A Cry For Help


SKU Paperback Category

1000 in stock


By Stephen Drake

ISBN: 978-1-84747-001-0
First published: 2003
This edition: 2006
Pages: 192
Key Themes: (obsessive compulsive disorder), stress, prison, autobiography, recovery



This is the true story of a young man who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder . This condition drives him to crime and to periods in custody. The author writes with vigour of his dealings with other people, especially in a young offender’s institution. This is a raw book, and the prose style mirrors that rawness. Stephen has a terrible fear, amongst others, of harming an elderly lady. Having to continually check that each and every elderly woman he passed in the street or came into everyday contact had not suffered at his hands. He had no urge to harm them, he just had terrible fears that he might. He was obsessed with NOT being responsible for any harm to an elderly lady. Life, in general society, became unbearable! He decided that prison was the answer to his prayers, a safe haven. No old women in prison. A life of crime, with little regard to detection, followed. Life in British jails as a young prisoner and terms in young offenders institutions are described. You might feel pity or, perhaps, disgust when reading his unusual, but true, story.

About the Author

Stephen Drake was born in Surrey in 1970 and was diagnosed with OCD in 1989, having spent periods in jail due to the condition. Further custody followed as stress heightened his obsessions. In 2006 Stephen wrote his first book entitled A Cry For Help as a way of expressing his problems and changing his wayward course. A Cry For Ever followed a year later, having been encouraged by benefits from his first book.

11 reviews for A Cry For Help

  1. nick hill (verified owner)

    I can’t really say it was an enjoyable read, but as raw description of someone’s own mental health problems, it was interesting. At times I felt that the writing could have done with maybe a little editing, and a little polishing. Sometimes repetitions came up from one pargraph to another, which kind of made the flow of the reading a bit heavy going. But then again if it had been done differently it might have taken away from the rawness of the description of the illness. I thought the book was different, honest – one thing that did strike me, having suffered on and off from deep bouts of depression is why didn’t you try to seek medical help instead of becoming a petty thief? Coming back to what I was saying about repetitions in your writing, I suppose the whole thing about your illness is the repetition, and maybe that was one way of putting it across to the reader. Peace.

  2. Elaine McDonald (verified owner)

    The opinion I have of Charlie is that he is a very brave young man, all be it tortured by his unwanted thoughts. The book itself does not make pleasant reading, I hated the pages and pages of words, explaining about what he experienced in prison, the violence, the denegration of prisoner against prisoner – it madmanme angry and anxious for Charlie and those he made mates with. However it was a thought provoking book. It seemed to me that the old woman fixation became a living nightmare after he was raped in the public toilets, and towards the end of the book, and towards the end of the book when he thought a group of black prisoners were intending to rape a 17 year old; this took him back in time to when he was in the same situation. After this with the support of Colin and his motherhe was able to apply for bail which he got.He realised Dr King could help him on an out patient basis, and finally he was able to confide to Dr King the extent to which his life was being controlled by his compulsive thought processes. Perhaps though it is a case of living with, rather than being cured. The fear of these thoughts being contained by the rational rather than the irrational mind.

  3. Katy Sara Culling (verified owner)

    “A Cry For Help” by Stephen Drake was for me a book that offered insight into a world I had never even imagined could exist. Now I studied medicine, but the basics I was taught about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) really were that – the basics. Typical stuff about cleaning the sink and locking the door, endless checking – but Charlie’s greatest fear seemed to be that he would harm an elderly lady or the elderly per se. I would like a better understanding of what drove this fear. This book detailed a journey I myself could not envisage anyone surviving. The details of prison life I found quite disturbing, showing how great his OCD was, to drive him to CHOOSE prison (for that is what Charlie did – he is far too intelligent to get caught without wanting it) in order to “control” a serious mental health problem that was dominating his life. To me it felt as if he lived in constant fear, prison was his escape. This understanding will help me be a better person to people I meet who are similarly afflicted, and I have met such people, but none with a story so overwhelming, extreme and enthralling as is documented here. I will be reading the sequel, and hoping that Charlie finds some sort of peace, or at least, a lessening of symptoms.

  4. annette orphan (verified owner)

    a very good book,when i picked it up i just couldnt put it down.i have recomended this book to lots of my friends and family,it also helped me to understand my sons illness a bit better

  5. John Friend (verified owner)

    This is not an easy read, with violence and strong language. However, it is well worth persevering with the book, as you begin to appreciate what it is like to suffer from an obsessive compulsive disorder. It opened my eyes to the fact that OCD can wreck lives. Stephen Drake must be congratulated for bringing these harrowing experiences to a wider audience. It should help others afflicted with this condition by creating a greater awareness of the illness and how it can be treated.

  6. Emma Wreford (verified owner)

    This book gives a real insight to ocd suffers, well written and bravely honest.I really got in to this book and didnt want to put it down.

  7. Julie Eke (verified owner)

    A very good book which describes how bad the OCD is for Charlie, that he should choose prison as an alternative to facing the anxiety which OCD causes. Definately worth reading whether you suffer from OCD or not. A very honest account.

  8. David Thomas (verified owner)

    A thoroughly good read and definitely recommended to anyone with OCD or an interest in it, and for people who know somebody with OCD. This book is highly entertaining and enjoyable, but at the same time highlights just how debilitating OCD can be, and how it can drive sufferers to do some very drastic things to reduce the inevitable anxiety that comes with the illness. I would recommend this book to anybody, I enjoyed it so much I ordered the sequel before I’d even finished reading it!

  9. Jeni Yassar (verified owner)

    As an ocd sufferer this book was difficult but also enlightening..Difficult because my thoughts can be infiltrated, but enlightening because for the first time in my life I am not mentally alone.I never knew there were really other people who suffered in the same manner of ocd as me. It lifted my spirits the way it was written I.E raw ,edgy,honest,and at times a bit frighteningly real from my ocd state of mind.I would personally recommend this book to others,no matter what their literacy taste as it will change their way of thinking. Thankyou Stephen Drake for being brave enough to give hope to others..Jeni Yassar Australia

  10. Alix Yassar (verified owner)

    Just read A Cry For Help.
    Being a carer for a severe ocd person {victim} this book opened my eyes to the fact that it is real.
    My wife’s dillusional thoughts and actions I thought were just in her head and wondered why she just couldn’t get over it. Now I realize you can’t.
    No-one was able to tell me the extent of ocd {especially my wife’s} but after reading this book…I GET IT !!
    Thankyou Stephen Drake for writing this book.
    You have helped me understand more in laymans terms what is going on.
    I commend your writnig skills,,graphic,,but enthralling.
    It was almost like reading a similar version of my wife’s ocd.
    Once again thankyou ,,a truly great read for anyone.
    Alix Yassar
    Sydney Australia

  11. melanie reynolds (verified owner)

    As was previously mentioned this is a very raw account of a young man suffering from OCD in a time when OCD was not talked about as openly as it is now. As much as i loved reading the book and cannot wait to get my hands on the second account i did feel very frustrated the more i read as nobody seemed able to help, this sadly happens so often, people look but they do not see, ‘A cry for help’ is a perfect title, i highly recommend this paperback.

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