OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Mental Health, Poem, Arts and Culture, Media, SLAM Poem, Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness, Neil Hilborn

OCD by Neil Hilborn

Featured on the popular poetry Youtube channel Button Poetry, is a popular poem written by Neil Hilborn describing his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). For those of you who have also shared in his pain this poem is extremely impactful. But regardless, his words perfectly describe the pain and push/pull reality those with OCD can go through. Whether you read the poem or hear the pain in his voice through the video, you can feel the emotion in each word. The poem reads:

‘The first time I saw her,

Everything in my head went quiet.

All the ticks, all the constantly refreshing images just disappeared.

When you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you don’t really get quiet moments.

Even in bed, I’m thinking:

Did I lock the doors? Yes.

Did I wash my hands? Yes.

Did I lock the doors? Yes.

Did I wash my hands? Yes.

But when I saw her, the only thing I could think about was the hairpin curve of her lips.

Or the eyelash on her cheek—

the eyelash on her cheek—

the eyelash on her cheek.

I knew I had to talk to her.

I asked her out six times in thirty seconds.

She said yes after the third one, but none of them felt right, so I had to keep going.

On our first date, I spent more time organizing my meal by color than I did eating it, or talking to her.

But she loved it.

She loved that I had to kiss her goodbye sixteen times or twenty-four times at different times of the day.

She loved that it took me forever to walk home because there are lots of cracks on our sidewalk.

When we moved in together, she said she felt safe, like no one would ever rob us because I definitely lock the door eighteen times.

I’d always watch her mouth when she talked—

when she talked—

when she talked—

when she talked;

when she said she loved me, her mouth would curl up at the edges.

At night, she’d lay in bed and watch me turn all the lights off.

And on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off.

She’d close her eyes and imagine that the days and nights were passing in front of her.

But then.

She said I was taking up too much of her time.

That I couldn’t kiss her goodbye so much because I was making her late for work.

When she said she loved me, her mouth was a straight line. When I stopped in front of a crack in the sidewalk, she just kept walking.

And last week she started sleeping at her mother’s place.

She told me that she shouldn’t have let me get so attached to her; that this whole thing was a mistake, but.

How can it be a mistake that I don’t have to wash my hands after I touch her?

Love is not a mistake, and it’s killing me that she can run away from this and I just can’t.

I can’t go out and find someone new because I always think of her.

Usually, when I obsess over things, I see germs sneaking into my skin.

I see myself crushed by an endless succession of cars.

And she was the first beautiful thing I ever got stuck on.

I want to wake up every morning thinking about the way she holds her steering wheel.

How she turns shower knobs like she opening a safe.

How she blows out candles—

blows out candles—

blows out candles—

blows out candles—

blows out—

Now, I just think about who else is kissing her.

I can’t breathe because he only kisses her once –

He doesn’t care if it’s perfect!

I want her back so bad,

I leave the door unlocked.

I leave the lights on.”

Image Credits:
Feature Image: Annie Spratt, On Unsplash. Creative Commons.