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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Toothbrushing Ritual

I'm going to finish out my ritual posts here over the next couple of days, so that I can move on to some other things I want to talk about soon:  how I believe this all got started and how this affects my family, work, etc.  Right now my daughter and I share a bathroom.  OK, we've shared a bathroom for a REALLY long time.  In fact, a lightbulb just kind of went off in my head and I realized that I moved my stuff out our "husband and wife bathroom"  shortly after I noticed that he had used my eyeshadow compact as a mirror when working on his truck in the garage, which I discussed in a previous post.  Really looking back and thinking about that now, I believe that is true.  You see, this is why its so good to get this all out piece by piece, I can really sort out in my head when things started and trace them back to why.  I didn't want him touching ANY of my stuff after that, and started to lose trust in him.  (I have seen him do a number of disturbing things over the years, so I really don't trust his judgment in general anymore.  It's really hard).  So I wanted to keep my stuff "safe", so that he couldn't get to it.  Pretty much ever since then I've wanted to keep things safe from him, starting with my personal items, and progressing to food (which is a very long post to come in the future) and now even my clothes are hung in a different room.  For awhile when my daughter was a toddler I would store my makeup bag and personal items in her room.  I would even leave our toothbrushes in a cup in her bedroom when she was younger, because my housband still used our main bathroom at that time periodically and I didn't want to take any chances at all that he would open up the medicine closet and touch or contaminate our toothbrushes somehow.  Now we have moved to a different house and our master bath/master bedroom are on one side of the house, and 2 other bedrooms and a bathroom are at the opposite end.  He lives in the master side and I live in my daughters room and share the other bathroom with her.  Where am I going with all of this, you wonder?  Well, I feel "safer" now because he doesn't ever use this bathroom.  I still don't keep my makeup there, just in case, but I do put our toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet there.  Because I don't want to accidentally use my daughters toothbrush AND I don't want her to accidentally use mine, I have a ritual involving "checking the toothbrushes" in the morning and night after we brush our teeth.  I haven't always had this ritual.  I put our toothbrushes on a shelf in the medicine cabinet and they are in each in their own separate cup/holder.  For some reason I am always nervous, "what if we used the wrong toothbrush?  Mine is always on the left, hers is always on the right, but again, I question myself.  I'm able to brush my teeth normally, I don't have any ritualizing involving that alone.'s what I do afterward.  After we brush our teeth I have to check each toothbrush for "water spots" or "water bubbles" on the brush itself--the handle or the toothbrush head, to make sure that it really has been used.  I check each one three times, alternating between mine and hers, sometimes I have to do it even more that if I'm feeling uncomfortable for some reason.  Sometimes I even count how many water bubbles are on each brush or do something to help me remember that what I am seeing is really true.  It's so frustrating because I know AS I'm using it that I'm using mine, and I know that I hand her her's when its time, so why do I have to go back and "check" them.  Because I have OCD and my brain feeds me false messages that something is wrong and maybe I didn't really see things right.  OCD is such a bully....
There are some times though that I worry what if my husband was in the bathroom?  What if he used our toothpaste?  I would not want to share toothpaste with anyone.  My daughter has her kids toothpaste and I have my regular toothpaste.  I don't want to share personal items with anyone.  Recently I started putting a piece of kleenex or toilet paper in the doorway and then shutting the door.  Then if he went in there I would see the piece of toilet paper fallen to the gorund and would know he was in there.  So when I get up in the morning and see that still in the doorway, I feel relieved.  This has become another ritual in itself.  I change toothbrushes very frequently in our house for my daughter and I....probably every 2 weeks, sometimes even more frequently.  Even after I've checked the toothbrushes twice a day I still get freaked out that they could have been used by the opposite person and it just makes me feel better to replace them.  

** Side note--My husband and I had a horrible argument yesterday, just horrible.  Here is how it started.  I had my laundry going and had just started a cycle and he came  home for lunch.  He hardly ever comes home for lunch.  I heard him go into his bathroom and the toilet flush about 5 minutes later, so I was pretty sure he had a BM, and then my obsession about him flushing the toilet while my laundry was in the machine kicked into high gear.  CRAP......literally, crap!!!!
Of course then I have to come up with someway to fix the situation and make sure my laundry isn't contaminated.  So he could tell something was wrong with me, but of course we never go into specifics.  Basically I stopped the washing cycle, and rinsed the clothes out.  Then after he left, I removed the clothes from the machine, ran detergent through a cycle by itself to "clean out the washer".  Then I washed the load again twice.  Then I felt like it was as clean as it would get it.  I am starting to notice how I feel a lot of resentment towards my  husband for things that he probably doesn't understand.  My post this weekend is hopefully going to be about this, and it is going to be a LONG post, but one that I really need to write and analyze.  If anyone out there is reading my story, I would love to hear if you also have OCD, what kind you have, and a little bit of your story.  I know there are so many of us out there that struggle with this, it is really good to have the support of someone who knows what you're going through.    

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Incident Last Night/My Dishwasher Ritual

Before I start talking about my dishwasher ritual, I wanted to write about another incident last night.  These are the types of things that come up frequently with my husband and they are very frustrating to both of us.  The problem is I don't think he recognizes OCD.  One of these posts real soon I am going to write more detailed information about our marriage and OCD and how each affects the other....there is a lot to write about that though, and that will likely be one very long post!
I haven't been feeling a lot of energy this summer.  I mentioned this in previous post.  As I've reflected on this in the past few days, I feel that a lot of this is because my OCD is spiraling downward some.  I've developed some new obsessions this summer.  Our marriage is really troubling me.  I have lost the energy/motivation to do a lot of things I would normally enjoy.  I don't seem to have the energy to cook dinner a lot of nights, and when I do it is like every step takes so much work.  My daughter and I haven't been to the pool much this summer.  We tend to spend a lot of time indoors.  I think I'm getting depressed.  And its been really hard lately.  I also don't feel the support of my husband--there are issues we have related to the OCD and issues that are not related to the OCD, but our marriage is really tough for me too.  I'm really glad I decided to start this blog, because I think for me writing is really therapeutic.
Anyways, more on that later.  Last night I did have more energy and did cook a nice dinner for our family.  Lately when I make something and it turns out right on the first try, that is a good feeling.  And when I say "right"--I mean, I don't have any OCD moments during meal prep which make me start over or throw the whole meal away.  I really enjoy cooking and its a good thing I do, since I will try to avoid eating out whenevr possible.  I cooked some creamy chicken wraps and had them coated in a sour cream and salsa mixture.  Halfway through the meal my husband decided to scrape the mixture off the top of his wraps and he was taking his fork and sliding it quickly down the wrap trying to remove the mixture.  He was flicking it off in a sense and this triggered my OCD immediately.  I sit right across the table from him, and all I could imagine was his "germs" and particles being flung into my food and I started getting really irritated, asking him what he was doing.  He of course didn't understand that I had been triggered.  He never seems to be aware of that.  I said to him, "What are you doing?  You're flicking stuff into my food", to which he got angry and said he wasn't flicking anything into my food and it turned into a back and forth argument.  It was soon after this that he asked if we were all doing something for vacation next week or what.  I was so irritated at that point that I said I didn't want to go anywhere, and spending a week dealing with his attitude didn't sound like a vacation to me!  I know that sounds harsh now, but looking back I was upset about 2 things:  the fact that he didn't realize my OCD was triggered and see the situation for what it was.  Also I didn't want to deal with the OCD on vacation, but I also didn't want to deal with his lack of understanding about my OCD on vacation.  Hmmmmmm.....
I want to move on and discuss my dishwasher ritual, as this is what I have chosen to work on first in my "self-help" program.  I really need to get a hold of some things with my OCD, and I feel like if I can start working on some compulsions it will help move me in the right direction.  I'm starting with this one.  My dishwasher ritual is similar to the laundry ritual which I posted about a few days ago.  I just can't seem to believe that I put dishwashing detergent in the compartment and I just can't get away from the dishwasher.  I load the dishwasher up, put the detergent in, close it, push start.  Then here we go again.....about 2 minutes later I open up the dishwasher and the compartment to make sure there is detergent in the compartment.  Sometimes I can see a design in the detergent, like a big blurb in the middle , and sometimes I even start closing the dishwasher door so the detergent "leaks out" of the compartment a little, somehow it helps me to remember what the detergent looks like.  I know it sounds so odd.  But if I can close the door then, my mind can say "C'mon, you remember it was bright blue and there was that big blue oblong blob that curved and looked like a mans bicep so you know there is detergent in there".  My anxiety is TEMPORARILY relieved, but not 5 minutes later I am worried AGAIN that there is not detergent in there.  We also have a sanitary rinse cycle on our washing machine and I am always so worried that our water heater is somehow emptied and the water will not get hot enough to sanitize the dishes.  So sometimes after the pre-wash is done, I will go back and open it again when the main wash starts to make sure that there is steam and super hot water coming down and that I can "smell" the detergent at that point, since the compartment will be emptied out.  I usually run my dishwasher right before bed, so this process can sometimes add 10-15 minutes to my routine.  What I hope to do within another week or two, is to eventually get to the point where I can just put in the detergent, get one "good look" at it--I think thats okay, but not allow myself to reopen it or stop the dishwasher cycle.  This makes me really nervous, but I think I can do it.  I actually worked on this one about 1 1/2 years ago (yes, I've been doing it this long) and got better at it, so I think I can get there again.  OCD can be so exhausting....I wonder how much time I've spent over the years just "checking" the dishwasher and  the laundry, not even including all of my other rituals.  Too much.

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Obsession/Is Toilet Water Backing Up into Laundry??

    I'm going to write about a new obsession I've been having lately.  I have never worried about this before so much, and I don't know exactly why it has escalated now.  I remember a couple of times in the past few months being worried if a toilet flushed while the laundry was going, somehow thinking that dirty toilet water would somehow make its way into the laundry machine through the plumbing system.  I remember one time my husband was taking a shower and I had a load of laundry in and because I think of him as "contaminated"--I was worried that when the shower water drained it would go into the laundry.  At that point I simply stopped the washing machine and resumed when he was done.  I know logically, at least I think, that the plumbing system is set up in a way that dirty water wouldn't contaminate clean pipes unless the plumbing system itself was not put together correctly or is malfunctioning.  Here goes the what-ifs again.       What if our plumber set it up wrong?  What if dirty water is being put through those "clean" water pipes?  It's bothering me enough to where its changing how I do the laundry the last few days, which has become even more time consuming to me.
     For example yesterday I was washing my daughters underwear.  I try to do my laundry when my husband is not home, so I don't have to worry about the toilets flushing, but of course he doesn't know this bothers me and I am not sure how he would take this information.  We have never gotten into detail about my OCD and I don't think he has any idea what is all involved in it.  So....I had only about 22 minutes left in the load, it was rinsing out and I go downstairs and he had just flushed the toilet.  So I had to stop her laundry and rewash it again.  Then I still didn't feel comfortable with it, because I didn't want there to be a chance of having toilet water on her clean underwear, so I hung her underwear up to dry (I am currently line drying clothing right now, this will be discussed why in a future post), and rewashed it again this morning.  I'm washing it once now to "de-rid" the underwear of any germs.  Then I will go upstairs again and wash it again. Then I will feel like it is clean, at least as clean as I can get it.
     Also after he leaves in the morning I have been running a cycle on the washer quickly to "flush out" anything that might be in the pipes.  Then I try to get all my laundry done, before he comes home at the end of the day.  Right now this works well, because I am working from home this summer, so it is easy for me to get laundry going during the day.  Once school starts in another few weeks, I am going to have find another solution as I work part-time (part of that from home, part in the office).  So on the days I go into the office I won't be home to work on the laundry during the mornings.
  Has anyone else struggled with this particular obsession?  If so, how did you deal with it?  Can anyone give me information as to how plumbing better works.  Maybe if I had some good information, I wouldn't be SO worried about.  I'm still going to worry about it, but maybe it would lessen the degree a bit...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Looping Motions/Laundry Ritual

    So I'm going to talk about looping motions today or "brain-lock", to kind of set the stage for the next few posts.  Looping motions is pretty much when your brain just can't get past a certain action and you just keep doing it repeatedly, over and over and OVER and OVER and OVER again.  For example, I will find myself getting caught in these when performing 4 different tasks usually:  laundry, dishes, tooth brushing and showering.  It's like my brain sees what I'm doing and logically knows it, but my OCD mind just can't accept it.  Once you get caught in these actions it is really hard to start.  Also I start to dread doing these tasks, because I know they are going to be difficult.  
    For example, the laundry is really difficult for me.  A non-OCD mind would just be able to put detergent in the machine, load the laundry in the machine, push start and go, and probably not even give it a second thought until they go back when the cycle has ended...but with an OCD mind....not so easy...I load the laundry and put in the detergent, and push start.  Then about 10 minutes later I go back and look into the basin (we have a front loader currently) to make sure that soap is actually being worked through the clothing.  I will continue to stand there watching the clothes/soap tumble around, or sometimes I'll keep going back even though I just left.  I might look, then walk down the hall, then go back and look again.  Tell myself  "C'mon you see the soap, it's fine", so I leave and walk away again and then get down to the end of the hall and question myself again and go back, and the cycle can keep repeating itself.  Sometimes I will find myself just standing there watching stuff tumble around for 30 minutes.  As I'm writing this post, I currently have a load of laundry in the washer and did just this.  It's like my mind just doesn't believe itself.  Logically, I KNOW that there is soap in there, but the second I leave that washing machine, I start questioning myself.  I have even washed certain loads a few times when things are really bad.  I always KNOW there is soap in there, but my mind can't "believe it".  I second guess myself.  I don't want to make a mistake.  Today I watched it tumble around for about 20 minutes before coming downstairs to write this post.  Then even as I'm sitting here,  I question myself....."Is there really soap in there?"  I know it doesn't make any sense, but when your brain gets stuck in that pattern, its really hard to break.  Because some days are better and some are worse with OCD, what I would do would depend on what kind of day I was having.  If it had a been a really exhausting day, I probably would go back and repeat the whole laundry cycle again.  Today is a little better for me, so even though it makes me uncomfortable I will push myself, let the cycle finish out, and will make myself go take it out when finished to dry.  I will not let myself go back and "give in to the OCD".  I These looping motions can be very hard....they get very time consuming and you start to get really frustrated with yourself after awhile.  They also in turn perpetuate the cycle, feed the cycle and worsen the OCD.  When you don't give into OCD it helps you reverse the cycle.  But when you keep giving into it, it just makes it worse.  It's hard though.  And something I'm really going to start working on.  Since I'm not taking meds or seeing a psychologist right now, I'm really going to start buckling down on this and try to at least get out of these looping motions as a starting point.  In my next few posts, I will go into detail about how these cause me issues with some other routine daily tasks.  

***On a side note, I have done a couple of things lately that have been an improvement for me.  When we went to church last night, we sat in the back row as usual.  There were rows and rows of empty seats ahead of us, and a young couple came and sat down in our row 2 seats down from us.  My mind went into an immediate panic and I couldn't even focus on the church service for about 10 minutes.  Honestly if my husband hadn't been there with us, I probably would have taken my daughter and moved to a spot I deemed safe.  But we stayed there through the whole service.  The girl was even sniffing several times (couldn't tell if she was congested or crying), it made me really uncomfortable though.  I put my daughter on my lap and scooted a seat closer to my husband.  It made me really uncomfortable though, but we stayed.  That is the important part.  I made myself stay in the situation, and it was okay.  I think that was an improvement for me.
Secondly, my daughter and I made cupcakes the other day.  I found an ant (gross, really gross for how clean I keep my kitchen) on my kitchen counter right next to the bowl that the cupcake batter was in.  Now if I had been having a really bad OCD day I probably would have just dumped the whole bowl of batter in the trash and been done with it....I have done things like that before, thrown away entire meals and things because I thought something happened to them.  And I came real close to throwing the batter away that day.  But I didn't.  I finished making the batter, we baked the cupcakes and even ate them.  And it was fine.  And I was really happy I went through with it.  Again most non-OCD minds wouldn't even give these a second thought, but for me they were very stress inducing and I faced them each time.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Vacations and OCD

   So right now I am really stressed out.  My family wants to take a vacation and I just cannot bring myself to plan it.  My OCD has been worse this summer for some reason.  I'm not sure why, I'm hoping I'm not spiraling down into more severe OCD.  We have only been on 5 family vacations in the last 10 years....2 of them were really before I ever developed OCD, 3 of them have been after.  Each vacation after I have developed OCD has become increasingly harder to manage.  The first time we went to Disney World, and I was fairly mild at that point, in retrospect.  Standing in lines for rides/attractions didn't seem to bother me.  I ate at restaurants and at the Disney Parks, just making sure we could go in and use the bathroom to wash up before eating (that's very normal I think).  I rode in airplanes and taxi cabs and didn't seem too bad.  I'm fairly sure I didn't have an issue at the hotels, other than making sure I brought sanitizing wipes and cleaned remotes, lightswitches off.  I was able to sleep in the hotel bed and use the hotel towels.  (You will see that things change by the Colorado vacation).  At that point I think it was the germ factor on the hands that bothered me, so as long as I could wash up and have my hand sanitizer, I didn't feel uncomfortable.
     The next time we went to Kansas City and things were about the same that time.  I think I still used the hotel towels and slept in the bed.  I remember standing in line again for rides and not feeling crowded by other people.  We ate again at restaurants and the amusement park, just washing hands before we ate.  Normal, I think.  The one change I did notice at that time was that when we went to a Royals baseball game, I wanted to sit in the very back of the stadium.  I did not want to be in the center of the crowd, so maybe things were starting to bother me back then.  We even at the stadium...which I would not be able to do currently.
     A couple of years ago we went to Colorado to the mountains.  This vacation was very difficult for me.  I remember feeling uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping in a hotel bed and using their towels.  I also was having trouble eating at restaurants at this time and using silverware.  My packing and the preparation that went into this was very difficult.  First of all understand that my husband doesn't get OCD, so I continue to try to hide it from him.  I also let him do his thing, but my OCD affects what I do with my daughter, because I want to keep her safe too....I brought bath towels from home for my daughter and I--packing enough for a new one each day of our trip.  I brought blanket and sheet for the hotel bed.  Put our own big blanket down on top of the bed and used our own sheet to cover us (my daughter and I slept together in the same bed).  Brought our own pillows and pillowcases.  I also brought a bag with me to take around to all of the sites we saw with stuff in it that I might need--especially plastic silverware, regular silverware, and wrapped straws.  Why, you ask?  Good question!  Sometimes when you get takeout they just throw some plastic silverware randomly in the bag and I wanted to have some that were protected in a plastic bag or box, something that a restaurant worker would not have touched.  The regular silverware is because it was shortly before this vacation that I started having trouble eating off of restaurant silverware.  If we went to a restaurant and I ordered a meal, I planned to "swap out" my clean silverware for the restaurant silverware when my husband wasn't looking or went to the restroom, and then swap them again before we left.  I even had 2 plastic ziploc bags--one to keep the clean silverware in, and another to put any dirty, used silverware in, that would eventually be washed when we got home.   To make things simple I discovered eating burgers or sandwiches or pizza was the easiest way to deal with this.  Then I didn't need a fork, and I could just go wash my hands after ordering and eat.
      You can hopefully start to see how exhausting this can be and how the idea of a vacation starts to seem like a lot of work.  I really want to go on vacation with my family this year, but I don't want to deal with the OCD on vacation, and I know it will be there.  When I think of how much worse my OCD is now compared to the Colorado vacation 2 years ago, it stresses me out just thinking about how much prep it would take me, and I am a lot more worried now about crowds and being around in people in general.
     I really don't want to let my family down.  My daughter knows all of my concerns about going on vacation, but I'm fairly certain my husband doesn't have a clue as to what all stresses me out about this.  It would be nice if I could talk to him and feel understood and maybe if we could have a good conversation and be honest, we could make it work.
   Here are my concerns about vacation this year:  I have 4 of them.
1.  The hotel.  This time I would be bringing my own blanket/sheet/pillow/pillowcases again.  I would also have to buy some new things for his trip.  We don't have any luggage currently, so would have to borrow/buy.  I don't want to borrow of course, so would end up buying.  Could probably get by with a few duffel bags for me and my daughters stuff.  I would have the silverware issue again.  I would also not want my feet to touch the shower floor or the floors in the bathroom, so I would probably put bath towels all over the bathroom floor (I'd be okay stepping on them, but not drying myself off with them), and wear flip-flops while in the shower.  I would have to wipe down certain parts of the room--lightswitches, remotes, hotel key card, sink/bath faucets, lamp switch, alarm clock, refrigerator handle, etc.
2.  Eating.  I don't want to eat out anywhere, so this is probably the hardest thing for me.  In a separate post at some time soon, I will go into detail about why I have a hard time eating out at restaurants.  But let's just say this would definitely be very stress inducing for me...three times a day.  I honestly don't know how I would do it....this is exhausting just thinking about, let alone trying to write it out, which would probably take pages!!  :)
3.  Going to the attractions.  My concern with these is being stuck in positions I can't get out of.  Currently I have a lot of problems being in crowds.  I want to be in the very back if this is the case.  I don't want to be in front of someone, in case they cough on me, or sneeze or something.  I think I would have a very difficult time standing in line for rides or being in an auditorium for various shows...
4.  This is a new one for me, that hasn't bothered me in previous times.  I have a really hard time with people being in our house anymore, apart from our own family of 3 (plus a dog).   I don't like when people come to visit, and you can be assured that when they leave I'll know exactly where they've been and if they've touched anything.  Right now our house is really a "safe place", a comfort zone for me.  We have a dog which would need cared for if we go on a trip, and likely my parents and my husbands parents would probably be coming over several times to day to let our dog out and feed her.  This really bothers me to think of people (even our own family) in our house while we are gone, because I don't know whats going on.  What if someone were to use our bathroom and not wash their hands and touch something in our house?  What if they picked up the dogs "doo" and again didn't wash up and were touching things in our house?  Here's how crazy my OCD mind can get...I even worry what if they want a glass of water while they are in our house and drink out of the cup, and then even FURTHER...what if they don't want to leave a dirty dish on the counter so they handwash it and put it back in the cupboard, and I never know???  You see, its all a bunch of what-ifs for me?  They say OCD is the "what-if disease"--its true.  I am not making this up or trying to be funny.
This is all very stressful/exhausting to me, so it is probably clear why a vacation doesn't really seem like a vacation.  The idea of going somewhere with my family and seeing some new places sounds very fun.  If my OCD could take a vacation for those few days, that would be great!!!  :)  But, I know it won't.  There are actually some triggers at home that I would get away from home that would be helped on vacation.  I would be away from some things in our house that cause me to do rituals, so I would get a break from that.  But as I look at the entire situation, I just don't see how I can do it this year.
   I feel terrible.  I know my daughter really wants to go somewhere, and there are so many things I don't let her do because of OCD that I feel like I owe this to her to have some fun.
My husband keeps asking her what she has planned, and one of these days very soon I just need to be open and tell him that I don't think I can do it.  To me the idea of a "staycation" sounds more relaxing.  We can do fun things in our town, but yet come home to our own bed every night.  I can still make our own meals, and we don't have to have anyone come over to our house when we're not here.....
Stressed, yes......I think I just helped myself process my decision.

My Triggers Part One: Germs/Contamination

As I mentioned in my last post, my main triggers right now are germs and contamination and that is one wide range of things.  I tend to be worried about the "obvious germs", people coughing and sneezing really bother me.  Hands really bother me.  Hands are very dirty to me and I don't like people touching me and I don't like them touching my things.  I really like to have my own personal things in an area where I know no one has touched and if someone does touch something of mine, that really triggers me.  For example, an OCD moment from last weekend:  I keep my makeup bag in the hall closet.  In that of course are things that I put on my face--things that I want kept clean and contamination free.  I always wash my hands before I put my makeup on in the morning, so of course I don't want any other fingers/hands touching my items.  When I went into the hall last weekend to grab my makeup bag, it appeared someone else had been in the closet.  There was a paper in there that wasn't normally there and the only person to use that linen closet would be myself or my daughter.  (My husband uses his own bathroom).  I became really worried that someone was in husband to be specific.  Here is why:  A few years ago my husband was working on a truck in the garage and his hands were filthy with grease--I mean black with grease as could be.  I saw one of my eyeshadow compacts with a mirror on the kitchen counter and asked him why that was there.  He said he had been using it to look at something down in the engine that he needed a small mirror for.  That was one moment where my  husband triggered me.  The fact that one of my items would be out in the garage with his greasy hands all over it.  I would have never even thought of this BEFORE I saw him do this, but of course now I question him because of it.  So now of course I remember that, and when it looked like someone was in the linen closet, I carried it over to think what if my husband was in my makeup?  What if he took my eyeshadow compact for something and used it?  I didn't even want to use my makeup that day.  I was all ready to throw out the whole bag (just in case he was in there) and repurchase all new makeup.  I waited to put it on until he got home and I must have asked him 4-5 times if he was in the closet.  He said no and of course got irritated at me, because he wouldn't understand my thought process with all of this...I didn't even get into it with him.  I did end up using my makeup, even though I felt I didn't trust him.  But I tried to look at the "logical side of things" and I had never seen him in there, so I went ahead and used it.  That was actually progress to me.  To be honest my husband has done a lot of things over the years that have triggered me, and it really upsets me.  He is one of my biggest triggers right now.  Because of that, I cannot be intimate with him, I haven't kissed him in years.  We haven't been intimate in a year.  We don't sleep in the same bedroom.  Because of things I have seen him do, it really bothers me to not be home when he is home alone...because I'm not sure what he will do or what he will get into.  This leaves me very much tied to the house a lot of times and I don't go do the things I want to do, which makes me resentful of him too.  Because of this I very much try to always be home when he is home, and when he leaves for a period of time, then I feel like I am safe to leave for awhile...I can go out and not worry about what he is doing, because I know he is not there.  His hands really bother me, because of the hobbies/stuff that he does in his free time(farming, car repair, tractor restoration).  I will get into more of this in a future post when I discuss how OCD has affected my  marriage.  As far as triggers though, my husband is a big one, and it is really sad to me.  Children are also a trigger.  I don't like to be around children, other than my own daughter, who I have no problem being around.  I tend to "stake people out" before I get too close--make sure everything is okay--that they are not coughing or having a cold or anything.  I don't like anyone making me food, other than myself.  As I mentioned in my last post, I have about 2-3 take out places I will go.  Aside from that, I make all my own meals.  I don't eat AT restaurants, because I don't want to use the silverware/plates there.  My thought process is:  What if they didn't clean the dishes properly, what if there are still germs left on them?  Other people, that I don't even know, have had their mouths on these things.  If I do have to go to a restaurant, I will order a sandwich--something that doesn't require utensils.  Utensils are the worst for me at a restaurant.  I also won't use cups there.  Or straws...because I would guess the waiters aren't washing their hands between picking up the last peoples dirty plates and then putting your straw in your drink order....Ugh...  I also won't eat at family gatherings or work functions.  Basically I just want to eat in the comfort of my own home with food I've prepared myself or again from those 2-3 restaurants.  Okay I've had this post "in progress" as a draft for too long now, so I'm going to publish it and move on to the next one, which is really bothering me right now!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Hi ya'll.  I decided to start a blog, more or less to help journal my story and progress.  If I can even reach one other person out there struggling with disease, that will make it all the more worth it too.  OCD is tough.  I have been struggling with OCD since about 2005, however it has progressively gotten worse starting in 2009.  Looking back through even prior to 2005 I can see some things I did that in retrospect were related to OCD, they just weren't affecting my life at all at that time.  Current time, it is very much affecting my life.  I am a married, a mother and a nurse.  A pediatric nurse of all the possible types.  This is ironic considering that most of my OCD "obsessions" revolve around germs and contamination.  Has it affected my job?  It certainly has.  It has also made my OCD worse, I believe.  My main issues at this time:  I have a lot of trouble being around people, I don't like to eat out (for fear of germs), I avoid social gatherings and feel kind of isolated anymore.  I can go out in public as long as I feel I have control over where I'm at and able to move if needed.  For instance I can't go sit in a random seat at church.  I must sit in the very back row on the end.  When I go to the grocery store, I'm okay as long as its not crowded, but I tend to avoid aisles that a lot of people are in.  I've stopped eating lunch with my daughter at school because I don't want to be around the other little kids.  I really have a lot of trouble being around children anymore, which is really sad to me.  Because I love children.  My own daughter is easy for me to be around, but other children are hard.  I have a niece who will be 3 years old this summer who lives 15 minutes away from me, and I believe I have seen her only 4-5 times probably since she was born.  I feel terrible, but I don't know what else to do.  Avoidance has become my way of dealing with a lot of this.  I won't go to family gatherings if I have any inclination that someone is sick.  I won't eat at family gatherings, I'll eat before I go.  Vacations are tough for me because its not my own environment (house), and I'll get into great detail about all of this as time goes by.  I've pretty much stopped eating out, other than 2-3 places, which I feel are "safe" for take out purposes.  I can't even remember the last time I ate at a restaurant and used silverware, because I don't want to use the silverware at restaurants.  I have also recently developed some problems with food and how it is packaged.  It really kind of keeps getting worse as time goes on.   I do have some "magical thinking" and some issues with checking certain types of things.  I've kind of been a lot of places on the spectrum through the years, but the germs/contamination really seems to be the major problem for me.  I have learned to hide this disorder very well and only a few people know about it.  God, my husband, my daughter, and my counselor (that I used to see for OCD and marriage issues.  I don't go to him anymore).  I'm not currently going through any type of counseling.  I know I should be.  I know that many people in my family think I act a little weird sometimes and have quirks and don't understand why I do things that I do, but they have never been told I have OCD.  Unless my husband has said anything to his family.  I don't think he has.  I haven't said anything to anyone else in mine.  As I continue in this blog I will account for some more of that.    But they don't know what is going on, and I'm not sure if I will ever let them know or not.  I think once you have made yourself vulnerable it is really tough, especially if they don't understand.  I think that unless you yourself have OCD, you cannot really understand the disorder.  It bothers me to hear some people say "Oh, I'm so OCD" because they are type A personality or likes to have things orderly.  Maybe they really are on the OCD spectrum and deal with it mildly, but I don't think they have any idea what it really is to have OCD.  But having said that, I do believe there is a spectrum of OCD and people can either fall on the very mild side where it really doesn't affect their lives, or they can fall all the way to the severe side where it completely encompasses their life.  I feel like right now I'm somewhere in between.  If you were to look at me from the outside, I look and act like a "normal person" or what I like to call someone who does NOT have OCD.  But inside my head is another story.  I don't think people would ever understand what goes on in my head.  You see, OCD is like a logical vs. emotional battle in your head which goes on 24/7.  There are some days that I cope pretty well.  There are some days when I am so close to having a nervous breakdown that I have a hard time getting through the day.  I am so thankful for God who helps me get through this everyday.  I don't know why I have OCD, but I will get into more of that later.  My daughter is a tremendous source of support and she understands so much for a young child (age 10 at this time).  Sometimes I worry though, am I teaching her OCD?  Is it possible for someone to learn OCD from a parent?  My husband unfortunately does not really understand the disorder, nor has he ever been supportive of any of this.  Our marriage has really suffered through the years and adding the OCD in has made it really tough...again, more on these other subjects to come.  OCD is a mind game.   The rational part of my mind knows better, but emotions outweigh that everytime.  I really think that OCD, for most people that struggle with it, is in some sense a fear of the unknown.  Its struggling with the uncertainty of things.  It's hard.  Since I'm not seeing a counselor right now I feel that it is important for me to get my thoughts out and try to process some of this.  I want to share my story and hold nothing back.  As I write this blog, I want to talk in great detail about:  how I believe I started having OCD symptoms, my triggers, my struggles, how it has affected my job, my marriage, my relationship with my daughter, financial aspects of it (believe me, it can be expensive when I'm constantly throwing things out).  I will go into great detail about many things that I have done because of OCD, how I cope with it, and how I don't cope with it (avoidance, giving into the OCD to make it easier).  I hope to help someone along the way.  I would love for you to take this journey with me, and would appreciate any helpful comments or words of advice that anyone can give.  If you are also struggling with OCD, my heart goes out to you.  I pray that someday there will be a cure for this disorder, because I know that many people deal with this mental disorder.  And if you are one to deal with it, I know what you are going through.  My heart breaks for you.  Types of OCD may not be the same, but underneath each "obsession" and "compulsion" is the same disorder and it all stems from the same thought processes.  I've done so much reading on OCD and watched so many videos and listened to so many personal accounts, it breaks my heart....OCD minds are not crazy...the thing is we are very realistic people.  We know that the thoughts we have are not rational, yet somehow we can't stop.  And the more we continue the cycle, the worse it gets.  Statistics I've read say 1 in 40 Americans struggles with the disorder.  That is a lot of people!  Here goes...