Still Standing

July 22, 2012 at 9:17 am 12 comments

When I was a child, we’d often visit my grandparents in New Hampshire. There was an old, dilapidated barn en route to their cottage, and every time we made the wide turn that would reveal the barn on our left, I’d feel a twinge of anxiety. It always looked as if it would collapse at any moment: tilted, rotted, and barely standing. Though I’d breathe a sigh of relief once it came into view, I’d secretly often wish that it would just fall down already so I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

But worry I did. When there were heavy rains or wind, I’d worry the barn would fall into the house that was adjacent to it. When we’d drive by in the winter, I’d worry that the weight of the snow would finally bring it down, possibly on top of some unsuspecting child or pet.

Though I was an anxious child, I didn’t have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and my worries would usually dissipate soon after the barn was out of view. But every now and then I’d wonder if the barn was still standing, and hoped if it had fallen, nobody had gotten hurt. While this worry didn’t consume me, it definitely took up more time than it should have.

Years passed, and newly built roads not only got us to the cottage quicker, they bypassed the barn as well. I thought of it occasionally, but over time it pretty much faded from my memory.

Until a couple of weeks ago. I was in the area and decided to take the old road to the cottage. The barn wasn’t even in my thoughts, until I made that wide turn. That old twinge of anxiety from forty-five years ago returned and I looked to my left, not knowing what to expect.

There it was.

After all these years, that barn was still standing. Through decades of wind, rain, and snow, it had remained upright. And there was something different about it, though it took me a while to pinpoint what it was: It didn’t look quite so bad. It hadn’t been repaired, but it wasn’t in as poor shape as I’d remembered.

I smiled. Surely there were some lessons here:

Things are rarely as bad as they seem.

And, for most of us, through all the “wind, rain, and snow,” we’re still standing.

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Entry filed under: Mental Health, OCD. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. krystallynn  |  July 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

    What a great analogy..for us with OCD I think we tend to over estimate danger and it would good for me to remember that most of what I fret over, if it occurred, would not be as disastrous as I imagine. I pretty much always imagine the worst.
    You wrote this so beautifully.

    • 2. ocdtalk  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks Krystallynn….it did hit me when I saw that barn…..all that worry for nothing! But then, isn’t all worry unproductive?

  • 3. Tina Barbour  |  July 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    This is a beautiful post, Janet. Thank you for sharing your memory and what you found when you saw the barn again. Many lessons there, for sure.

  • 4. ocdtalk  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Tina……I do think, there are even more lessons I can take away from the barn that I don’t even realize yet!

  • 5. Holly  |  July 22, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I love old barns.You have to admire anything that is built to withstand everything that nature throws at it. I’m glad you were able to see something fresh in it this time. :)

    • 6. ocdtalk  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

      I agree, Holly! It’s truly amazing to me that it is still standing.

  • 7. 71º & Sunny  |  July 22, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    So glad you visited my lovely state! Yes, I am unashamedly proud of NH! Wish I would have known, would have loved to meet you.

    Great story. Looks can be very deceiving, can’t they?

  • 8. ocdtalk  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Yes, Sunny. Another good lesson: looks can definitely be deceiving.

    Maybe we can meet up at the conference this weekend??

    • 9. 71º & Sunny  |  July 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Why yes, I’d love to meet you!

      • 10. ocdtalk  |  July 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

        Hopefully we will run into each other……you can always email me at or I can email you also..

  • 11. Imogen  |  August 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Lovely and inspirational x

  • 12. ocdtalk  |  August 4, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Thank you so much. I appreciate your commenting!


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