Fly Fishing for Sharks is a memoir that examines Andrew Alexander’s experiences with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He had a clinically severe case that encompassed many of the symptom profiles associated with OCD. His memoir deals extensively with the pernicious effects of religion on his mental health and explores the unique link between OCD and Depression. It also deals with suicide, sexuality and the broader issue of society’s treatment of the mentally ill.
His story is set mainly in southern Africa, in South Africa as well as Zimbabwe, which began to disintegrate just about when his own mental health did. The story, despite its serious nature, is also at times humorous.
Few books have explored the nightmare that is OCD in such depth. Written by a man who has been there and lived to tell the tale, Fly Fishing for Sharks is meant to help the thousands of people each year who fall prey to this disease and is sure to be a classic memoir on the subject.
About the Author
Andrew was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1976 but grew up in Zimbabwe to which his parents emigrated after independence in 1980. He was a promising scholar, a reasonable athlete and a well adjusted young adult until Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder’s (OCD) insidious onset started to affect his functionality and eventually render him almost completely housebound. From diagnosis in 1995 after the illness forced his withdrawal from university in Cape Town, through major depression, suicide attempts, psychiatric hospitals and electro-convulsive therapy, OCD has led Andrew on a path that he would never have chosen. At the lowest point in his life, with 10 stitches in each wrist, Andrew had nothing left but a story to tell – a story that helped him salvage something from his lost years and which he hopes will help other OCD sufferers by, if nothing else, offering the solace that comes from knowing that others like you are out there. Andrew now lives in Cape Town, two minutes walk from the same beach on which he took his first steps sometime in 1977.