figure out exactly what's going on. They have more than one symptom. But if it's straightforward OCD, making the diagnosis just from talking to somebody is a fairly easy thing to do.

CONAN: Let's get some callers on the line, 800-989-8255. Email is talk@npr.org. Nancy(ph) with us from Cleveland.

NANCY (Caller): Hi. Neal, first of all, I love the show. Huge fan, you're awesome.

CONAN: Oh, thank you.

NANCY: This is my life. When I was 11, my father's father passed away. About three weeks later, my father passed away. About eight months later, my grandfather on my mother's side passed away, when I was 11. So it's - and that feeling of death constantly was looming, and you know, sabotaged me at 26 years old with hand-washing and checking. And then it's been about 12 years and I'm finally leveling out and moving ahead.

CONAN: When you say hand-washing, washing your hands over and over again.

NANCY: Oh, probably 500 times a day, using three bottles of, like, dish-detergent soap every day.

CONAN: And checking? What do you mean by that?

NANCY: Checking constantly, are the doors locked, is the oven off? You know, fire, you know, if there's going to be a fire if I leave or something like that.

CONAN: And Dr. Jenike, again everybody's manifests in different ways, but the hand-washing, that's common.

Dr. JENIKE: Yes, her checking and hand-washing, this is absolutely typical symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder that affects, believe it or not, two to three percent of the world's population. There are millions of people, six, seven million people in the United States alone that suffer from this disorder. And there are - you can get treatment. You can get help, and if people contact me, I can try to find the local caregivers.

There's a national organization called the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation. It's been around, I think, over 25 years now, and they've moved their headquarters to Boston. I can give you the Web site. Shall I go ahead and give you that?

CONAN: Well give it to us, and then we'll put it on our Web site later so people who don't scribble it down quite quickly enough can go to our Web site at npr.org/talk later and get it, but what is it?

Dr. JENIKE: It's very simple: www.ocfoundation - no spaces - ocfoundation.org, O-R-G, and you can go there and get all kinds of information. I don't actually even mind giving out my email address, and people can contact me, if you would like, or you can put that on your Web site.

CONAN: We'll put that on the Web site as well, okay?

Dr. JENIKE: Okay.

CONAN: And the Web site you just mentioned is already on our Web site, but Nancy, are you doing better?

NANCY: I am doing much better. I have done some behavioral therapy, and I really, I think the meds do very well for me. So I am, and totally - yes, I am doing very well, I think.

CONAN: And I wonder…

Mr. ZINE: I'm very proud of you. Good job, that's awesome.

NANCY: Thank you so much. Ironically, I have a dog-walking business, which is funny because it's like my own therapy because I'm a germ freak, so…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ZINE: That's perfect.

NANCY: And I do standup comedy. So it's all coming together.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: I was just going to ask, Nancy and Ed, do you guys get to talk to other people with OCD very often?

NANCY: You know what, like the doctor said, it's very easy sometimes for me to see an OCD'er right away because you just know it when you talk to them, and you know that ritual, and you know, you know how the mind works.

CONAN: Ed?

Mr. ZINE: Yeah - no, I really - I mean, I can see certain things in people, but I look and, you know, I understand. Instead of people that look with a very judgmental eye in society, I understand we're all together in this. It's - you know, it's love and the tie that binds us that brings us all together. And I think everybody who has OCD, we all have - you know, understand it's an inner strength, and we can all overcome it. It's just finding and connecting with the right people, like I did with Big M.

You know, you have that right person, a great connection. That's what opens you up to be open-minded to therapies and other things.

Dr. JENIKE: Ed even thinks I have a few quirks. I don't, but he thinks…

Mr. ZINE: Yeah, when you get personal with a subject, I see you try to deflect it. You have your own things. As worldly as you may be, you have a little OCD, and it's a good thing.

CONAN: Nancy, thanks very much. Good luck to you.

NANCY: Thanks so much.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Let's see if we can go next to Rema(ph), Rema with us from Dearborn, Michigan.

REMA (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Hi, Rema.

REMA: I developed OCD after the birth of my second child and I have these cleaning rituals I have to do in my home. I go through about a bottle, like a Costco bottle of Lysol a day, bleaching everything, cleaning everything, folding clothes, refolding clothes, going through drawers. And it's actually putting a strain on my marriage because my husband wants to go out and I can't go out until all these things are done.

CONAN: And are you getting treatment for this?

REMA: I'm currently looking for treatment.

CONAN: And Dr. Jenike, is there anything you could recommend? She's looking for treatment. Obviously that's a step in the right direction.

Dr. JENIKE: Yes. I mean, one thing is contact me directly, and I might know somebody nearby because I've been doing this for 25, 30 years, and I have a collection of people that do this. The other resources, the OC Foundation Web site, you can go there and look under support groups. Find a support group near you, and they're around the whole country - Canada and some overseas. Call the support-group leaders and ask them which caregivers in the local area are best for OCD. That's really one easy way to find somebody.

We now have two residential treatment centers. There's one in Wisconsin, at Rogers Hospital, and there's one that I run at McLean Hospital, just outside of Boston, where people can go for two or three months and get daily, seven-day-a-week, intensive therapy if the OCD is really out of control. And if it's affecting your family, and you can't go out, you really, really need treatment.

If there's nothing local, you may need to consider one of the residential facilities because giving up two or three months of your life to work on this is well worth it if you can leave and have the rest of your life, you know, not controlled by OCD. That really is worth putting in the time. It's just incredible the relief that people feel when they can beat back this disorder.

Mr. ZINE: You know what's a good thing, I think, is that when I was sick, at my lowest point, to have that, it's having a good, like a support group, a good nucleus of loved ones that are around that give a positive energy because that lifts you up and elevates you, makes you not feel that you assign the blame to yourself with OCD. And if you can make OCD a separate entity, that means it's a better way for you to dissect it and break it down, but having support is very key and loved ones. And as hard as it may be, maybe sometimes what seems - I understand my family seemed like they were angry at me. It was in frustration because they just want us to live a good life.

So there's give and take for both of us to - a better way of a road of recovery, as Big M says, for the OC Foundation, Jeff Semansky(ph) and, you know, things like that, so…

CONAN: Rema, I was going to ask. We can hear small children in the background.

REMA: Yeah, that's my youngest. She's six months old.

CONAN: And I could understand certainly adults would get impatient if you're taking up time and not able to get out of the house until you've gone through these rituals. Children sometimes will wait.

REMA: Well, it's funny because with my children, I can break away from it. The power to take care of my children is just above it, but it's just progressively getting worse. And my husband seems to think that I'm irrational because I really do have - if he tells me just let it go, and let's leave, let's go somewhere, I'm thinking about the house the whole time, and I will actually have an emotional breakdown if I can't finish it.

Dr. JENIKE: Can I give - let me give you my email address, and you email me, and I'll try to find someone nearby or go through - it's Jenike, J-E-N-I-K-E, @Comcast, C-O-M-C-A-S-T, .net. And this is what I do. This is why I get 300 emails a day, but I think it's probably the most important thing I do is try and find people, you know, treatment providers.

CONAN: Rema, good luck.

REMA: Thank you.

CONAN: All right, bye-bye. Let's see if we can go next to - this is Jack(ph), Jack from somewhere in Indiana.

JACK (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Go ahead, please.

JACK: I've never called a radio show before. You'll have to forgive me if I sound a little bit stammered. I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, and I grew up on - and we moved to Cape Cod when I was 10. My mother remarried, and when my mother remarried after my father died, I noticed that there was a pattern of almost like a social OCD, where I could not be alone and I had to be around people, and it didn't matter who it was. I had to be around people.

And when I was alone, I would panic. I would have - I would go into fits. I would isolate. I would cry. I had to be around people on a constant basis. And it also came to the point where - it's funny you've mentioned a place - I went to McLean Hospital when I was 19 years old in Belmont. And they kept me there for nearly a month because they found out that I not only had - they didn't call it OCD then, they called it - I had multiple personality disorder, bipolar disorder.

They thought that I had a social anxiety disorder. And they lumped it in to a bunch of things. They gave me a whole mess of medication, and they set me on my way. And over the course of years, it got so bad that I was in relationships I didn't even want to be in.

CONAN: Mm-hmm. Just to be with somebody.

JACK: Right. I had to be around someone.

CONAN: Right.

JACK: And when it came to the point where they were not happy, I did anything I could to please them, literally. And I'm not inflammatoring(ph) the word.

CONAN: Mm-hmm.

JACK: I did anything to please them so that they would not leave me.

CONAN: And, Jack, is this - what's your situation now?

JACK: I live alone. I live in North Central Indiana, and I love it. I actually have a nice apartment, and I enjoy my life. I have spent many years - I'm still going to behavioral psychotherapy. I had a few very great therapists.

One of them was - his name is Tuck(ph). People might know him. He graduated from Harvard University, and he teaches in Wooster and he's a fantastic therapist. He broke the rules, too, and he did home visits. And we went and sat in parks, and we went in restaurants. We never really…

Mr. ZINE: That's awesome.

JACK: …sat often in his office.

CONAN: Hmm.

JACK: And we talked a lot about my - he thought that I might have been a sociopath, but it turned out that it was lumped into other stuff, and then later it was found out that it was OCD. And the real reason why I was calling is my son has OCD.

CONAN: Ah.

JACK: My daughter has a behavioral - she has obsessive compulsive and defiance disorder.

CONAN: Which leads us to ask Dr. Jenike, is there a genetic element to that?

JACK: Exactly. So I believe…

CONAN: Hold on. Let's hear an answer from Dr. Jenike.

JACK: Sure.

DR. JENIKE: Well, first, the symptoms you described aren't the typical kind of things you see with obsessive compulsive disorder, so it may be sort of related. It may be an anxiety disorder. It could be panic. It could be separation anxiety. There's a lot of possibilities. There's not - you didn't describe washing and checking, but you do have some persistent thoughts.

So, the question whether or not there's a genetic component, in many, many families, there is a genetic component. And with Dave Pauls at Mass General Hospital, we just completed a - and actually, researches around the world - a large study, and we will have some more answers on the genetic component of OCD.

But in many families, there is clearly a genetic component. Sometimes there's not. Sometimes it just pops up in one individual, and we don't exactly know why.

So there are probably many ways to get obsessive compulsive disorder. It's probably like pneumonia. Fifty things can cause pneumonia. Maybe there are 50 things that can cause OCD, but genetics is one that's very, very prominent, I think.

CONAN: Jack, thanks very much for the call, and good luck to you and your children.

JACK: Thank you.

CONAN: We're talking about OCD today with Dr. Michael Jenike and Ed Zine, co-authors, along with Terry Murphy, of "Life In Rewind."

You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And Ed, I wanted to ask you, at the end of the book, you write an interesting phrase. You say that OCD is, in some ways, about integrity. Tell us what you mean about that.

Mr. ZINE: I think, though, that has to do more with always trying to do the right thing, I think, and sometimes there's a lot of pressure. Pressure, therefore, creates anxiety. And I think that's when it comes into play.

OCD is a very funny and fickle thing. It uses your traumas, your fears and your experiences against you. And I found that, I guess, the multiple traumas that I never really had closure to, to deal with, if you don't learn to deal with them, they pop out later in life. And sometimes they say, from when you were born to where you were six, somewhere in there is a disconnect.

CONAN: Hmm.

MR. ZINE: And maybe it takes more time to take a look at. Maybe there was a trauma that happened, and then you can better assess it to move on. And for me, the - I have to say the proudest thing is knowing Big M, because in my life, I've seen him seven times. And in those seven times, in the four hours that he took the time, five hours to talk with him, he showed love, compassion and he treated as a human being, and I responded to that. And it was interwoven, and there was honor.

So - and Terry Murphy did a great job of - because I never really got that out of Big M. I understood my stuff, but she got him to open up. And, you know, and then later in life - I don't know if it's okay if I could talk about my wife and just - I want to say to my best friend, Mayada, who has helped me to manage my OCD, to be there, to give me the inner strength on the days when it was the hardest, when I was by myself, to give me that strength.

And to my little girls who are listening now - to Alexandria, who's eight, and Isabella - every time I look into your eyes - I love you girls. You give me the reason to fight every day for daddy. And for you, Mayada, for being a good wife and a good friend to me. And I love you guys.

CONAN: We just have a little over a minute left. But I need to ask you, Ed, do you worry that these thoughts are going to come back, the OCD?

Mr. ZINE: I learned to manage them, because it's love and the tie that binds us. And what I mean by that is having a good support group, a nucleus of people that believe in you.

If somebody shows belief in you, you'll climb mountains for them, because we all have a hero inside of us that's willing to not do for ourselves but to do for others.

And I always say, work with your therapist and, you know, have them treat you right. And that's what I found as the connect. And I apologize for earlier. I'm sorry.

CONAN: Oh, please. Don't apologize, Ed. That - perfectly understandable. Thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it.

Mr. ZINE: Thank you.

CONAN: Ed Zine, co-author with Michael Jenike and Terry Murphy of "Life In Rewind," Also, Michael Jenike was there with us, both from WGBH, member station in Boston, Massachusetts. The subtitle of the book is "The Story of a Young Courageous Man Who Persevered Over OCD and the Harvard Doctor Who Broke All the Rules to Help Him."

Coming up, we're going to be talking with Farhad Manjoo, the technology correspondent for Slate.com about, well, with so many other ways to reach people, is this the end for voice mail?

Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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