A Cry For Help


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98 in stock


By Stephen Drake


ISBN: 978-1-905610-33-4
First published: 2003
This edition: 2006
Pages: 137
Key Themes: obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), prison, agoraphobia, empowerment



This is the true story of a young man who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 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.

Book Extract

He didn’t care. Maybe that wasn’t true. As the words of fury passed his lips his left hand grasped his right. He knew the reason – he certainly wasn’t going to strike an old woman. No chance. The road was quiet with fields on one side and trees the other.

“Did you hit that woman?” Charlie asked himself yet again. “Can you remember punching her?”

He replayed the moment in his mind attempting to ease his fears.
“No, I can’t picture myself clumping her,” he answered his own question.
“What if you did harm her in some way,” the voice, presumably his, forced an entrance.
Charlie, too concerned with his own predicament, ignored the distant sounds of laughter.

He failed to notice the three youths until he walked into them. Maybe he had seen them but, being so on edge, didn’t care. He wouldn’t even deny walking into the group on purpose. What had he got to lose?
“Watch it, mate,” shouted one of the group, “why can’t you look where you’re going?”
“Get fucked,” Charlie growled, in no mood for sensible suggestions.

He wasn’t scared of their reaction, his mind being filled with more urgent matters. It wouldn’t have bothered the young man if he finished the evening in a casualty department; all he craved was reassurance that he hadn’t assaulted the elderly female. While that concern occupied his thoughts, nothing else was of importance. This single-minded approach exasperated the stocky youth – it took a great deal to infuriate Charlie but where much had failed, his deranged thought process succeeded. He attempted to push pass the gang who prevented his progress. Caution had been thrown to the wind – why should he show respect to others when his own mind was intent on destruction.


1 review for A Cry For Help

  1. Emily Clewer (verified owner)

    I read this book not knowing what to expect. As an OCD sufferer myself I was apprehensive about whether someone could feel the same way as myself and have the same distressing thoughts. Stephen Drake’s book is brilliant; it touches the heart of everyone who reads it. The book relates Stephen’s time in prison, his obsessions and daily disturbing thoughts; he believed that the only way out was to turn to crime in order to go to prison to be safe from the elderly women whom he thought he could not pass by without attacking in some way. Such a thought was due to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a mental health condition that is not known about in many parts of society. It is an amazing book, with heart-rending accounts of how Stephen struggled with his mental health. Fantastically written; I look forward to reading the successor, “Cry forever.” Thank you for writing this book and bringing to light OCD – it has helped me to understand my condition better.

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