We all have our irrational fears, tics and anxieties. We don’t all feel trapped in a mental prison, destined to a life spent looping through our brain’s darkest film reels. That’s the difference between the average brain and a brain with OCD, and it’s a difference Jen Epstein illuminates vividly and with a surprising degree of humor in her memoir, “Don’t Get Too Excited: It’s Just About a Pair of Shoes and Other Laments From My Life,” on sale now from Green Writers Press.
Despite being an intuitive and highly verbal child, Epstein struggled to meet normal benchmarks. She was too busy worrying that she’d choke on her own uvula or that she’d be electrocuted by wires to learn how to tie her shoes or catch a ball. After she was diagnosed with learning disabilities her self-esteem took a hit, and by her teenaged years, her persistent anxiety snowballed into full blown OCD. In “Don’t Get Too Excited,” Epstein takes an unflinching look at how the disorder has shaped her life, holding up her own inner demons with a style that’s at times heartbreaking and at times hilarious.
Jen Epstein is a writer and documentary filmmaker living in Brooklyn. She holds an MA in media studies from the New School and completed a documentary arts fellowship at UnionDocs in Brooklyn. “Don’t Get Too Excited” is her first book.