Erwin Roebroeks / Erwin Roebroeks – I Compulse

Erwin Roebroeks – I Compulse

Erwin Roebroeks – I Compulse

Read our sample translation of I Compulse

About the book

From the age of twelve to twenty-two, Erwin Roebroeks finds himself in the grip of obsessions and compulsions. He spends eight hours a day in the shower, drinks soap suds while wearing a surgeon’s scrubs, and cuts his skin open to clean it from the inside.

The medical world initially writes him off: he will never get rid of his severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). And yet, after long-term clinical treatment with the most extreme of therapies, he succeeds in doing what virtually no one does: he is freed from his OCD. He leaves the clinic as if reborn; however, outside he is confronted with the years that he missed. What does the wide world mean for someone who has seen the darkest depths within himself in an isolated clinic? What do friendship and love hold for someone who has known great loneliness?

In I Compulse: Cured of OCD Roebroeks investigates how he could be cured, and what it means to be freed from an affliction that controlled him for so long.

“It is clear from the opening pages that Roebroeks truly has an iron will and a remarkably powerful mind. Sharply, with almost scientific distance and precision, he analyses and dissects himself. That alternates with more lyrical passages on the phenomenon of obsessive compulsive disorder, on which he develops beautiful ideas, contemplations and observations.”
– National daily newspaper Trouw

“There is lots of attention for the background of OCD, the role of emotions, the distinction between nature and nurture, psychological cause or brain disorder, even with the current change of view. This makes it a fascinating book which in fact contains a good deal of theory and is rather less autobiographical than the title might lead one to suspect. The background descriptions and reflections make this book more appealing than purely autobiographical books on OCD.”
– NBD Biblion

“Roebroeks applies his intelligent gaze and magnificent pen to the dissection of his own (disordered) mind, describing how music helped him to survive. (...) An utterly fascinating psychological book which reads like a novel.”
– Psychologie Magazine


Erwin Roebroeks (b. 1969) works as a writer, researcher and curator specialised in music and opera. He studied business communication and comparative arts science. Roebroeks was a critic for the German music magazine Neue Zeitschrift für Musik and wrote programme notes and essays for institutions such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Bavarian State Opera. He created the programmes for various music festivals and was guest curator at La Biennale di Venezia. In 2021 he published I Compulse, on the obsessive compulsive disorder with which he suffered as a young adult and from which he was eventually cured.

© Keke Keukelaar

Additional book information

  • Psychology
  • ISBN 9789403137919
  • Number of pages: 224
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €24,99
  • English sample available