Total Pageviews

Monday, August 19, 2013

Big Time Handwasher

I've talked a little so far about my rituals that center around ADL's (activities of daily living).  I think a lot of people with OCD have rituals that center around these activities, because these are exactly the types of things that people do everyday.  It would be hard to develop a ritual around something you don't do very often.  I am a big time hand I mentioned yesterday I probably wash my hands over 100 times a day, actually probably much more.  I have an issue with hands being dirty...mine and other peoples.  I will get into mine today, others in another post.  Basically everyone in our family of 3 washes their hands first thing when they come in the door at our house, that is my rule.  And to be honest, I don't think thats a big problem.  Basically if hands are clean when they come through the door, they cannot transmit germs all over the house.  I saw a Lysol commercial one time where a little girl comes in the house and they show the germs lit up in green on her hand, and show her touching all kinds of surfaces through the house.  Well, this of course gets my mind spinning and I can imagine germs spreading all over the place when other people touch those surfaces and then carry them even other places.  I am a pediatric nurse, so I am well aware of germs.  I also know logically that if you are in contact with someone with a cold you are obviously at risk of catching that cold through airborne contamination (through them coughing or sneezing in close proximity without covering their cough/sneeze).  If I go outside to get the mail and come in though, I still feel like I could have come into contact with something.  What if someone else had a cold and then touched the mailbox that I just touched?  Also I have to come through the front door then, which is always "dirty" to me, as I feel like all the germs everyone has picked up that day are swarming all over that front doorknob.  I do Lysol off the doorknob occasionally to help with this.  I wash my hands every time I take laundry out of the washer, because I don't want to contaminate it in case I've touched something else.  When I meal prep at home, I wash hands before I start and several during preparation--anytime I touch anything other than the food, I wash.  For example if helps for me to put out everything I need for the meal and have it ready to go, otherwise if I need cheese or something from the fridge--I will go get that, open the package, then wash my hands to put the cheese on the dish (because I just touched the fridge handle and the cheese package which could be dirty).  Cleaning the house can be difficult for me.  Of course I wear gloves when I clean dirty things like toilets, sinks, or tubs.  That just adds to the dryness on my hands.  My hands look horrible.  I kid you not when I say that if you just looked at my hands without the rest of my body, they look about 60 years older than the rest of me....I am 36.
Looking back there were times when my germaphobia part of my OCD was worse than everything else.  I can remember when my daughter started school and would bring home books from the library.  I Lysoled off the covers of the books and probably even some of the pages.  If she opened up an envelope from the mail...for instance if someone sent her a card/gift, I would make her wash her hands afterward.  I guess, I still do that.  I have stopped Lysoling books.  Now that she has been in school for several years, I know that she is touching things all day long at school and it drives me crazy.  BUT I am afraid I have taught her OCD too or at least she knows to avoid touching her face/eyes/nose/mouth and she washes her hands well and uses hand sanitizer at school whenever she can, so that helps.  Yes, hands are a problem for me.  I just don't even know how to get into it all in one post, it covers so many things.  One example is we went to my husbands grandpas funeral last week and they had a luncheon afterward.  On the table they had set out trays of different varieties of sandwiches and desserts and bowls of chips.  Everyone was sitting at tables, and I saw more than one person walk up to a sandwich, pick up the top piece of bread to see what the filling was, and then set down the piece of bread and walk away without taking the sandwich!  All I could imagine was how dirty these peoples hands probably were, and how someone else was going to come along and eat that.  Also people digging in bowls of chips.  One woman was eating off her fork, then took that same fork and took a piece of bread off the dessert tray.  No, food at gatherings is not something that I feel comfortable with.  I was trying to explain on the way home to my husband why I didn't eat there, and his response, was "I bet everyone survived though".....typically, he doesn't get it.  Now I've talked with my counselor in the past (when I was seeing one) about how there are times when I have concerns that really are true.  For instance he would probably tell me that many other people would find that alarming.  The problem is not that I think that is unhygienic, the problem is that with my OCD I can't get past it.  Even on the way home after the luncheon was long over, I was still ruminating in my head about that and couldn't get over it.  The funeral was a hard time for me as far as the OCD goes too.  I have a problem in crowds and with people touching me.  So there were lots of hugs that day and I noticed my showers those 2 days I go thome were extra long and I was covered in antibacterial soap when showering (normally I don't use antibacterial soap every day, only if I feel I have been in contact with something that worries me that day).  Also we sat in the middle of the church which I had a hard time with.  From my previous posts, I have mentioned I like to sit in the back.  These changes in routine are hard for me, when I have to get myself through a situation.  Anyways, as I have heard a celebrity once describe his germaphobia and "hand problem" as feeling like everyones hand is a petri dish, and that sums it pretty well for me too!  When you think about all of the surfaces that people touch everyday and most people don't wash their hands real is hard for me when people touch me or even to think about others making food or touching my personal items.

1 comment:

  1. I do the same precautionary steps, in exactly the same order.