Being locked in a small space one cannot get out of is probably number one on most people’s worst nightmare list. I imagine that it is not so much the small space that causes this fear. Rather, it is the mental anguish of knowing one cannot get out and will eventually have to face death in there — alone. How long will it take? What will happen to my mind? Will I lose it and become insane?
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 is a horrific yet hopeful tale of twenty-four-year-old Ed Zine who has progressively uncoupled from reality into his bizarre world of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The fanatical commands within Ed’s brain are so urgent that he cannot perform even the simplest act such as washing his hands without first completing a host of unreasonably repetitious rituals. But Ed is intelligent. He is not insane; Ed’s will power, possibly due to lack of serotonin, is practically non-existent.
As an eleven-year-old, Ed loved his mother more than any earthly being. He was fond of his father but in a very distant way, because the man was unreasonably harsh when meting out physical punishment. After being beaten by his father one night, Ed sulked off to the safety of his room and tried to sleep. He heard loud groans coming from his mother’s room down the hall. Ed’s beloved mother lay dying of cancer. Creeping in the shadows to stand by her door, he saw and heard her “hiss” out her last breath. Fearing his father, the eleven-year-old went back to his room — in silence.
In Life in Rewind, Ed grows terrified of death. It will never claim him. No, not like it claimed his dearest mother. He would rewind life; one week, one day, one hour, one second at a time. Life in Rewind shows how Ed’s resistance to time progression literally brought his life to a complete halt. Caught in the grip of minor OCD rituals left him spiraling downward into a chaotic mental abyss. He became a prisoner in his own basement where for every active forward step he would ritualistically reverse himself. Bathing became impossible; eating became impossible; even normal toileting stopped because all those actions involved time passage, and that progression ended in death.