Writing has helped me break free from OCD. In 1994 my therapist told me to keep a journal. Then he showed me a poem, written by an anonymous person with an anxiety disorder. "I will ask you to write a poem in a couple weeks," he said. I cant write, I thought.
As promised, my therapist asked me to write a poem. and bring it to our next session. It was supposed to be about loving myself. At home, I opened my Bible to Psalm 139:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-11. What better place to be inspired to love? I wrote On Acceptance and Growth . . . Reflections on Psalm 139:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-11.
I guess it was good, because my therapist liked it. "How long did this take you to write?" he asked. "10 minutes," I said.
He was surprised. I let him wonder over it for a while, then told him I was inspired by Paul and David from the Bible. More poems followed. They seemed to flow out of my pain as I struggled with OCD. Perhaps you can relate. As I broke free from OCD, my writing became less poetic. I guess this is good because, though my poems expressed my anguish and struggle, I know they lack whatever it takes to make good poetry. Im no poet. In fact, I dont know enough about poetry to know good poetry when I see it!
Im Not Crazy
By Cherry Pedrick
Her hands are red and raw.
She hides them in her lap or behind her back.
But still, she wonders if theyre really clean.
"I did touch the door knob, not with my hands, of course, with my sleeve.
But now Ive touched my sleeve."
She needs to wash her hands again.
But shes not crazy.
"Dont come in. Well, okay, come in.
But dont look around. Dont judge my house."
He knows he has boxes of paper, magazines,
And newspapers cluttering the rooms.
But he knows where his taxes from 1962 are . . . and the utility bills . . . and the canceled checks.
But hes not crazy.
She walked through the door, but she didnt do
She knows it was the eighth time.
"One more time, Ive got to get it right."
If she doesnt do it right, something may happen to her mother.
But shes not crazy.
My mind wanders when youre talking to me.
When you look at me strangely,
I pull my thoughts together and try to concentrate on your words.
But I cant quite give you my full attention.
My mind is filled with worries and fears I cant seem to release.
But Im not crazy.
Were not crazy, not really.
We know these behaviors and thoughts arent normal,
That theyre irrational.
But we do them anyway.
Do "crazy" people know theyre acting irrational?
No, they act and think with ignorance of their
They dont see your stares or hear your whispers.
They dont hear the other children laugh.
They dont see their families worried faces.
Oh, the bliss of not knowing, of not caring,
Of not longing to stop checking, washing, hoarding,
Ritualizing and worrying.
But of course, we do want to stop,
We do want to be "normal" like you.
We dream of a day without these tortured thoughts.
I will leave my house without worrying about the lock.
And she wont have to go through a door more than once.
His house will be clean and her hands will be healed.
My mind wont be filled with worries and fears.
Its not a dream.
With therapy, medication, prayer and putting my life in Gods hands,
My dream has come true. Well, almost.
I have a few strange behaviors and I still worry at times.
But doesnt everyone?
I remember the stares, the whispers, the worried
faces and the laughs.
Each day, the memories fade a little more.
But I remember so well, the kind support, the gentle encouragement,
And the firm insistence that I resist my temptation
To quit trying and give in to my compulsions.
I remember the times my loved ones laughed with me
When I was finally able to see the humor in my
behavior and thoughts.
They rejoiced in my success, even my small steps toward success.
Most of all, I remember the love and prayers.
They prayed when I couldnt.
They loved me when I couldnt love myself.
I think I speak for many with this strange illness
"Thank you who have supported me and others with OCD.
Without you, our recovery would be slower.
We might not see the need for recovery, we might lose hope."
To those who laugh and stare and whisper to you I say, "Im not crazy."
I Can . . . I Will . . . Replace Those Weeds with
By Cherry Pedrick
Then reach out and replace them with the seeds of
Good thoughts and memories, blessings of today and yesterday.
I could . . . well, I can . . . let them take root in my mind
And grow into dreams and goals, plans and commitments.
I will fill my mind with these so theres no room for anxiety, fears and worries.
I am overwhelmed with fear, though there is nothing
The fear wells up from my heart, filling my entire being.
It takes my breath away and paralyzes my limbs.
My thoughts are consumed with fear and dread day and night.
I am powerless to control it, for it controls me, threatening my life.
To whom can I turn? Where can I find solace?
I will turn to my Lord, who made me and knows me.
I will give Him control of the fear that has controlled me.
Indeed, I have given Him control of my whole life
. . . over and over again . . . then taken it back.
But He is faithful and merciful. He accepts me and understands me.
He takes control of my fears when I release them.
But, Oh its so hard to release them,
Its so hard to trust Him completely,
So hard to give Him control.
I reach out for it, almost capturing that elusive
peace . . . but not quite.
Then it flitters away.
When I look for it, and pursue that peace, it vanishes, no where to be found.
As I give up, resigning myself to a life without peace,
I glimpse a fluttering from afar.
Hope awakens in my soul again and I reach out to touch it.
I run towards it, hoping and reaching, but again, it
I look inward and feel a gentle peace arising from deep in my heart.
It grows stronger, filling me with joy and relief.
I rest in the comfort of this peace and joy.
But it doesnt last, again the peace eludes me.
Love is patient, Love is kind.
I can be patient with myself when I make mistakes,
When I am not perfect.
I can be kind to myself,
Treating myself with dignity, love and understanding.
When I was a child I talked like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
Im an adult now and will put childish ways behind me.
But I know there is still a small child inside me.
That child is scared, vulnerable, anxious and
I will comfort that child, praise her and help her grow into a healthy, mature adult.
I will guide that child to talk, think and reason more and more like an adult.
But that child will not control me,
With my Lords help,
I will control the child and the child will learn and grow by my example.
to Cherry's Website
Click here for information about The OCD Workbook and Cherry's other books!