‘My Quirks’

I’d always been a worrier,

Imagining the worst…

I’d always had doubts that would hold me back,

And I’d put it all down to ‘my quirks’


I’d always been frightened of fire,

Dreaming vivid, repeated nightmares.

I’d always been worried to ‘give in’ to sleep,

(‘Must stay up! Protect those that I care’)


I’d always been careful to switch-off the plugs,

Double-checking that taps were turned off,

Always been cautious to lock the front door,

‘Just my quirks’ I’d laugh, shrugging them off.


Then affected by key life events,

(And a predisposition too)

Combined with a habit of worrying,

My anxiety steadily grew.


And as time passed; the quirks took over,

‘til they were harmless quirks no more.

In a constant state of panic,

I struggled beyond the front door.


My quirks had me checking the taps, doors and hobs,

Managing risk became solely my job.

Three times I’d check (in sequence) and when that didn’t suffice…

Three cubed made 27...

I’d check things thrice,

then thrice, 

then thrice!


Then my quirks demanded photos,

Upon leaving the house or my car,

Photos of things that I’d only just checked,

So frustrated, I never got far.


But the quirks didn’t stop at compulsions,

They then began hijacking thoughts,

Until I believed that I was a bad person,

Full of doubt, shame; unfounded remorse.


My quirks made me question completely,

Could I actually cause someone harm?

Did I knock down a cyclist whilst driving home?

Have I unwittingly poisoned someone?


What if I’ve put bleach in the kettle?

What if I’ve said something terribly wrong?

What if I’ve passed on an awful disease?

Will people die due to what I have done?


Stuck in a cycle of worry and fear

I gradually started to see,

That those once ‘quirky habits’,

Had evolved into OCD: and compulsions I had managed, now had full control of me.


It was then that I decided, to reach out for some support,

(Though I knew it would be daunting to voice such awful thoughts)

So, I contacted my GP (Still convinced that I was bad)

My Dr was so supportive and relieved I’d reached out when I had.


She suggested a few lifestyle changes to try:

Start with yoga and breathing techniques,

And some meditation to relax.

CBT to help change your thought process;

And medication to quell panic attacks.


Now I’ve accepted OCD is there,

(and to an extent, it always will be)

It’s becoming a smaller part of my life;

‘cause now I know…

Mental illness

does not




By Hayley