Counting by Fours: An Insight Into my Mind

Updated: Oct 20

It’s not easy to breathe

When every breath I take is in a rhythm

Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe

I count my breaths like my life depends on it

And well, it feels like it actually does

Ocd isn’t some quirk or some joke

Not a phase nor a hoax

Ocd is my life

It consumes my every waking minute

The images are too vivid

The intrusive thoughts trying to make me listen, trying to illicit a response… driving me crazy


Every day is like going in a circle, but no, I hate circles

The sound of it makes me uncomfortable, it feels imperfect, blemished

So no, my life is more like a square

Same on every edge, even, easier for me to bear

The number four gives me peace, gives me satisfaction

It keeps me grounded when i get lost in a distraction

And no, it doesn’t make sense

You don’t need to tell me that

I don’t know why I’m like this, I don’t know why my mind spins…

But it’s not my fault

I have an illness

A diagnosis

And that scares me

It feels like my brain is constantly fighting me, hurting me

That’s not how it should be

My brain is special, sacred, it is capable

It shouldn’t be making me feel incapable


Every night i lie in bed, sitting with immense dread

Thinking of everything that could go wrong tomorrow

Car crash, illness, failure, pain

I need to consider every way that tomorrow could be a horrible day

Car crash, illness, failure, pain

And how do I compensate?

I count

That won’t happen, that won’t happen, that won’t happen, that won’t happen

I say over and over

Trying to slow the thoughts, stop the spiral

But then, I can’t stop the counting

My heart is racing again

The tears are falling again

The fear is rising again


Counting is how I cope

But it became the reason that I broke

Because, I don’t remember a day when I wasn’t counting

A day when I wasn’t drowning in my own thoughts

A day when, I say to myself, count to 16 before she speaks or he will die

1,2,3,4,5… she speaks

I get scared

What have i done

He’s going to die…


The responsibility i put on myself is unbearable

The pressure is just so terrible

I am holding the whole world in my hands

…In my hands, in my hands, in my hands


No one understands

And that’s not anyone’s fault

We don’t talk about this enough

This stuff is tough

We write neatly and say ‘I’m so ocd’

We feel down and say ‘I’m so depressed’

We talk about mental illness like it’s nothing

But it’s not nothing

People are suffering


So please know, you are strong

You are brave for just getting up every day

To live in a world where everyone is lying about how they are feeling

And everyone is concealing that they are scared, they are hurt


So I’m strong, I’m brave just like you

My mind does not have me enslaved

My ocd is my superpower

It has taught me patience, vulnerability and love

It has made me appreciate the people in my life

Appreciate that they are alive

That they are here

Thank you for being here

I only count because I care

Because you all mean so much to me

I’m terrified that you will leave, and i will be empty


So i just breathe… and breathe and breathe and breathe

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