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Triggered A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Fletcher Wortmann

Thomas Dunne Books




272 Pages



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In this brilliant memoir, Wortmann takes us on an intimate journey across the psychological landscape of OCD, known as the "doubting disorder," as populated by God, girls, and apocalyptic nightmares. Wortmann unflinchingly reveals the elaborate series of psychological rituals he constructs as "preventative measures" to ward off the end times, as well as his learning to cope with intrusive thoughts through Clockwork Orange-like "trigger" therapy.

But even more than this, the author emerges as a preternatural talent as he unfolds a kaleidoscope of culture high and low ranging from his obsessions with David Bowie, X-Men, and Pokemon, to an eclectic education shaped by Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Catholic mysticism, Christian comic books, and the collegiate dating scene at the "People’s Republic of Swarthmore."

Triggered is a pitch-perfect memoir; a touching, triumphantly funny, compulsively readable, and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age tale for Generation Anxiety.


Praise for Triggered

"At times horrifying, at times terribly funny . . . Bravo!"—Janine Latus, New York Times bestselling author of If I Am Missing or Dead

"Jack Kerouac's On the Road for OCD and the 21st century.”—Jonathan Grayson, PhD., author of Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

"Fletcher Wortmann’s memoir, Trigger, is an acid bath of self-revelation and recognition—incisive, sardonic, brutally honest. His defective "better angel" delivers the interior landscape of OCD with rare crystal clarity."—Gregory Frost, Director of Fiction Writing Workshop, Swarthmore College, and author of Shadowbridge

"Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is for anyone who is or knows someone who is suffering from mental illness of any type. It is well-written by a man who could be writing fiction and [makes] you laugh or cry depending on the moment."—Psych Central

"'Consider . . . at any moment, the end of the world could occur . . . [Now] prove, with absolute certainty, that this is not true.' In his grimly funny memoir, Wortmann, an actor and comedy writer, describes the heart-thumping panic that came with his obsessive-compulsive disorder. Only adherence to certain elaborate rituals, he believed, could ward off annihilation. Triggered is key reading for sufferers of this debilitating condition—and for those who want to understand them."—People

"This is a fascinating memoir about mental illness. It is neither maudlin nor whiny, but it portrays a life lived under the weight of a serious disease. What surprised me most about the book was the light tone the author chose to tell his story."—NetGalley

"While the events he describes are universal (high school hell, the first kiss, first love, the crippling workload of Swarthmore academics), the complications arising from his disorder are unique, and portrayed with quirky honesty throughout his memoir."—Swarthmore Phoenix

"Wortmann writes eloquently about his battles with OCD, constructing dense, dramatic prose to convey even the tiniest observations . . . his inspiring victories after successful treatment ring true."—Kirkus Reviews

"This touching and often quite funny memoir chronicles a young life perennially on the verge of emotional or physical collapse. OCD, Wortmann notes, demands things that the world is unable to give, safety and certainty. He writes about his childhood, the social paralysis that plagued him through his high-school and college years, self-loathing and suicidal impulses, and the time spent at McLean Hospital outside of Boston, the famous psychiatric institution that has treated musician James Taylor and mathematician John Nash, among others. He comments about his 'Vicious-and-Spungen-level unhealthy' relationships and the strange symbiotic relationship that he finds between his disorder and Catholicism. Though meant to help anyone who suffers from mental illness, Wortmann’s chronicle is also intended for the rest of us, as it sheds illuminating light on an often misunderstood and quite mysterious condition."—Booklist (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


Some Say the World Will End in Ice

And when the smoke cleared away, and I sought to look upon the earth, I beheld against the background of cold, humorous stars only the dying sun and the pale mournful planets searching for their sister.
—H. P. Lovecraft and Winifred V. Jackson, “The Crawling Chaos”

Unless you or someone close to you has been affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder, or you have taken a course in clinical psychology (I take great satisfaction in the fact that my school’s psychology department no longer considers me “abnormal”),
Read the full excerpt


  • Fletcher Wortmann

  • Fletcher Wortmann has been variously employed as a Writing Instructor, SAT tutor, “Party Associate,” record store clerk, and farm-stand hand. He was born and raised in Winchester, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Philadelphia, where he is working toward his MFA in Creative Writing at Temple University. Wortmann also performs with the New York/Philadelphia-based sketch comedy group the Disappointments. He remains cautiously optimistic.

  • Fletcher Wortmann Cydney Ambrose
    Fletcher Wortmann


    Fletcher Wortmann

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