When you wake up you don’t normally know much
First thought might be “I need to pee”
Second thought might be “What time is it?”

But what if when you woke up you’re first thought was to blink your eyes three times?
Or to turn and lay a certain direction and angle before you get out of bed because
you’d never want something bad to happen to the people you care about?

If you woke up this way you’d continue on brushing your teeth one, two, maybe three times.
Flipping light switches on and off and not letting the door handle go because you just CAN’T.
You would try to eat.
But if you eat cereal you have to eat in odd numbers or maybe even.
Each cheerio eyeing you making sure you’re counting and when you can’t get an odd number
on your spoon frustration takes you over and you want to quit,
but you don’t.
You try again.
And when you choose your clothes you’d have to change more than once because once just isn’t enough.

You’ll walk outside after turning off the lights.
Then you will lock your door.
After this you will turn around and unlock it again.
Walk back in and make sure you turn off the lights because you just don’t think you turned them off.
And double check the stove because if it’s not off then who knows what will happen.

But after all this you will have to do it once more because that was only two times.
And twice is an even number with one more being three and three is odd and odd is okay.
You’ll either skip every crack on the sidewalk or step on every single one.
You’ll worry if you locked the doors again once you get to school or work.
And all you’ll picture is your house burning or someone breaking in.
That will be all your fault.

And while you’re out trying to live
Just wanting to be normal the thoughts will suffocate you.
Telling you to go back home.
To check again.

You won’t trust people because the thoughts make it all too easy.
The boyfriend/girlfriend you have isn’t cheating but if you don’t turn off the lights they will.
Or if you don’t touch the door handle three times maybe even seven.
Maybe fifteen.
Fifteen sounds good they definitely won’t cheat.

You’re relationship falters because you take too long doing these things.
And then their smile slowly fades because they see who you really are.
Or the number of times you touch the door begins to hold them back, you’re relationship
And you’d want to stop.
You’d want it all to go away the ticks that forced needles into your brain.
The tears that fall down your cheeks because you just can’t fucking remember if you turned off all the lights.


And the doors are they unlocked?
And the stove, if the stove is on.
You’re fucked.

So now tell me what if when you woke up,
you didn’t think “I need to pee”
what if when you woke up,
The obsessive compulsive nightmare took over your body and mind.
What if it’s not who you want to be.
But that’s not your choice because all you are is OCD. 


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741