An OCD Ode to Love

"On our first date I spent more time organizing my meal by color than I did eating."
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Neil Hilborn has OCD, and he's a slam poet. His love poem "OCD," below, was recorded at a poetry event called Rustbelt in Madison, Wisconsin, in June. In it, Hilborn describes the first woman to become the focus of his obsession, and the good and bad of that.

Today the Internet, namely Reddit, found the video, and apparently it spoke to a lot of people, because suddenly Hilborn had a lot of fans who wanted to thank, congratulate, and know more about him.

Hilborn says the tics "are an intentional performance, but they are also my actual tics. Sometimes in performance they become real."

Other Reddit users sympathized:

As a fellow OCD sufferer, I know all too well how much truth your poem has. That girl who makes you better, and helps all the ticks go away. She's the last thing you think about at night, and the only thing you obsess about. You feel bad for making her go through all your motions, but she does it because she loves you. When she's not there, you get lost in your own thoughts, and that feeling of anxiety and nausea comes back, and you just can't wait to be able to talk to her again to get your mind off of it. For anyone who doesn't understand how awful OCD is and thinks this poem is just a bunch of hyperbole, it's not.

Hilborn also said that the relationship in question did not last. The odds did seem against it. But he's doing well in terms of the OCD symptoms nonetheless, after years of therapy.

Did you think you'd be engaged by hipster slam poetry today?

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James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic.

 
 

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