Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Health Column Guest Writer – How interacting with OCD sufferers has influenced my writing by Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle has been a frequent guest on Smorgasbord over the last two years, writing about a wide range of subjects. Today Robbie shares the condition OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), her observations in those that suffer from OCD and how it has influenced her writing.

How interacting with OCD sufferers has influenced my writing by Robbie Cheadle

What is OCD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, obsessive-compulsive disorder (“OCD”) is an anxiety disorder in which time people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.
Obsessions are involuntary thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again in your mind. You don’t want to have these ideas, but you can’t stop them. Unfortunately, these obsessive thoughts are often disturbing and distracting.

The cycle of OCD

Compulsions are behaviours or rituals that a person feels compelled to act out again and again. OCD sufferers develop compulsions in an attempt to control obsessive and intrusive thoughts. For example, if an OCD sufferer is afraid of contamination, he/she may develop complicated cleaning rituals. The relief provided by compulsive behaviour, unfortunately, never lasts and usually increases over time, in tandem with increased anxiety by the OCD sufferer as a result of the time-consuming and invasive nature of the rituals.

Related conditions

Other conditions that share selected features of OCD occur more frequently in family members of OCD sufferers. These include, for example, body dysmorphic disorder (preoccupation with imagined ugliness), hypochondriasis (preoccupation with physical illness), trichotillomania (hair pulling), some eating disorders such as binge eating disorders, and neurologically based disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome (a disorder that involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics) that can’t be easily controlled by the sufferer).

OCD and my life

Over the course of my life, I have known, and lived with, several people who suffer from OCD and its related conditions, in particular, Bulimia, trichotillomania and Tourette’s syndrome. I came to realise many years ago that these disorders are like having a stutter, only of the mind rather than the physical body. A sufferer’s mind literally gets stuck on a disruptive thought and must repeatedly perform rituals in order to gain relief from it.

It is unfortunate that OCD sufferers are often highly intelligent over achievers who are able to hide their symptoms effectively from people outside of the home which results in a lack of understanding of, and sympathy towards, this illness. I recently wrote a piece of flash fiction where I likened an OCD sufferer to someone in a mental wheelchair. I think this is an apt description and if people could view mental disorders in this light, maybe there would be more understanding and sympathy of these conditions. Being in a wheelchair does not mean you cannot do things, it merely means that certain interventions are required for facilitate the achievement of specific objectives.

OCD and my story in Whispers of the Past

The paranormal anthology, Whispers of the Past, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth, features a short story of mine entitled, Missed Signs. The idea for this story came to me last year when I was reading up on rabies and discovered that there are still rare cases of rabies occurring in humans.

I wove the idea of a young man suffering from OCD with a fear of germs and illness together with the concept of a human contracting rabies through an animal bite and Missed Signs was born.

Writing this story required a fair bit of research on rabies and how it effects humans which I found interesting. The OCD symptoms and rituals were easy enough for me to include with my personal experience of this illness.

This story also exposes my own personal view that when a child or dependent continuously requires reassurance in respect of every small health issue, it can result in their caregivers becoming indifferent to their concerns. In these circumstances, it would be easy for a caregiver to fail to investigate the cause behind a particular anxiety and a real health problem could easily be dismissed as part of a new ritual or as a symptom of OCD, without giving it proper consideration or attention.

©Robbie Cheadle 2020


About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.

I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.

I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.

A small selection of other Sir Chocolate stories co-written with Michael Cheadle and other work by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Through the Nethergate

After the death of her parents, Margaret moves to Bungay, England to live with her grandfather. Once there, she realizes she can see the spirits of the dead. Even more terrifying, Margaret sees the spirits of how they looked at the moment of their death. If that’s not creepy enough, hang on… this story takes a dark turn. Soon, Margaret realizes she must figure out how to free these lost souls from the ultimate evil.

Some ghosts are evil and some are good, while others seem to be stuck between the worlds in a sort of limbo. Margaret’s gift of sight acts as a catalyst for some and the ghosts begin to incarnate and interact with our world. All of this activity alerts the big guy below, and he fantasizes about Margaret’s abilities and what her power could do for him.

Cheadle builds her story off of the legend of Black Shuck, the Devil Dog of Bungay who in 1577 terrorized the parishioners of the local church by killing two people kneeling in prayer after bursting through the church doors amid a flash of lightning. In the book, the dog resurfaces as the evil Hugh Bigod, the vilest of spirits who commands the other spirits who chose not to go into the light when they died.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Robbie Cheadle

Website/Blog Roberta Writes: Roberta Writes
Blog: Robbie’s Inspiration
Website: Robbie Cheadle:
Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
Twitter: @bakeandwrite

My thanks to Robbie for sharing this post on a debilitating condition that severely impacts the lives of an estimated  750,000 people in the UK alone.

For more information: OCDUK

Thank you for joining us today and as always your feedback is very welcome.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 21st October – Pamela Wight #Shopping, Robbie Cheadle #Poetry and D.G. Kaye with Marie Lavender #Interview

This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

The first post is from author Pamela Wight on the subject of shopping.. which you either love or hate…but Pamela is not that keen, but it is a family tradition that this year had a surprise in store…(pardon the pun).

The Dollar Bill

I hate department stores. I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. The empty vastness of material nothingness; the bright lights spotlighting our greed; the vapid noise of elevator music and high-pitched meaningless laughter.

Thus, when my daughter suggests I go with her and my 11-year-old granddaughter for a girls’ day of shopping, I respond immediately:

“Of course. I’d love to.”

I may hate department stores, but I love my girls, so I’ll travel into the bowels of hell for them.sweater, fashion, clothing

Every fall the three of us go on this mall-journey. Sophie’s birthday is in July, and my gift to her is an afternoon at the mall to select a new school outfit. She has no idea how much of a sacrifice I make for her in the name of grandmotherly love.

She finds the “perfect fall sweater” at one of those beastly pre-teen/teen stores and I pay for it with cash. The young woman at the register owes me $2.50 in return, but I can see her trying to struggle how to break my $20 bill. I raise my eyes to heaven, asking for strength. She finally reaches for the calculator close at hand and then hands me my change.

One of the dollar bills has inked writing on the top of each side and I’m about to return it to her (I like my bills clean and not tattered) but I read the message on the George Washington side quickly.

Head over to find out what message was written on this dollar bill:

Pamela S. Wight, Buy: Pamela on Goodreads Blog:


The next post is from Robbie Cheadle with the news that she will repeating last year’s popular series Poetry Readathon…. here are some of the details but head over to the post to find how you can participate.

Poetry readathon

Many of you will remember the poetry readathon that I ran during November and part of December 2018 and part of January this year. The readathon comprised of a selection of five questions that were answered by each participating poet as well as the sharing of one of their poems. I also read and reviewed a number of poetry books by participating poets.

The idea behind the readathon was to introduce poetry lovers to poetry bloggers and published poets and I think it was very successful. I enjoyed watching our poetry family engaging with one another and meeting new friends.

I have decided to run it again this year and am inviting interested poets to please email me. This year I would like to publish a poem with special meaning by each participating poet and the reasons as to why they wrote this particular poem and why it has special meaning for them.

Head over to find out the full details of this great opportunity for poets and also to read a new poem from Robbie:

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy: Blog: Robbie Goodreads


And last but certainly not least.. D.G. Kaye with last week’s Q &A with romance and multi-genre writer Marie Lavender..

Welcome to this edition this month to my author series, Q and A with D.G. Kaye. I’m happy to introduce Romance and Multi-Genre Author, Marie Lavender here today to share a bit of herself, her writing and her books, and tell us a little about her book Directions of the Heart – A Romantic Drama Collection.

Marie Lavender

About the Author:

Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love Series, and 21 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017

Head over to find out more about Marie and her books in this very interesting interview:

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.comGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy all these posts in full.. thanks Sally.