An Anxious Girlhood: A Poem of Irrational Fears

As a little girl, I had no idea I was mentally ill. I just thought I was of below average intelligence and different. My mother even saw a patient or two at Mental Health with OCD, never thinking I was one too. I think by at least 8, I knew on some level the frightening thoughts weren’t real, but then I would think, “but what if my fears are real?” Anyway, enjoy and please let me know what you think. I know it isn’t my best effort.



At the age of 3, I look longingly at the sea.

The wet sand is quicksand ready to swallow up me.


At age 6, the devil might come up when I flush.

I learn this truth from a teenager,

and teens are like adults,

they never lie.


At age 7, everything I eat will cause me to choke to death,

and if not that,

I will die of a heart attack.


At age 8, I just know the former owners of  our car were drug dealers

who left their stash hidden inside so we’d go to jail.

The other shoe will somehow drop without fail,

and I’ll be locked up, no bail.

And I am afraid my grandparents will die,

or maybe I’m already dead?

These notions just won’t leave my head.


At age 13, I’m afraid of everyone my own age,

so as a hermit I try to fade away.

I think in unwanted blasphemies and ask myself is red the color of the devil?


At age 14, I worry that thoughts can cause action,

s and if I’m not careful I will cause people and animals  to die.

I’m afraid of men.


At age 15, I think my mom is going to die.

The man she’s dating will kill her somehow I’m sure .

Maybe he’s a rapist, a murderer, or just a bad driver.

I will be left to my grandmother and nothing I ever do will be good enough.

I will be alone.

I’m finally driven into therapy.


At age 17, I’m diagnosed with OCD.

Mom had said I’d one day grow out of worrying,

but no, my worries grew with me.


Submitted to

49 thoughts on “An Anxious Girlhood: A Poem of Irrational Fears

  1. My mom was a constant worrier…often to the point of driving every one around her crazy with it, but no one ever argued the fact that she cared about every one in her life with deep passion and she was loved by many. She passed in October due to cancer but she left as the epitome of a very selfless, loving, and ironed willed individual.
    Perhaps that obsession could be passion for others over self as in my mothers times and that imagination simply misused and always looking for the worse case. Still it is a tragedy to miss so much because of fears maybe that therapy can help you have a little bit of adventure and a new outlook on life.
    From my perspective, fear is only the unknown…I fear nothing which I know and I learn everything there is to learn about that which bothers me…usually it helps or forces me to be cautious of what really matters.And I go through life with this notion when it is our time to go we will go and there is nothing that we can do about that and we have no ability to see the future so we must live every moment the way we want to in order to live a full life. Accomplishments will show others how to truly live as well.Peace be with you!


  2. My sincere condolences over the loss of your mother. She sounds wonderful. Actually, I do worry about other people a lot and will help folks if I can, but I could always do better at it. I should remember about living life to the fullest too.
    Thank you and peace be with you also!


  3. worrying everything growing up,
    it must be hard both on the girl and on her parents,

    hope this is a fiction, very fabulous details and best wishes for you,

    Happy Rally.


    • No, it’s nonfiction unfortunately. It’s the curse of having a wild imagination: I could, can, and still do worry about crazy stuff. Thanks, Jingle!


    • Oh they never have, they’ve always been irrational, stuff I have always had in one way or another. It’s much less now on meds, but still I have trouble with it. Thanks for coming by and I hope you come again. I’m usually not such a drag. 🙂


  4. Wonderful poem. I grew up in a household with a mentally ill, violent mother and suffer(ed) from pretty severe anxiety. I can really relate to some of what you have written…and you have written it well.


    • You’re very sweet , Linda. Thanks! I bet that would cause one some awful anxiety from PTSD. Writing sure is a blessing and you write beautifully.


  5. This is INCREDIBLE!!!!
    It’s like verbal chocolate cake… absolutely amazing and there is never enough of it. But I can completely relate! It hurts when no one believes the things you think are real threats. My family laughs because I still fear the weeping angels.
    I believe in you. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you believe is stupid.
    Thank you for writing this amazing work of art.


  6. Thanks for sharing this very personal and touching piece, Lisa. Strive on, you have been given a challenge, and writing sure will help you overcome it. I look forward to more pieces from you 😉


  7. There is no possible way you are below average Lisa. You have an amazing gift of putting in words the complexities and anguish of OCD. You never cease to amaze me at how you can articulate your thoughts and feelings (warts and all) into works of art. Bravo.


  8. Lisa,
    You succinctly and clearly share what it’s like to live with a serious mental illness. Really well done! I wonder if you’d allow this post to be shared on a mental health site, full attribution and link backs of course. Please let me know.


  9. Great poem here.
    Very well told
    I have similar anxieties, though not so serious.
    Just this obsession about checking that everything is turned off all taps are off all doors and windows are locked.
    Checking about ten or more times before leaving anywhere. lol


    • Dang Arts. Luckily I only go checky if I’m about to leave my mom overnight. Suddenly everything becomes a fire hazard! Hate to hear you have that trouble, but we anxious types write kick ass stuff! Case in point, you and King Zodi! Thank you!!!


  10. This is good, good work. Lisa. I have large respect for your poetry. I expect you’ll always have that imagination, and it’s a gift. Taking real and painful stuff and baking it into bite-size is not easy. (==he bows==)


    • Mikey, you’re my best cheerleader from day 1! Thank you!!!!! I’m wondering whether some of my “memoirs” should be put here, one chapter I fear I can’t coat in sugar and will be too depressing. Usually, I’m very good at adding my own weird wit, but we’ll see. My first 2 chapters were well received here. I think the yucky chapter will be chapter 5. Oh well. The speed I write that will take 3 years before I get to it. I’m still working on my birthday and Christmas posts. Oh the ADD!


  11. I’m looking through tears right now. There . . . I broke all the guy rules and said it. I went to the site and read it, then came here to see it again. Maybe because you’re a great talent, and I have a young daughter, and the world is crazy. Not you, but the world. Always remember that, Lisa.


    • You’re awesome, Dan! I didn’t mean to make anyone sad, but I consider that an extreme compliment. I believe you might be right about the world being nutso. You just got to turn on the news every night.


  12. I thought that I already left a comment here? Maybe I left it and you have to delete it four times before it’ll stick? Jk. I used to feel like I had to touch my finger on the door lock 4 times or it wouldn’t really be locked and someone would break in and steal my moms they way that life stole my dad. I did that stuff till about 29 and then it just went away on its own.

    I love this, it perfectly exemplifies the psychology of it. Fantastic job!!


    • i kept hoping you’d comment. I always want to know what you think, a kindred spirit. I still worry about my mom dying when I’m not around. If I’m gone from home I call my mom once in the morning and once at night just to make sure she isn’t dead. It started getting bad after my grandfather died and i was fine for a while, then my mom started dating my dentist at the time…the first time my mom dated since I was born. I was 15. I’m better now, but not cured for damn sure.


  13. Worry is something with which I am very familiar. I’ve learned to keep it on a shorter leash over the years, and although the specifics of your personal experiences differ somewhat from mine, your poem does a very good job of capturing the essence of the worry-beast.


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