They don’t know…
What it feels like to be inside my head
To run with the thoughts and fears
That whiz through my brain
To worry about what others will think
Because I’m not
Or what people conceive as normal.

They don’t know
How hard I try to appear normal,
To show that everything is ok
Because if it’s not
What will they think?

They don’t realize
The panic that ensues in different situations.
That some days the anxiety gets so bad
That I can hardly
That I get so scared and worked up that I start to
That I can’t always control these emotions that fly
Through my head day in and day out.

Everyone thinks that since everything
Appears ok on the outside;
It must be ok on the
Nobody sees the battle on the inside
Where all I want to do is scream and try
To break free.

Nobody sees that I’m slowly dying from
What I’ve done to myself.
That this behavior is silently killing me.
That I’m trapped behind my fears and anxieties.

Nobody sees the panic that ensues when
I go somewhere new and don’t know what to
Or how to react to the fear of what could hurt me.

Nobody sees the panic that comes
When I screw up or make a mistake;
This silent inward battle that is slowly killing me.

They don’t know how much energy it takes
To appear normal.
How drained I am by the end of the day just from
Trying to keep this act up;
That everything’s ok and I have it together.

They don’t know
How scared I am that if I let them know
What’s really wrong,
They won’t believe me; that they’ll think
I’m looking for attention or worse yet, making it up.

They don’t see
Everything underneath and that when they tell me
To try to stop what I’m doing to myself
Is like telling me to push myself off a cliff.
I could no more stop what I’m doing so much as
I could jump off a cliff.

They don’t realize
That I’m trying to stop,
That I’m trying to be ok and normal
So I don’t embarrass them,
So I don’t have to explain why I can’t do certain things.
So I don’t have family look down on me in

They don’t hear
How fast my brain goes and the millions
Of thoughts that fly through in just an hour.
They don’t hear
The fears that something bad will happen to me
If I don’t wash my hands or if I touch that chair
Or if I touch a doorknob.

They don’t hear all of these thoughts and terrors
That go through my brain.

They don’t realize that I have
This intense fear that I am slowly losing my
That I may in fact be crazy.
That I can’t just turn off my OCD;
That there is no on and off switch for my OCD,
And that I didn’t ask for this.

They don’t see how hard I try,
They just see the parts that I fail at.
They comment on my hands and how they look;
But they don’t know that
I already know how my hands look and how bad
They hurt.
That every night I want to cry because
I know the damage I am doing to them.
And that they hurt so badly I can hardly stand it.

They make fun and don’t realize
How badly it hurts;
That it just reinforces the fact that I am crazy
And that how I do things is crazy.

That there is something mentally and physically wrong with me,
They don’t get that I can’t just stop what’s happening,
That I feel that if I stop doing something then something bad will happen
To me, or to others.
That as hard as I try, in my head something is wrong if I don’t complete my rituals.

They don’t understand
That it’s not just a need to wash my hands, but
To try and protect myself from other bad things that
Could hurt me, or that I could bring home with me.
That I try so hard
To protect myself and others.

They don’t get that
I’m trying my best and it’s still not good enough
And I don’t know what to do anymore.
That I’m reaching my breaking point and can’t even
Explain it to others because I am so scared of what they will
That I’m terrified of being ostracized for being different from them.

They don’t know
What goes on inside my head,
You don’t know my thoughts or what goes on inside my brain;
Before you speak or judge me think first of how you would feel if
Someone were to say something against you
Or call you

IMG_0244Emily was diagnosed with OCD a year and a half ago. She has struggled with OCD, anxiety, and depression all her life, but was not diagnosed until recently. She is beginning to come to terms with her, anxiety, OCD, depression and ADHD. She wants to be able to help fight the stigma against Mental Illness, and is working with talking to her family about how OCD affects her. Emily is a teacher in an urban elementary school, and loves working with her kids. She wants to be able to make her life and the lives of others around her better, and to be able to help remove the stigma of mental illness. Mental Illness is close to Emily’s heart, as it runs strongly in her family affecting those she loves deeply.  Her hope is to be able to close the stigma surrounding Mental Illness first in her family, and eventually with others in her life and the lives of others.

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