The Heartbreaking Love Poem from a Man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The Heartbreaking Love Poem from a Man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Raquel Aldana

Written and verified by the psychologist Raquel Aldana.

Last update: 14 December, 2021

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that manipulates thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. One of the most limiting symptoms of the disorder for those who suffer from OCD is feeling obligated to constantly repeat words, thoughts, or actions to relieve the distress that their reasoning and emotions generate.

But what are these obsessions? They are ideas, thoughts, images, or impulses which are recurring, persistent, or absurd. They are also involuntary or egodystonic (unpleasant or intrusive) by nature. They are not excessive concern about real problems, but fears that arise from anticipated and unlikely problems. They are capable of causing significant distress in spite of the fact that a person is capable of recognizing that these thought processes are a product of their own mind.

In most clinical cases the patient can give up trying to resist the obsession because the struggle to remove it from their mind can be exhausting.

The other term involved in the definition of this disorder is “compulsion”. Compulsion can be understood as repetitive behavior that happens in response to an obsession, according to specific rules or in a stereotypical way. It has no end goal, rather it is supposed to produce or prevent certain situations or conditions. This way of “solving” is not rational (shutting and opening the car door x number of times), or if it is, it is clearly a disproportionate solution to a problem (washing your hands x number of times).

Let’s see an example to illustrate the obsession-compulsion duoA person with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be driving when suddenly they think that something bad might happen to their family. They know that this fear is a product of their mind, but they feel the need to bite the car window three times in a row to “prevent anything from happening to them”. This is irrational reasoning; but the compulsive impulse, along with resistance, causes the person to do it. The act in and of itself is not pleasing to her, but it is effective in the moment to reduce her anxiety.

obsessive compulsive disorder

The heartbreaking and emotional poem from a man with OCD

Love and heartbreak are deep feelings that all of us, or nearly all of us, have experienced or would like to experience. Nevertheless, very little is said about how people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder experience love and heartbreak.

In this sense, we think that these feelings make up a basic pillar of human emotional experience. So, if it’s true that there is no way to describe or theorize about such a unique emotional experience, the fact that someone shares their feelings with the world while acknowledging his problem helps us get closer to them and validate their experiences.

It must not be easy for the person with OCD or for the partner. Neil Hilborn makes that clear in his poem. He is a writer and poet with OCD from the United States who wanted to give a voice to what happened in his mind during the process of falling in love. He also talks about what the breakup meant for him and for establishing his daily obsessions and compulsions.

The first time I saw her…
Everything in my head went quiet.
All the tics, 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 fucking talking to her…
But she loved it.
She loved that I had to kiss her goodbye sixteen times or twenty-four times if it was Wednesday.
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 locked the door eighteen times.

I’d always watch her mouth when she talked—
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, and on, and 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.
Some mornings I’d start kissing her goodbye but she’d just leave cause I was
just making her late for work…

When I stopped in front of a crack in the sidewalk, she just kept walking…
When she said she loved me her mouth was a straight line.
She told me that I was taking up too much of her time.

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 touched 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 – 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’s opening a safe.
How she blows out candles—
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.

Author: Neil Hilborn

obsessive compulsive disorder face

How do you live with a person with OCD?

Those who live alongside people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder must understand that the person with the disorder does not control their obsessions and the compulsions. Someone with OCD may or may not be aware that their her thoughts and actions are irrational, but she cannot control them without help.

You should not judge a person with OCD or try to prevent them from carrying out her routines. This can cause increased stress and open up an even bigger wound. You cannot persuade her to think or act differently, it is important to treat her with patience and kindness.

You should not be part of the rituals. Support should be part of the day-to-day, and you shouldn’t hide or allow passive communication styles to stifle understanding and acceptance. Some authors talk about negotiating limits with an OCD sufferer in the following way: “Because I love you, I will not participate in harmful behavior”; “I know it is hard and it might upset you, but it’s better if I do not carry out this ritual for you”; “the doctor told me not to participate, and he knows what he’s talking about, we’ve decided to trust his judgement”.

Lastly, we can’t end this article without highlighting the need to find psychological and psychiatric help specializing in OCD treatment. The person suffering from OCD as well as those around her should receive help from a qualified professional who can help them manage the situation and improve everyday life.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.