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

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

by Terry Weible Murphy, Michael A., M.D. Jenike M.D., Edward E. Zine

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“A surprising tale of success by medical science confronted with a nearly insurmountable disorder. Well-rounded, powerful, and inspirational.”

Kirkus Reviews


In the vein of Manic and Girl, Interrupted, and the popular stories of Oliver Sacks, Life in Rewind is the captivating true

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“A surprising tale of success by medical science confronted with a nearly insurmountable disorder. Well-rounded, powerful, and inspirational.”

Kirkus Reviews


In the vein of Manic and Girl, Interrupted, and the popular stories of Oliver Sacks, Life in Rewind is the captivating true story of promising young athlete Ed Zine’s sudden descent into severe mental illness, and the brilliant Harvard doctor, Michael A. Jenike, who broke through the boundaries of traditional medicine to save him. Written by Terry Weible Murphy with Zine and Jenike, Life in Rewind provides a shocking picture of severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the surprising and unorthodox lengths to which a doctor goes to help his patient. The Washington Times calls this, “[An] extraordinary story.” It is that and much more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In her first book, veteran television producer Murphy, mother of an OCD patient, recounts the extraordinary, triumphant tale of Ed Zine, a man so mired in obsessive-compulsive behavior that he was trapped for six years in his squalid basement, compelled to perform an endless series of rituals meant to stop time and the inevitability of death. Jenike, a dedicated psychiatrist with extensive experience, found Zine "as ill as any patient I had ever met." Murphy traces Zine's illness from its roots in childhood trauma (his mother's death from cancer) through its full flower, shortly after high school graduation, when it began to take over his life. Unable to get Zine out of his house, leading OCD expert Jenike made the three-hour trip from his Boston office to Zine's Cape Cod home once a week. The bond between them developed slowly and with difficulty, but ultimately proved deeper than either suspected; after three years, Jenike mistakenly concluded that Zine's case was hopeless and stopped visiting. Zine, of course, would end up surprising them both with a dramatic recovery. A passionate, faithful narrative from a reporter who understands the stakes and the people behind them, this is a fascinating, hopeful read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews
A respected, compassionate psychiatrist unchains a man from the grips of crippling mental disorder. For the past 30 years, co-author Janike (Psychiatry/Harvard Medical School) has dedicated his medical practice to the study of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This should have more than qualified him to manage Zine, a muscular 24-year-old from Cape Cod stricken with a severe case of OCD. But Janike, often criticized by his peers for becoming "overinvolved" (he still makes house calls), considered Zine the greatest challenge of his career. At their first meeting, the young man emerged from a putrid live-in basement strewn with bagged and bottled human waste; he hadn't showered or changed his clothes in more than a year. Zine's condition-"logic gone completely awry"-was rooted in a belief that as each minute moved him toward death, he could effectively retard aging by exercising tiny, precise back and forth "rituals within rituals" that could make getting across a room take seven hours. It took a full year of visits before Zine, a former athlete, would allow Janike into the "organized chaos" of his cellar sanctum. The devastating death of Zine's beloved mother when he was a boy appeared to have exacerbated his condition. Janike, who returned from active service in the Vietnam War with posttraumatic stress disorder, had a "profound depth of compassion" that, while it couldn't "cure" Zine, definitely worked wonders. He progressed from showering for the first time in a year to marrying a local girl, starting a family and moving into a new house. TV correspondent Murphy delivers Zine's story in sympathetic, never mawkish tones, offering not just a fascinating case history but a surprising tale ofsuccess by medical science confronted with a nearly insurmountable disorder. Well-rounded, powerful and inspirational. Boston regional author appearances

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Life in Rewind

Chapter One

Leave No Man Behind

The piece of lint has been missing for nearly a week. Before its sudden disappearance, it lay coupled with the wilted brown leaf on the basement floor near the back door. Its absence is devastating.

Finally, at the end of a long, tedious search, the particle of fluff is discovered, attached to the delicate hind leg of a cricket that has found its way indoors during the rainy season. The exorcism of lint is done with great care, leaving the cricket unharmed. But reconstructing the comfortable universe where the piece of lint once existed with the brittle leaf takes many anguish-filled hours to complete.

Michael Jenike knows nothing of this as he dribbles the basketball and pushes through the sweaty bodies of the other players barreling toward him, their rubber soles squeaking against the gym floor as he defends his turf. The tired, but enthusiastic grunts of grown men meld with the pounding rhythm of the ball slamming against their hands, and briefly, they are able to recapture the carefree satisfaction that belonged to them on the basketball courts of their youth.

After the game, adrenaline still pumping, Michael drops his gym bag into the back of his new BMW-Z3, slides his six-feet, two-inch frame behind the wheel, cranks up some country music, and pushes the speed limit down Route 3 toward Cape Cod where, on this spring day in 1996, his life will intersect with a seemingly impenetrable boundary, and he will be forced to confront pieces of his own painful past.

At the same time, the young man who meticulously extracted the piece of lint from the leg of thecricket sits in the basement of a modest raised-ranch house, in a wooded, middle-class neighborhood on the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He can't get out, and he refuses to let anyone in. The seasons have changed, schoolchildren who board the bus outside his door have been promoted from one grade to the next, and each day, strangers pass by without giving a moment's thought to what's happening behind the closed door at the bottom of the thirteen steps on the side of the quiet house.

Isolated from friends who think he's away at college, he sits on the end of his bed, rocking back and forth, helplessly performing repetitive rituals of forward and backward counting, all multiples of even numbers that stretch well into the tens of thousands. The cable television guide that rolls on the screen in front of him is his only gauge for the time that passes, as he sits with his hands outstretched from his body, fingers spread, locked into position like the claws of an eagle, while his mind rages with the repetitive pounding of a terrible equation that will not let him go.

Time equals Progression, Progression equals Death. This is the mantra that keeps twenty-four-year-old Ed Zine living on the end of a mental tether with invisible strands attached to every muscle, thought, and spoken word. This tether is his safety net, rewinding and erasing every action that would otherwise propel him forward in time. When the rewind is complete, he is given momentary relief from the anxiety of the equation with which he is so preoccupied.

Ed's obsession is logic gone completely awry. Although it's true that the time line of our lives follows this sequence of Time equals Progression, Progression equals Death, few of us ever scrutinize each moment and each movement as a path to our certain end. Surely, such torture would drive us mad. For Ed, who suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, the perpetual rewinding is a ritual; more aptly, a series of rituals within rituals, which temporarily relieves the madness his intrusive thoughts create. Assaulted by this logical, but paralyzing notion, his illogical mind creates a battle that rages within him every second of every day.

Early in the day, Ed began moving from the end of his bed toward the basement door in anticipation of Michael Jenike's arrival. It is a daunting task that takes him nearly seven hours to complete, and all the while he wonders if this is the one person who will release him from this personal hell.

Dr. Michael Jenike is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and one of the world's leading experts in the research and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. He describes OCD as a disorder of "pure suffering," and he brings to its treatment not only an extraordinary scientific mind, but also a profound depth of compassion for his patients. The message from his secretary is simple: a young man is stuck in his basement and needs help. She knows that Michael's already busy schedule doesn't really allow him to take a full day to see a new patient, but she also knows that nothing she says will stop him from going. Someone is trapped, and that's really all Michael needs to know as he pushes his own life clock forward, driving almost three hours to meet his new patient.

After a brief introduction to the Zine family—who are gathered on the front lawn to greet him, amazed that he has come all this way to respond to their call for help—Michael walks slowly up the driveway along the washed-out gray privacy fence as tentatively as he might test the ice of a newly frozen pond. He cannot see his new patient standing inside the basement at the bottom of the steps, but he does hear the instructions being issued through a small six-inch opening in the door. Ed will not allow Michael into the basement, nor will he allow him to walk into the twenty-foot perimeter outside the basement door, which he describes as his "OCD Holy Ground." Before Michael can even breech that perimeter, he is asked to stop.

Michael's goal this day is to simply start by building an alliance with Ed. "A lot of times, when people are stuck, they have all kinds of rituals that they're afraid you're going to interfere with," he says, "so you have to find out what world they're living in, and join it for a while. I wanted to be cautious, listen to what his rules were, and try not to violate them."

Life in Rewind. Copyright © by Terry Murphy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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