How Did I Miss This? - Poems

FT shares poetry as an extension to her article.

Written by FT

How Did I Miss This? - Poems

01 “I hope this doesn’t scare you?” is the first thing I wrote and sent to my boyfriend after finding out I had OCD.

02 “Diagnosis” is the unrelenting back and forth feeling of having the certainty of a diagnosis, but questioning its validity.

03 “Don’t let it out” is the battle that ensues when you have an intrusive thought that you want to keep hidden, while also having the urge to confess something in the hope it will relieve your sense of dread.

04 “Maybe you just need a holiday” demonstrates the relentless presence of OCD during the experiences you look forward to most, consequently cloaking their memory in a sticky OCD residue.

To read FT's article, click here.


I hope this doesn’t scare you?

I thought for years I was just weak

That my brain was too soft

That my heart was too fragile

That others could withstand this life and flourish

While I would fall at hurdles so small and diminish


Down, dreary and demotivated

And anxiety

You overthink

You’re creating a problem that’s not there

You’re just being a worrier, you have always worried

Were familiar terms

But there were three little letters that had been in front of me all along

But I had never considered

But now looking back

At the unstoppable loops

The confusion

How I experienced one thing but my thoughts spoke of another

Is this right?

Am I right?

Have I done something wrong?

Let me check

You’re fine

Don’t worry

But what if…

Peace would elude me and misery felt inevitable

No matter what progress I made I could suddenly trip into a spinning hole

Are you being honest?

Are you being true?

Are you sure?

It’s your responsibility to know.





The doubting disease

There you were all along

Before it was

Your mum is trying to kill you

Don’t trust her

Make sure the door is locked

Red means danger, blood and death

Make it your favourite colour

So it can’t harm you

Knock the light against the wall 4 times

4 4 4 4

It always has to be 4

It can be split in half and it still won’t be alone

3 is dangerous

3 is lonely

3 is your family

And now it is

He will leave you

He will cheat on you

Can you blame him?

He wants to stay, he loves you, don’t worry but…

Do you love him?

Are you sure?

Is this right?

Do you love him enough?

Are you certain?

You’re leading him on

You’re horrible

They look happy

Check how long they have been together

Similar time, they are happy, we can be happy

But are you happy?


Hmm really? Are you happy enough?

I think so

I’m not sure you are

But I love him

Well do you?


I don’t know sounds like you need to get out to me


Well if you loved him you wouldn’t have these thoughts would you

I don’t know, I guess you’re right

Find a picture where he looks handsome

Listen to a song that reminds you of him

Recall every good moment

Remember that holiday

Remember that look

Remember that hug

Remember remember remember


Check how long that couple have been together

Shit when did they break up?

Shit shit shit

Maybe you should break up too


Sounds to me like you do

Sounds to me like you’re not living your truth

Sounds to me like you’re lying to yourself and to him and to everyone else for that matter

Gosh your a monster

Gosh I’m so tired

Gosh your so pathetic, you haven’t even done anything

My brain hurts

You’re just not used to working hard

Yh I guess I’m not

Sounds like you’re weak

Maybe I am

And too soft

I suppose so

And way to fragile

I think I always have been.


What if I’m not right?

What if this isn’t OCD?

It seems right.

It seems to fit.

It explains so much.

And feels like the missing key.

At first I was shocked

Then relieved

And then distraught at the years I’d lost.

I was searching everywhere for an explanation but I was shining the light in the wrong place.

It eluded me.

I just thought I was rotten.


That I could be given the best people on a silver platter

But inevitably I would tear things apart

I would analyse, poke, scratch, look down upon, disregard.

But then just as quickly overwhelming adoration.

And a new vulnerability.

Please don’t leave, I’m sorry, how could I think such horrible things, I don’t deserve you, please, I’m here now, I’m back, please stay.

Everything still.



And then a subtle creeping, a slight draft, a soft whisper.

Dread trickles through my veins.

It slips and slides down my throat, wraps around my stomach and stings.





My last words.

Before I fall.

Silly girl.

I never left.

Don’t let it out

Black and sticky
Heavy and dense
It twists and turns
And refuses to leave
And you can’t let it
Keep it down
Don’t let it gurgle
And crawl up your throat
And percolate
Until it has the strength to infiltrate your mouth
And grab your tongue
Clasp your jaw
Warm your voice box
And pry open your lips

Someone strokes you between the shoulder blades
Sweet encouragement
An offer of comfort
‘It’s okay, just tell me what’s going on.’

Yessssssssssss the oil in your stomach hisses
And starts to boil
Its journey of destruction opening up
Your heart groans
Defeat palpitating through your chest
Maybe if I say it this will all go away
But won’t I lose everything?
Of course
That’s the point
That’s what you deserve.

Maybe you just need a holiday?

I can remember every holiday through the lens of my anxiety.
The volume of the intrusions.
How tight the vice like grip was around my gut:
Budapest started bad but after you smiled in a certain way at an overpriced lunch, your lip slightly up, eyes filled with love, a knot unwound.
Rhodes part 1 was okay.
Rhodes part 2 wasn’t.
In Naples I slapped you but that was more to do with the endless aperols, sorry.
Ireland we loved but you ate a donut very messily and my brain shouted that our relationship was doomed.
Gothenburg was one of the best but I worried someone was hiding behind the air bnb curtains to kill us.
Madrid felt light and safe.
Villa part 1 we had sex on the first day, success I thought but it didn’t happen again, destined couples have sex every day of holiday my mind murmured.
Villa part 2 I was so excited for our first holiday after we finally understood my mind.
It ended with me on the floor unsure how I would ever get up.
I will lose my job I thought.
Who will pay for the villa room as I sit here for the rest of my days?
Palms pressed into my eyes.
Head between my legs.
I imagine I looked like Gollum.
I felt like it.
If I stay still enough I thought, maybe the world can just carry on around me.
I got up.
You were still there.
Still able to love me.
Thank you.
Lets stay home. 

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