Grace Thornton 2017 First Place Winner in Grades 4 to 6
4th grade, Eaton Elementary – Mary Clayman – who also won an award in 2017 for excellence in teaching
Bobby and I don’t get along.
He’s not the nicest of dragons. He makes me uncomfortable. He makes me do things I don’t want to do, and think disturbing things.
But I can’t get rid of him. Because he’s part of me, and I can’t change that.
This is the story of Bobby and me. But it’s also the story of lots of other children, and I hope it helps them take back control of their minds. This is the story of us.
I’ve probably left you completely confused. We all know dragons are fantasy. Bobby is not a real dragon. He represents obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD. This is about my life with Bobby, and with OCD, which is a form of anxiety.
Bobby is the voice in my mind that makes me do things over and over. He tells me that if I look at someone and swallow, a bullet would hit that person. This sometimes restricts me from looking at people, because Bobby tells me they would get hurt. I also move a certain way so that my body feels even on the left and right side.
When we realized I might have OCD, my Mom got me a great book, “The Anxiety Cure for Kids”. It suggested I picture the voice that tells me disturbing things as a dragon. This really helps because before the voice was a dark shadowy figure in my mind, which made it evil and scary. If you think you have OCD, I suggest trying this too.
Another thing you can try is giving your ‘dragon’ a nice or funny name. Imagine if you named your dragon Voldemort — what kind of dragon would it be? Happy and funny or dark and evil? Now you can understand why I call my dragon Bobby. It’s hard to be scared of someone with that name!
Another thing that works is telling Bobby out loud not to do these things. When I’m done, I visualize him flying into the cave that I picture as his home. Then I pretend to use The Force from Star Wars to lock him in, and I forget about what he was trying to make me do.
I also do things that don’t involve Bobby that make me feel good about myself, including yoga, singing, playing piano, and playing soccer with my team.
Living with OCD is not just a week’s work. I have to ignore Bobby every day. But even though I have this disorder, and other kids do too, remember that you can tame your dragon so he doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable. Because absolutely nothing should stop you from being yourself.