New Book! Begging the Question – Poetry About OCD and Depression

One of my friends has written his first book!
Here is an exerpt:

Are you a poetry lover whose life has been touched by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or depression?

Perhaps you’ve experienced one of these disorders first hand?

Perhaps a friend or loved one has?

Perhaps you’d just like to learn more about these oft-misunderstood phenomena you keep hearing about in the media?

If so, then maybe you’d be interested in my forthcoming poetry book, Begging the Question.

It’s a collection of over 140 poems about OCD and depression. I started writing these poems 4 years ago when I made the shocking discovery that I’d been obliviously living with OCD all of my adult life.

There are also 4 supplemental sections about OCD and depression; my personal journey with these disorders; and a controversial section contending that governments and corporations have manipulated the perception of OCD to make money.

I’m currently adding the finishing touches to the book before publishing it on Amazon as an e-book.

If you’d like to receive an email when the book’s released, then please join my mailing list here!

In the meantime here’s a sneak peek at the cover and a poem from the book that goes with it:



The Devil sits there scheming on his perch,
he weighs up all the angles where I’m weak,
he dangles down his question mark to search,
for places where the meaning feels oblique.

His hound lifts up my skullcap with a hook,
exposing all that’s going on inside,
to let his master get a better look,
so he can see where doubt is best applied.

He plants his rancid seed and it begins,
I pause and place my head inside my hands,
to make propitiations for my sins,
to jump through rings of fire like he commands.

He comes to see me many times a day,
it’s like a holy rite I must perform,
to keep the lies and opposites at bay,
to save the quiet centre of my storm.


    • Thank you very much for your kind comments about the poem Christine. Well, I’ll try and answer your question as succinctly as I can in a message 🙂
      First of all it’s only my contention about the government and corporations – I could be wrong!
      But I believe they deliberately misunderstand OCD and present an apparent “cure” in the form of therapy and SSRI medication which many sufferers’ experience disagrees with. Instead of being cured they end up trapped going back through revolving doors, losing their savings, while being denied whatever welfare money they may have otherwise been able to claim because they’re not taking advantage of this magic cure. And yes, pharmaceutical companies and private healthcare companies make a killing out of the revolving doors too.
      And I do think they over-diagnose too, which muddies the waters, because then a bunch of people who don’t even have OCD pass through those same revolving doors and come out the other side after 5 sessions of therapy saying “Hey – I’m cured!”. It leaves people with severe OCD at a heck of a disadvantage.
      So I hope that sums up the gist of what’s in the book about that. But like I say this is just one man’s opinions. I’m no doctor or psychologist. I don’t have the definitive truth on this, just my experience and opinion.
      Thanks again for your kind comment on the poem Christine.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I agree with you. I believe those practices by the government and Big Pharma are commonplace — not just for OCD but for many diseases and ailments, both physical and psychological. (ADD among children is one such example. An enormous amount of kids are ‘diagnosed’ and over medicated, sometimes causing life long problems.) Thanks for your response 🙂 I am sure the book will be great!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well it’s good to know I’m not alone in that view. Because I’m expecting people to disagree. (if anyone reads the book anyway!)
          I agree about children. They’re just another untapped market in the eyes of corporations whose purpose is making as much money as possible for their shareholders, and not making people better. Therein lies the problem. There are certain things that don’t mix well with profit making business. A worrying trend in the US is pharmaceutical companies trying to persuade people their babies need medicating. It’s not a black and white thing though. I fully acknowledge that there are mental and physical ailments where medication is the most effective treatment. I just think they are way over prescribed for all the wrong reasons.
          Thanks for the vote of confidence Christine. It’s a daunting time!

          Liked by 1 person

        • As someone who has worked closely with ADD for almost 30 years now, Christine, I had to respond to your comment with my experience.

          I PROMISE you that for every single child who is MIS-diagnosed with ADD, I can show you *at least* one individual with life long struggles, repeated academic, job and relationships failure, recreational drug abuse or addiction, and/or juvie or prison records, because of a MISSED diagnosis.

          Personally, I spent 10 frustrating years and a great deal of money in many offices of many types before I finally received the appropriate diagnosis – at 38.

          While over-medication certainly happens — primarily for the same reason: lack of ADD-literacy and the proliferation of misinformation, even among docs charged with making the dx and treating the problem — the number of individuals whose lives FINALLY begin to turn around only after years of fighting to obtain diagnosis and medication (or years of being too afraid to try it) would astound you.

          You would also be surprised at how many individuals are unable to even try medication because the docs anywhere NEAR where they live are afraid to prescribe it or “don’t believe in ADD,” regardless of hundreds of credible, brain-based studies and at least twice as many books written by experts who have worked with ADD for many years, some for their entire careers.

          Don’t believe what you read in the popular press, and please, don’t add to the proliferation of misinformation by passing it on.
          (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
          ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
          “It takes a village to educate a world!”

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well Madelyn, I have to take the grenade here I think cos Christine was really just responding to my comments there.
            I can’t speak about ADD as I’ve only experience of OCD.
            All I can say is that with OCD, sufferers’ experience doesn’t always reflect what apparent experts claim in their books. And some experts don’t agree with each other either. Yet within a given book, cast iron claims are made with great confidence. Some people invest in those claims and end up pursuing something that ultimately doesn’t work. But government/doctors run with this and tout it as a blanket cure. That’s my bone of contention. They never acknowledge the exceptions, the cases where it just doesn’t work. They never acknowledge the need for lifelong medication or the side effects. And that leaves a lot of people out in the cold because the assumption is there was a cure they didn’t take advantage of. It’s just not how they sell it and people who need help lose out as a result. That’s my problem.
            All that said, I’m aware these are contentious issues and my perception could be flawed or wrong. I try to make it clear at the outset in the book that I’m not a qualified commentator and all it amounts to is no more than a layman’s conjecture.
            We all come at these things from a different angle, different life experience, and inevitably we’re all going to form a different opinion on it. I think as long as none of us assume we’ve got the definitive take on things, maybe we can keep open minds and approach a place of better understanding one day. But what I’ve found within the OCD community is that people tend to polarise on issues like this, and tie themselves to a particular book or medication. Then it becomes a pitched battle which all too often descends into intimidation and unpleasantness; which I think is really unfortunate. Because these are still scarcely understood phenomena. I think open minds are required on both sides of the fence.
            Anyway I hope nothing there offended you Madelyn. I know Christine meant well and was just responding to what I’d raised there. Like I said, I’m inclined to agree with her about the pharmaceutical companies and over-diagnosing, but there are definitely disorders and cases where medication is the best treatment too.
            Sorry I wrote a lot there. Thanks.

            Liked by 2 people

          • #1 – SO sorry I called you Steve! I had just replied to a Steve and my fingers took on a life of their own.

            So SHERWYN 🙂 –

            Thanks for the comprehensive response. Never a need to apologize to *me* for that! 🙂 Far from being put off or offended, your comment echoes what I normally hear from the OCD community.

            And you are right, btw, meds haven’t been shown to be particularly effective in your community. Anti-anxiety medications are reported to be helpful for some, since lowered anxiety helps to cope – with the ANXIETY, not with the obsessions or compulsions.

            The biggest problem with so-called “OCD medication” (off-label SSRIs), is that at least a third of the people treated don’t respond to it at all, many get only partial relief, and that those who respond must take it for life or they are right back where they started as the medication leaves their system.

            We seem to be of like minds on more than a few additional points as well :
            1. When meds are available and effective for a particular disorder, not everyone responds in the same manner, a certain percentage ALWAYS fails to respond at all, and ALL substances have side effects (including the non-pharms). Even when side-effects abate or subside after a period, there seems to be little to no empathy for the life of the person taking them meanwhile.

            2. Far too many doctors and shrinks know far too little about the disorders they take good money to treat. Too few keep up with the latest research, which means that far too many “doctors down the street” look to protocols that have long since been “upgraded” or debunked.

            Many sufferers have spent far more time researching and know more about their disorders than these supposed “professionals” – and pros rarely take patient report seriously to anywhere near an appropriate extent, in the mental health field.

            3. Patient report is frequently field-dismissed as some sort of “demon anecdotal” — even when many to most in a particular population report the same thing repeatedly — in favor of too few scientific studies on limited population samples that are barely representative of what many who suffer experience.

            “Correlation does NOT equal causation” is true on BOTH sides of every argument, but we certainly can set sail by metastudy statistics, as long as we keep a firm grip on the rudder and are willing to ride the waves of what we find, patient by patient and demographic assemblage.

            Studies can generally only “indicate” vs. “prove” – and it is a researcher’s JOB to disprove if possible. So, of course, you are always going to have conflicting reports, opinions and theories. MOST of them are going to be misrepresented in the sound-bite popular press. A perfect storm – which leaves us frustrated, suffering, and angry.

            The most promising approach for OCD, from what I’ve read and what I’ve heard, seems to be the 4-step, “rewire your own brain” cognitive approach of research psychiatrist and neuroplasticity expert Jeff Schwartz, author of Brain Lock. ( – no meds, btw.

            Despite the fact that the book has been available for 20 years, and many of his patients (of all ages) rave about him and report continued “remission” of symptoms, too many doctors are still unaware of him or his research, prescribing whatever the latest drug rep says is best.

            Too long already – I’ll stop now.

            What’s your opinion of Schwartz’s approach? If you’ve tried it, how did it work for you?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Well that made me smile. Alas, I’m not a prolific reader. Long story short – OCD got involved with reading in a big way in the early 00s and it became a painful pursuit. I had to stop reading books, watching TV and listening to music with words in. So when I finally discovered I had OCD a the end of 2012, I chose which book to read really carefully as I knew it would be an uphill battle. I read Jeffrey’s book Brainlock and got a heck of a lot out of it. I casually started trying out his approach before the CBT therapy and it stood me in good stead. My journey with therapy has been a strange and technicolor one. Let’s just say my circumstances have not lent themselves well to recovery. But I will say that I was able to make some significant improvements using his approach in conjunction with CBT(ERP). And as somebody who’d been burned by the whole pharmaceutical safari when I was previously misdiagnosed, I really appreciated his view that medication wasn’t a pre-requisite for CBT. This is something I had to defend every single step of the way in my journey through doctors’ surgeries, welfare assessments and therapy. Those guys really try to strong-arm you on medication all the time.
            Also, the four step approach and ERP boil down to the same thing really when you get down to it. So it served as an excellent pre-amble before getting into that with a psychologist. My Pure O OCD had been allowed to progress unchecked for a long time and had got to a pretty severe stage. I didn’t have much hope about turning it around. And while my progress was ultimately derailed by life events, I still surprised myself with the gains I made using those approaches without medication. But I maintain that if you have the kind of OCD I have, it’s a dance you’ll be doing for the rest of your life. And that’s OK, it’s *much* better than what I had before – raw unchecked out of control OCD. But the way the government here talks is like OCD is the same for everyone and there’s a neat cure that always works; and if you don’t take advantage of it, then it obviously means you have a bad attitude and don’t deserve any help. It’s cornering people at the most vulnerable time in their lives and putting them through hell. I’ve spoken to a few people who’ve been burned by that. There have been many suicides here.
            I did try reading another book that was highly recommended on an OCD forum I freqented – Break Free from OCD. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t care for it and in a comedy moment my therapist begged me to stop reading it because she was sick of hearing me moan about it!
            I was really surprised by what you wrote about OCD there. I’ve got to say I agree with it all based on my experience. I just wasn’t expecting to hear it off anyone else really. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my thinking here as I prepare to publish this book. Some days I feel like I’m, alone and I’m going to catch hell!
            So thank you for that response. That’s (ironically) re-assuring in advance of publishing this book.
            Clearly it’s apples and oranges though with these different disorders and I’d be a fool to comment on ADD or other disorders. “Enough rope to hang myself” springs to mind – ha ha ha. So I have to defer to other people on those.
            In (3) I think you’re getting into areas of research and statistical analysis which are sadly above my pay grade unfortunately. I wish I had the smarts to keep up with all of that but I’m a simple soul. But I think I understand about patterns of anecdotal evidence being ignored when it rocks the boat. there are a lot of vested interests in these chains of healthcare and medicine. It pays for them to adopt a certain view and defend it no matter what. It’s a shame. Maybe it’s the best we can hope for in a human world where there will always be money and power structures. It sucks for sufferers though. I wish the people with the disorders were just listened to more.

            Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention, that it took me literally months to get through Brain Lock by Jeffrey Schwarz, much of which was spent in a chair in the alley between my house and the next where no-one could see me! It was an OCD thang! I’ma bit better with the reading now though I still have problems from time to time.

            Well thank you Madelyn – that was an edifying and reassuring response. Much appreciated.


  1. Great cover, Steve, and amazing poem – both in style and content. One of the best and most evocative descriptions of the grip of OCD I have ever read.

    I’m saving the link to this post to add to the Related Content in my next article on Depression (or about comorbid diagnoses). I wish you the BEST with your new book. Kudos for getting it out there.

    Liked by 2 people

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