Neil Hilborn – “OCD” (Rustbelt 2013)


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 door yes did I wash my hands yes did I lock the door 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 or 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 a lot of cracks 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. She’d close her eyes and imagine that days and nights were just passing in front of her. Some mornings, I’d start kissing her goodbye but she’d just leave because I was making her late for work. When I stopped at a crack in the sidewalk, she just kept walking. When she said she loved me, her mouth was a straight line. She told me 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 touch her? Love is not a mistake. It’s killing me that she can run away from this and I just 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. 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 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.

100 thoughts on “Neil Hilborn – “OCD” (Rustbelt 2013)

  1. My bf has OCD
    Nothing bad just eating food weird making sure everything in the cabinet is in color order and from largest to smallest.
    My family asks me why I like him so much, well it's simple…
    'Every kiss is prefect, if not he kisses me again'
    'Every hug last for the prefect amount of time'
    'My closet is never messy, and I always know the ketchup is by the mustard sense I know my rainbow'

  2. I felt very uncomfortable watching this which means that the way he performed this very personally poem was spot on. He made me feel his emotions (extremely uncontrollable ones at that). This also reminded me of a quote by Epictetus: “the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have”.

  3. I can't help but break down and cry when i hear, "I leave the door unlocked; I leave the lights on." because i do the same thing now…. hoping she'll just walk back through that door and hold me again

  4. Damn I’ve watched this video many times over the year and I still cry at the end🤦🏼‍♀️

  5. He shattered his four years in college with obsessive compulsive disorder and completely healed after graduation.
    It disappeared after exercising and group life with children in taekwondo. 
    I was treated at Gangnam hospital for 1 million won, but I was very frustrated because it didn't work. 
    OCD was caused by anxiety, deep fear of people, weak links, isolation, and so on.
    And I healed Taekwondo with a sense of stability, a deep trust in people, a strong connection, and a sense of speed.
    I pray for you to achieve the miracle of complete recovery, just like me, with the collective exercise and deep trust in you.

  6. i can’t believe me this is six years old!! neil really did something here, and sometimes i still go back to this because it’s what helped my love for poetry blossom.

  7. "She said love was a mistake,
    but how can it be a mistake when i dont need to wash my hands after i touched her?"

    Beautiful poem

  8. "How can it be a mistake, when i dont have to wash my hands after i touch her?"

    SHOOT ME, IT WOULD HURT LESS.

  9. I completely relate with this man. I suffer from ocd as well, and he hit the nail on the head with this one. I've been listening to this for years. 💕

  10. This is poetry or just some guy with a disorder telling us his life? Don't get me wrong is a cool story but where is the rhythm of the poetry??

  11. People just leaves when they can’t stand your illness. What about me having to live with my illness and her leaving?

  12. I feel like I'm the only one who feels sorry for the lady. He has a mental issue, and must be extremely difficult to have a relationship with someone who needs to do everything ten times. Whys it her fault if hes not what shes looking for? Doesnt she have a right to be happy too?

  13. I come back here so so often. This is my favorite poem since I heared it the first Time and i think I can never live without it.

  14. Hi how are you? your really good at your poetry! I have OCD but for me what I would say very mild, yes I do count and check things and things have there place, and the more I talk about it the more I do it! can you remember the first ever poem you read or liked? keep doing what you do!!

  15. ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  16. So…. Women are like moths?
    If you leave the lights on and the door open, eventually one will wonder into your home?

  17. I watched him live, in Manchester, last year. And it was amazing, I had goosebumps when he did the ‘OCD’ one.

  18. "I can't breath because he only kisses her once, he doesn't care if it's perfect!"
    This was the last push before his words broke my heart.♡

  19. This breaks my heart so bad. What a horrible and soul-crushing feeling it is to be entangled to someone that easily walked away from you.

  20. fuck that had me crying, hope he finds someone who truly loves him and won’t leave for something thats out of his control

  21. Look, I’ve listened to poetry a lot over the years. A LOT. And I keep coming back to this poem, because I believe it is the closest I’ve ever seen a poem come to absolutely perfect. The delivery is unique and fantastic. The topic is incredibly interesting. The flow is so easy. It doesn’t use gimmicks like preaching on social agendas or resorting to extremely controversial messages to draw you in. You’re excited about the skill of the poet and the way he presents things. It’s just a fantastic poem and I hope that they still have this one logged somewhere 100 years from now.

  22. Let me in

    Dusk, I long to reek
    "Not far from home" I plead
    I can't afford joy rides
    Not in this state of mind
    Smeared in the rain,
    Squirming in the shed
    Warmth you can't provide.
    Peaks I'll have to compile
    When tides settle and bad blood dries
    You'll scramble for a good guy
    Cradle of humankind the purest kind…
    My type of kind, aren't I?
    Confound precincts
    Your sheets recall,
    The brothel – a temporary home
    Vanguards will have my head
    Fed to shrubs
    I lay on the stoop, no more secrets,
    I promise I'll get rid of the rug
    Pondered, picking my own pockets
    Penniless
    Your worth is my wealth
    Woodwind hums, sulks
    Deteriorated health
    Emptiest I've ever felt

  23. He's fucking crazy not even gonna cap but I love it😭😭😭 the last 2 lines KILLED me, like damn💔 my heart hurts for this man

  24. I have been diagnosed with ocd but l don’t believe that l have ocd all l think is doctor might have diagnosed it wrong he was listening to me not paying attention towards what l told him
    Or l just made up the whole story so that he ill diagnose me wid ocd l have been to three different doctors to confirm weather l have ocd or not but l still don’t believe it

  25. This is why I don’t want to fall in love. Years later and I’m here again. I recognized my problem with OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression long time ago but never continued to get help. I pushed everybody away bit by bit. But then it’s all apart of growing up. And just when I need everyone the most they’re gone.

  26. How can I wish to love and not to love at the same time. The beauty and the pain of loving someone like he had … at this point in my life I can't even imagine.

  27. my OCD is so severe & hearing the line "how can it be a mistake that I don't have to wash my hands after i touched her?" literally hurts me so bad every time i hear it, because everything in this poem is so fucking real. i don't even have any better words to convey a sliver of what it's like to love someone when i have OCD on top of so many other mental illnesses….but this poem is the closest thing i could describe to how it is for me. i've cried watching this for years because this is too real. this will always be close to my heart.

  28. One day this woman is going to really regret leaving him. I wish so bad I could find someone who loves me as much as he loved her. </3

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