In episode 98 I interviewed Emily Byrnes. Emily is a teacher and poet. Her new book “A strangely wrapped gift” is a collection of poems including some on OCD and mental health.
In this episode I chat with Emily about spreading awareness of OCD through writing, breaking down stigma, CBT (ERP), being persistent in seeking treatment, why finding a CBT therapist who understands OCD is important, investing your time into something positive, getting a support system, why name her book “a strangely wrapped gift”, and Emily explains the meaning behind 4 poems I picked out. Enjoy!
To listen on iTunes click the button, or go to iTunes and search “The OCD Stories“. If you enjoy the podcast please subscribe and leave a review. It helps us reach more people who need to hear these remarkable stories of recovery!
You can also listen on Android and over devices through most podcast apps, such as Stitcher.
As an OCD sufferer myself, it’s only really gotten to this point of overly obsessive and compulsive behaviour in the past two years. I realised it was OCD last year, after constantly beating myself up about being obsessed with embarrassing things. I experienced very mild OCD when young, with “do this or that would happen”, but it faded and I never really took notice. It’s only when it took the form of disturbing and distressing thoughts did I realise something wasn’t right. Even though the thoughts didn’t instigate any compulsions at first, the compulsions eventually became a way of relieving the distress brought on by these thoughts. And as you know I’m sure, as soon as I thought I was over something, the OCD has already jumped to another part of my life. For one period I didn’t want to sit on the tube, the next period I couldn’t get out of bed because I couldn’t rid a thought. Often the thoughts are hard to shake because they make me doubt my beliefs. Which is the hardest part to overcome.
Over the past 2 weeks I discovered The OCD stories on the podcast app, and it’s changed my life. I can’t even list the positive messages here as there are so many. The guests who share their experiences – from onset to recovery – really have brought this way of life into perspective. For some time now, to get my mind away from thoughts and compulsions I have written poems at times that my mind would usually wander (the underground, buses, a queue etc). They’re really true to what I go through, and now I know what many OCD sufferers go through as well. Sometimes there’s a light, and then there’s a slump. But it’s all about focusing on long term recovery. While small steps to start with are hard, the most powerful thing is to know that beneath all the OCD malarkey I know who I am and what I believe in. It’s then up to me to use that power and stop the compulsions.
never feel ashamed of ‘the cards you have been dealt.
Will I ever be alone? Imagine you are sat all alone in the park, You look around and see daylight but in your head it’s still dark. A guy sits beside you and begins to shout in your ear, He shouts and he screams words you don’t want to hear. Why is he now telling me to repeat things that I’ve done? I try so hard to fight him but I perform and he’s won. His voice slowly fades; once again I’m all alone, However now I’m a little scared to be in this world on my own. How can I speak out on this secret never shared? For this story I have to tell no-one can ever be prepared. I open my mouth to try and shout for help from my friends, But he comes back to sit beside me and his identity he defends. He tells me I’m crazy, I believe his flowing words, I will never be alone and once again I feel the hurt.
My book is titled ‘Me and My Bully’ and it offers an insight into my journey with ADHD, OCD and Self-harm.
I am a 30 year old female and I began treatment in 2008 at the beginning of my FE teaching career. I was frequently becoming overwhelmed with day to day life and at the time I was unaware that I had ADHD and OCD. When receiving support it was suggested that I put my thoughts onto paper as verbalising them was far too difficult; as a result writing became a much needed outlet. Over the years my conditions began spiralling downwards, the self-harm started and the worse things became the more I would write. Now, 7 years on, I have reached a point in my life where the conditions have become manageable, they still exist but at a level that is bearable… most of the time! Now, I wish to share my story in the hope that I can inspire others to dig deep, continue their fight and to never feel ashamed of ‘the cards they have been dealt.’