Tag Archives: mental health

role reboot

20 Oct

RoleReboot_logo I Am A Woman With A Mental Illness

In the wake of my mother’s death, and in the middle of getting treated for the anxiety and severe OCD that had plagued me since early childhood, I happily accepted my new prescription of anti-everything medication. read more…

My Final Words To My Dying Sister

The night my sister turned 49 my father called to tell me she was throwing up blood. “They think the cancer’s spread to her stomach,” he said.

I hadn’t wished her a happy birthday. We’d barely spoken for nearly 12 years. read more…

love hate

Loving A Bisexual Man

One night, I found some pictures Christian had taken for a professional portfolio. When I asked him about these full-lipped, shirtless young men, he told me he had once considered becoming a photographer. All of his pictures definitely proved his talent with a camera. They also proved he wasn’t very interested in photographing women. Something inside told me things weren’t right. read more…

When You Love Someone Who Loves an Addict

It was no secret Evan would sometimes take too much of everything. He’d fall asleep in restaurants, forget items from the grocery store, but learning your good friend is a heroin addict–well, how do you handle something like that?  read more …

The Day A Gunman Opened Fire At My Son’s School

At 2:15 my home and cell phone rang simultaneously. One robotic voice I heard in my ear, another on my answering machine: “This is an urgent message for all parents of students in the Carlsbad Unified School District. This is not a lockdown exercise.” read more…


about traci foust

9 Dec

“Foust writes like a possessed Lynda Barry” – D.A. Kodelenko, San Diego City Beat Magazine

Traci Foust is the Author of the newly released book Nowhere Near Normal- a Memoir of OCD (Simon and Schuster/Gallery) acclaimed by National Public Radio, the San Diego Union Tribune and Marie Claire. Her work has appeared in several journals including The Nervous Breakdown and the Southern Review.

Her recent short story, The Cruelty of Children, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and will appear in the Fall 2011 issue Echo Ink Review and the Trey Stories Award Series.

She is currently working on her second book Love and Xanax, A cautionary collection of essays on mixing Vicodin with vodka and why dating your psychiatrist isn’t always the best way to get your own prescription pad. She lives in a place where her love of cigarettes and bacon is frowned upon.

review from Sarah Handel- NPR Talk of the Nation (AP)

5 May

Tweeted Review from Sarah Handel- NPR Talk of the Nation

Mar 28 2011
1 note

Nowhere Near Normal, by Traci Foust

I read this book last weekend. First, this is awesome because I was home this weekend, not traveling (a rarity), and I read an entire book. It’s not hard for me to do, in terms of words and page counts, but I’m just never home for a full weekend, with the time to do so. But even on weekends when I do have the time to take a book from cover to cover, I often don’t. Sometimes a book is just a bummer, and finishing it is too much like work.

This is not that book. I have always had a few OCD-ish tendencies, which made Foust’s memoir appeal to me when I pulled it from its mailer envelope at work. But she’s the real deal, and her writing captures that truth with such twisty-turny clarity (it sounds impossible, but in OCD land, it definitely isn’t) that you zip right through the pages. It’s not about watching a freak show, though there are moments that made me gasp with disbelief. It’s about understanding how a child’s mind can go so awry, how thoughts you know aren’t normal — however loaded that word may be — can take over when your brain’s chemistry isn’t enough to correct them.

There’s no happy ending, but Foust impressed me profoundly. She writes beautifully, the kind of prose that you tear through because it’s so seamless, till that one perfect turn of phrase catches you, nearly breathless. Her ability to recall her past is impressive (my own memories of life as say, a second-grader, are shadowy at best). The way she tells the sometimes-horrific stories of her childhood and adolescence is brutal, but you end up believing the stories are both accurate, and important. Recommended.

On sale now wherever books are sold (follow the Amazon link and look inside!)


Seattlest Book Review:

3 May

Book Review: Traci Foust Talks OCD, Family Fun and Burning Eyeballs in Nowhere Near Normal

By Heather Logue on Apr 29, 2011

nowhere.jpg While the majority of California youth were skipping rope and collecting beetles, Traci Foust was scrubbing her hands with Ajax until her skin peeled off, and locking her best friend in a sweltering car, wondering if maybe she would kill her. Yes, these activities are…different, but that is the beauty of Foust’s memoir, Nowhere Near Normal, its utterly distinctive take on childhood. For any of us who have ever turned the car around on the way to work because we’re positive the stove could miraculously have turned itself on (ahem, just once or twice), learning about a girl’s struggle growing up with severe OCD is captivating. The story unfolds with the Foust parents divorcing—the family splitting apart into two locations, and Traci really beginning to struggle with the compulsions and anxieties that make her “abnormal” and drive her family insane. Who needs to unplug all of the appliances every night and lick the electrical sockets? Traci does, because otherwise her family may burn to death in their beds. This frank, strange, and unapologetic logic is what makes Traci a likable (though complicated) narrator. The story leads us through her increasingly complex relationships with her mother and sister, and through the haze of their cigarette smoke we see how lonely it is to be such a different kind of girl. The glance at various approaches to child psychology also intrigues—especially when seeing which professional methods actually have any affect on Traci’s recovery.
As Traci continues to grow up the story electrifies with things at a breaking point with her newly, and zealously, religious mother—culminating in Traci’s impromptu trip to Santa Cruz, a land of sex, drugs, and poetry. Though she eventually returns home, Traci still feels lost, and when Part Three of the memoir opens with news of her mother’s death (a subject touched upon much too briefly)…things seems bleak. The lack of emphasis on her family connectivity towards the end of the book is my only complaint—it feels a little insufficient in contrast to the palpable emotions early on.
But Nowhere Near Normal does inspire in the end, with a conclusion as distinctive as the entertaining and hilarious voice that has been leading us on this trip. Foust has a knack for making you love her, even if her character isn’t always likeable, and even a description of how her great-grandmother tried to burn her own eyeballs with matches is somehow lyrical.
As Edgar Allen Poe (her favorite poet growing up) once wrote, “From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were; I have not seen as others saw; I could not bring my passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken my sorrow; I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone; And all I loved, I loved alone.”
And really, I couldn’t sum it up any better.

On Sale Now Anywhere Books are Sold (or click on the Amazon Link)


there are some things God can’t handle- OCD may be one of them

22 Apr

A mess like this is kind of a talent

Thomas Beller “The Mints from Frank E. Campbell”

A peek at my new book (Simon and Schuster, Spring 2011)

God didn’t stop my dreams about fire. Just like he didn’t stop me from crying and making a big thing in front of everyone on the first day I left my mother’s house. The night before I put my suitcase and backpack and typewriter into the back of my dad’s truck, I dreamed about my mother in flames. Jesus was in the dream, too. He was on the cross in his underwear and wore a crown of metal spikes like the kind you use to stop a beast from entering a pretty garden. Blood ran down his cheeks and I could see my mom crouched underneath him. When the blood touched her skin it sizzled. Holes  like empty eye sockets covered her face.

I don’t remember doing a thing to help the situation out.

My heartbeat tugged at the jugulars in my neck like a caught fish. I awoke to my own quick voice, “You leave and you’ll die.” I couldn’t stop shaking. Blue digital numbers blinked 3:15, Amityville Horror time. Without a second thought about it, I walked to the kitchen, sifted through my mother’s purse and stole one of her halcyon pills. Sniffing it first, I broke a tiny piece off between my two front teeth and chewed it quickly. On the walk back to my bedroom I felt sick and dizzy, but that was just me turning the pictures of my head into something you have to purchase tickets for before you can watch.

Nothing really happened except that when I fell back asleep an opening as white as the first time breathing was the only thing behind my eyes. My mother was no longer caught in fire and blood. Jesus was gone.

I was grateful for that.

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