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Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Showering Ritual

You would think that someone with OCD would feel clean in the shower, and I do for the most part.  But I have a few things I do and a few things I am uncomfortable with.  The hardest part for me is when I first get in.  I have to bring in a bottle of antibacterial hand soap.  Actually, antibacterial hand soap is the only kind of soap I use on my hands.  I worry that just plain liquid soap (thats not labeled antibacterial) is somehow not going to get my hands clean enough.  When I first get in the shower I have to wash my hands really well, because I worry if they're not clean enough then I'm basically just washing my hair/body off with dirty hands.  Once I can get my hands clean enough, then I am generally okay for the rest of the shower.  I have a problem with "believing" that there is soap on my hands, even though I can see it right in front of me.  Sometimes I will become mindfully aware of what I am doing, lathering them up, even drawing letters in the soap lather to convince myself that there is actually soap on my hands.  I didn't always used to do this.  I believe that OCD minds are like sponges and you can actually take on new symptoms by reading about others symptoms.  I feel this way because this is something I started doing after reading about someone else doing it.  Anyway, I might wash them 4 or 5 times before I've actually convinced myself that I have washed them.  Its so odd that I can feel like there is not soap on my hands, even though they are completely covered in lather/soap.  Once I get past this part, I'm okay usually and I wash my hair.  Sometimes I find I wash it a few times though, other times if I force myself I do it just once.  I wash my body with regular scented body wash, but if I have been somewhere where I feel dirtier (for example swimming in a pool) then I will generally use the liquid antibacterial soap and go over my whole body again with that.  I use way too much soap.  I know this is not good.  It is not unusual for me to bring a brand new 7-8 oz bottle of soap in the shower, and when I am done, it is 1/4 of of the way gone.  I also use antibacterial soap to wash my feet off at the very end of my shower.  I always feel like my feet are dirty if I've gone barefoot, even just in our house, where I keep things clean.  About a month ago we went to the lake to jet ski and that was hard for me, because I felt very dirty from the water there splashing on us.  When I took my shower I had to use antibacterial soap over my whole body 3 times.  When I wash my face I use a regular gentle face cleanser, but if I have been around anything questionable that day--if I have been out and about, in the pool, or been around someone that I thought coughed or sneezed close by, I will also use antibacterial soap on my face.  I have heard stories of shower rituals that go on for hours for some OCD patients, and I am grateful that this is not the case for me.  I can easily see how it can get to that point for some people though, and it makes me sad.  I've heard that some people will wash and rewash, especially after something drips on them, and they literally just can't get out of the shower, because they can't stop going back and cleaning it.  I will rewash certain parts if my body parts touch something in the shower--for instance the shower curtain or the shower stall itself.  I am very mindful that I stay right in the middle of the stall so that my body doesn't touch anything, and if it does, I simply wash it off and move on.  As for my before mentioned repeated handwashing in the shower, I don't seem to have that problem aside from the shower.  I do wash my hands ALOT though.  One of these days I am going to make tallys on a paper and just see how many times out of curiousity.  I would guess over 100 times a day.  I do sometimes question though "Did I wash my hands?".  The sink is the first place that I go when I get home from anywhere.  Even if I touch one of my front doors, or go get the mail, or take my dog outside quick on her leash, I have to wash my hands.  Of course I'm in "autopilot mode" every time I do this so sometimes there will be an instance where I have to stop and think "Did I really wash?".  This becomes stressful to me in some situations.  For example if I take some garbage out and then come inside and wash my hands so I can put our leftovers from dinner away.  I am SURE that I washed my hands, but after I've put my leftovers away I am convinced I didn't wash my hands, and I have been known to throw food out in those circumstances simply because I can't be sure and I don't want to take the chance of eating the food if I did forgot to wash my hands (......even though I'm sure I didn't, there is that doubt constantly going off in my head).

I want to post a link to a video today.  I love to listen to Christian Music.  It is all I listen to and I get so much hope/encouragement from the words.  This is a great song.  I have my radio in my car set to 3 Christian radio stations and yesterday on the way home from running some errands, this song played on each station all within a 10 minute period.  I really felt like God was telling me something....You're an Overcomer.  You will fight this OCD and not let it overtake you.  There are some words in it that really rang out for me:  "You might be down for a moment, feeling like its hopeless, thats when he reminds you, that you're an overcomer!!"  There have been some days with OCD where I am literally at that point of a breakdown.  One day I was making a chicken casserole and I had used a plastic knife to cut the chicken up to put in the casserole.  I finished preparing it and baked it and everything.  We were getting ready to eat and I had an awful thought.  Just a few days prior my husband noticed a stain on the countertop and made a chemical concontion to try to get rid of it (involving acetone on our counter).  He had used some plastic silverware to mix it up together and I was absolutely convinced at that moment that somehow that knife I had used to cut up the chicken was contaminated.  I coudn't deal with it.  I remember carrying the casserole and taking it over to the trash to dump it as I absolutely didn't feel safe eating it.  It fell on the way to the trash and my dog came over and happily lapped up every last bite of it.  I remember sobbing and wailing at the trash can, so made at myself for throwing this away.  So mad at myself for the OCD.  That is an example of how I feel on the really bad OCD days.  But as the song says...I felt down and I felt hopeless with the OCD, but I was able to move past it and on.  I will be an overcomer!!!  So will you!!!  I hope you will take the time to listen to this song and also draw inspiration from it.  I will be posting videos very frequently of songs I find encouraging.   


1 comment:

  1. hi,

    I just checked your profile, there was no email id.

    can you create an exclusive email id just for that I could send you an email relating my ocd story. im a roman catholic from asia. will share you my story and trust me you will feel relieved coz u will not to do so much. I have major contamination ocd.

    cant give my email id here.

    lots of love and hope