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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How did this all get started?!?!

I feel like its important to go through the history of my OCD and how it all got started.  It's interesting to think about sometimes.  I understand that there are a lot of theories about how people get OCD.  Some say its biological or genetic.  If you have a family member with OCD, your chances of having it are greater than the average population.  Some say it can be caused by infections as a child.   A lot of people develop OCD after a bout of stress or a traumatic event.  I have read a lot about "conditioning" lately and OCD being a "learned behavior", a habit and viscious cycle basically.  I'm reading a book now which is probably the best OCD book I have ever read.  There must be a biological component somewhere that "turns on" OCD.  Once OCD starts you actually condition yourself to these same OCD responses, going further and further into avoidance and rituals, making the OCD cycle worse every single day.  I don't know.....does it really do any good to determine how I got it?  I do know that certain things over the years have made it worse.  I can definitely find "key points" over the last 8 years where my OCD was driven up another notch.  What I do know is that I have to write this to get it all out, whether my family ever sees this or not.  As of now, I really haven't shared my OCD with too many people.  Of course God knows.  My counselor (that I used to see) knows.  My daughter knows.  My husband knows.  No one else.  Not even my parents or sister.  Sometimes I wish I could tell them.  I think that there such is a stigma associated with mental illness, that a lot of people don't understand.  Once you have made yourself vulnerable to someone and they don't seek to understand, it makes it really hard. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a friend that had OCD.  Someone that could understand on a very personal level.   I don't think anyone without OCD can truly understand.  In the words someone else (in some book or blog I read) someone mentioned once that there are types of non-OCD people.  Ones that try to understand and ones that don't try to understand.  Because thy  never really ARE going to full understand it, since they don't have it.  I remember learning about in nursing school and just hearing about patients that had it, and I could understand what the illness is, but I could never have imagined how it enters your life and affects everything you do.  I remember telling my therapist that back when I was seeing him for OCD and marriage problems.  Anyone can educate themselves on OCD, but there is a difference between reading a few medical articles on it, training to be a psychologist and working with OCD patients, doing some hard core research on the disorder, and living with it.  I think those of us with OCD probably do know it the best.  After all, we live with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  OCD does not take a break, even though we desperately wish it would.  Sure there are times when it is better, and when it is worse.  But it always there.  What has OCD done to me?  It robs me of time and energy.  It exhausts me, it drains me.  It has taken away my ability to be intimate with my husband or to trust him  There are times I don't even trust my own judgment, because I'm not sure I can trust what I'm looking at it is okay.  Its frustrating.  It makes me angry, sad, depressed, and irritable.  It puts me in a rage at times.  It literally leaves me "spinning" 24 hours a day.  It makes me avoid the things I want to do, while I instead get caught up in rituals and compulsions that I just can't stop.  It has made me lose friendships with people (because I have a hard time going out in public and I don't people I have OCD so they think I'm just being rude probably and don't want to get together).  It makes me question everything I do.  It makes me get thoughts in my head for sometimes weeks at a time, that will not leave!!!  It affects my job, my relationships (with my husband, daughter, parents, and friends).  It makes me sad.  I hate it.  I can't get away from it.  And I do question often, "why do I have OCD?"  I hate admitting that, but I do.  I do understand the frustration that my husband must have, through "watching" me have it, but I think he really only understands that I am a "germaphobe" and that is only a very small fraction of my OCD and what I go through.  And I get how its hard to deal with all the quirks and stuff he doesn't really understand and all.  I think I've done a pretty good job hiding it over the years to the point where people don't see how severe it is.  After all, my  husband spends a lot of his time away from home and he is not very emotionally involved in our family.  It makes it really easy to hide OCD when he is gone.  If he could see me and what I do when he is not home, I think he would be shocked.  Honestly.  I have dealt with so many issues on the OCD spectrum.  I am thankful that there are some issues I don't have, issues that scare me.  I do struggle with checking, perfectionism, magical thinking, some counting, and having to do things until I get that "just right feeling", and some scrupolosity.  Contamination is my biggest issue though.  It is probably the biggest issue I have and the hardest one to tackle.  So to back track in time, I want to go back to the roots of this, how I think it started and how it has progressed through the years.  What has happened to get it to where it is today.

I don't remember having any OCD symptoms as a child or teenager.  I have always been somewhat of a "perfectionist" going back a long time.  Also a very type-A personality.  I like routine.  I like organization.  I can remember a couple of times feeling fearful that I left a curling iron on at home or very basic things like that.  Maybe even could be considered normal behavior at that point, as everyone questions those things at times.  But I suppose in retrospect it was OCD, I just didn't know it at the time.  I remember going to a wedding out of town once and calling my parents to have them go to our house and check if I had turned off the curling iron.  I was just SURE that I hadn't and couldn't get it out of my mind.  They checked, and I had turned it off.  Early on in my dating relationship with my husband, we had a great relationship.  We talked, we were intimate, I wasn't worried about germs or anything at that point.  We could go out to eat at restaurants and I'm sure I didn't even wash my hands before I ate back then.  We could go to the lake, and I could get in the lake water with no problem.  Sleeping in hotels I wouldn't have even given a second thought too.  We could be intimate in cars for crying out loud.  I could kiss him with pretzels in my mouth.  He hugged me every day when he eft for work and when he came home from work and we were always laying on the couch cuddling together, watching TV.  He even hunted back then and I remember when I was pregnant he would come home late in the evening with take out for dinner...fresh with his hunting clothes on and the bag of food on the front seat of his truck (which would mortify me now).  It seemed back then I wasn't concerned with that kind of stuff at all.
   After we had our daughter, I think I started becoming a little more concerned with germs and not wanting her to get sick.  Our moms would come babysit at that time, and I made everyone wash their hands in the kitchen before they could care for her.  Even when my husband got home from work, I remember making him wash his hands before he came in the house was the rule, starting back then.  Even back then though I remember working evening shifts at work and he would be responsible for taking care of our daughter.  He even made her meals, like grilled cheese or cut up hot dogs for her, and I didn't seem to be concerned with him touching her food at that point.  It was more basic hygiene at that point, having everyone wash up.  But things hadn't gotten too serious at that point.  I think a lot of new parents become more germ conscious after they have children.  My husband is somewhat of a work aholic.  Not in the sense that he had spends hours at the office and gets home after everyone is in bed, but he is a "busy body".  Maybe that is a better word for it.  Early in our dating relationship I didn't realize this.  We spent almost every waking minute together, that we were not working or in school.  We did everything together.  Even hanging out with our friends, the other would generally tag a long.  Right before we got married, we started building our first house together.  I remember ground had been broken and cement had been poured and when we got home from our honeymoon, that was the first place he wanted to stop was to check the progress of the house.  Him and his dad did a lot of work in there and it seemed he was always over there checking how it was going.  He went back to school for his Masters Degree shortly after we got married and then his nights became filled with studying and homework.  I remember sitting in the computer room with him while he studied, just to be close to him, as we were starting to not have a lot of time together back then.  Shortly after that we became pregnant.  Him and his dad started finishing our basement at that time and then evenings became full with that.  He was also spending a lot of evenings out with friends, coming home late at night/early in the morning.  It just didn't feel like I had a husband anymore.  After our daughter was born, he was helping a friend all summer and would be out again until late at night/early in the morning very often.  It just seemed like there was always something.  I think after a couple of years of really struggling in our marriage, I kind of had a nervous breakdown in 2005.   We were having serious marriage problems.  I remember keeping a journal at that point and I hated my husband.  I wanted divorced.  That was probably the worst summer I have ever had, not counting this summer of 2013 when my OCD has escalated terribly.  Things between us started going downhill at that time fast, and have continued that trend.  Starting that summer I began to have a lot of health problems.  I remember feeling so stressed and overwhelmed.  I had a 24 hour heart monitor on that summer and problems with chest pains.  Earlier that spring I had horrible fatigue and I remember having a brain scan done and my under eyelid just twitching by itself, a tic of some sort.  I remember just sitting in my family doctors office that summer crying my eyes out.  I was so scared that something was wrong with me, I felt so physically and emotionally terrible.  That summer I also had allergy testing done and was found to be allergic possibly to foods that I had always eaten, such as milk and nuts.  I was driving to work one afternoon and I crossed an intersection and all of a sudden I had this indescribable feeling come over me.  I honestly can't explain it.  I just had a feeling of doom.  Something was really wrong and I was scared I was going to die right there.  I remember I had raisins for lunch and for some reason I was keyed in on the thought that I was having an anaphylactic reaction to raisins.  At that point I didnt really know what was safe to eat.  I remember thinking I was going to drive straight to the hospital, I think I rolled my car windows down so I felt like I could breathe.  I just felt like I needed to get out of my car.  I remember feeling like I just wanted to stop my car and get out on the median and scream for someone to help me.  For some reason I continued to make the trip to work.  I did sit at my desk for only a few minutes and worried my coworker.  I remember her asking me if i was okay and taking me back to an exam room.  One of the doctors in our practice came right in and gave me an allergy pill and a breathing treatment.  I probably did look like I was having a bad reaction to something.  I probably looked crazed, is that even a weird?  I was frantic, I wa spanicked.  She looked in my throat/airway and told me it was not swollen as it would have been in an anaphylactic reaction.  I was in the room a few minutes by myself while the breathing treatment was going.  I can recall I kept looking in the mirror with my mouth open, just sure that my airway was closing in.  So scared that I was going to die and picturing my little girl at home. I ran out to the nurses station, even more panicked than before.  I don't remember a lot more after that incident.  The doctor came in and sat down and told me she thought I had just hada true panic attack.  My dad came and picked me up and took me home.  That was the beginning to middle of  that summer.  I don'tt remember a lot about that summer, but I know I was very  overwhelmed and depressed and had a hard time taking care of our daughter, who was 2 at the time.  I remember not sleeping at night being so anxious and just needing to rest during the day as much as possible.  I would lay in bed and my mom would come over  a lot during the day to watch our daughter, so I could sleep or rest.  My  husband was gone a lot in the evenings still, and my daughter and I would go over often to my parents for dinner.  I don't even know to this day, if my husband realizes that.  A couple of weeks after the first panic attack, I had another episode.  This time our daughter and I had  went through a drive thru and I also ordered a piece of snickers cheesecake (with nuts).  I took our daughter in the  tub that night and was trying to relax.  About 11:30 or middnight even, I'm unsure of the time, I started to have that dreadful feeling come over me again.  Something was wrong.  I can't recall everything perfectly, but I kind of remember calling my parents and telling them I felt anxoius and couldn't breathe.  Maybe having a reaction to the nuts I ate.  My parents I think offered to take me to the ER, but I didn't think I coul wait.  I felt like I needed to call 911.  I thought I was having a reaction to the nuts in the cheesecake.. part of me thought it was anxiety.  But I wasn't sure and I was scared.  Something was dreadfully wrong.  I called 911.  I was so scared.  I couldn't breathe. The ambulance ended up coming out and took me in to the hospital.  My husband had been out that night with friends and ended up coming home when they were there.  I remember he drove to meet the ambulance there.  My parents stayed behind to watck our daughter who was sleeping.  He drove us home from the ER and I just remember him being mad at me..  Irritated.  Anything but supportive.  It almost seems like I was in the ER twice that summer, but I can't be sure.  I remember them one time working me up for a pulmonary embolism because of the difficulty breathing I would express.  I think that was a separate time.  I suppose when I look back on it now, somehow maybe him being gone that night set my anxiety off.  The feeling that he wasn't involved in our family.  I don't know.  I really do think that our relationship problems/stress have contributed to the OCD/anxiett.  I had a lot of trouble eating for about 6-12 months after the allergy testing.  I was scared to eat anything.  After all if they told me I was allergic to foods I had always eaten before, how did i know if anything was safe to eat?. That is when I stopped kissing my husband for the most part.  I know as a nurse that it is possible to go into anaphylaxis from kissing someone that recently ate nuts.  I would question him all the time before were intimate, "did you eat nuts today"?  I think he got tired of me asking him and I probably got tired of his reaction, so just decided I wouldn't kiss him anymore.  I think our mariage problems were so severe, that resentment and bitterness started taking some really deep roots at that time, and lets be honest, pure hatred, started to develop toward him at that point.  I remember being mad at him and I did not want to be married to him anymore.  I just remember feeling alone in our marriage.  He was hardly ever home and I was trying to work part time and raise our daughter, mostly by myself.  I can always remember being it just the 2 of us-our daughter and I--most of the time-- ever since she was born.  Pictures and videos will capture that too.  It seems he went from one project to the next.  He always says that he feels like an outsider, and I get that.  But to be honest, I think he made yourself an outside from very early on after our daughter was born.  I started to feel I couldn't count on him, that he wasn't there for us emotionally or physically.  I started to "leech on" to our daught3er and became so worried what if something bad ever happened to either one of us.  That is when I honestly think the OCD really started to set in.  My fear became so great--what if something ever happened to her?  What if something happened to me?  When I think about the root of all my OCD that is what it always comes down to.  I don't want to take any risks.  I am very uncomfortable with the uncertainty of things.  K (I'm just going to start referring to our daughter as K from now on) and I had each other and I was absolutely terrified of something bad happening to one of us.  I remember developing "magical thinking" at about that time.  All of a sudden being in the middle of a routine task, and thinking I absolutely had to do it a certain way or something terrible would happen.  I can not describe to you what OCD feels like.  Its an awful, dreadful feeling, that won't go away.   You become "obsessed" or fixated on something--the obsession.  Then you are driven to perform the compulsion or ritual, in attempt to decrease the anxiety.  For example I would be folding laundry and all of a sudden I would think to myself, I have to make sure all the tags are folded into the T-shirts and none of them are sticking out, or something awful will happen to one of us.  And so I would take the time to fold all the tags into the T-shirts.  And if I tried to resist the urge, it wouldn't work.  I HAD to do it, in order to get on with my day.  In order to get rid of the thought and make sure everything would be safe.  And then nothing bad would happen, so my brain would be conditioning itself to feel like somehow the action I was performing was preventing something bad from happening.  I remember being at the grocery store and walking past an item and all of a sudden I would get the most intense urge to back and look at the item and read what it said.  Or I might be reading a book and if I didn't read a particular sentence absolutely perfect, I would have to go back and start the whole paragraph...or even the whole page.  Sometimes I would get fixated on a sentence and didn't understand what it was saying, and it would just torture me.  I just had to figure it out.  These things were happening on a daily basis, and these are only a few examples.  I was becoming worried about if doors were unlocked, if ovens were shut off, that type of thing--checking behaviors.  There are so many examples I can't even cover them, these are just a very few examples of the many, many things I would feel driven to do.  Still at that point though the germaphobia hadn't really started.  It was more the magical thinking and checking behaviors from what I can remember.  I really think the germaphobia started about the time K turned 4.  I can remember certain things during that time period...for instance I was really worried about germs getting into mouths at that time from people coughing around K or I.  I remember coming home from places and scrubbing my lips and the skin around my mouth raw with soapy wet paper towels.  I remember K looking like she had terribly chapped lips/mouth during that time, because I would do the same thing to her.  My mouth looked the same way.  In 2008 a little girl in our town died of influenza and that is when the germaphobia really got bad.  I thought to myself influenza is supposed to be such a harmless illness and a little girl died of it and I just couldn't take any risks anymore with germs.  I remember it was around that time when K was now in preschool and out and about more.  I really started drilling into her to wash her hands well, use hand sanitizier, not touch her face or eyes or mouth with her hands when they weren't clean.  To not stand by children that were coughing.  If her friends were sick, to find someone else to play with.  I would start Lysoling off the covers of library books that she brought home, sometimes even the pages if I could.  I was starting to wash my hands after touching everything....after getting the mail even.  I was concerned that there was a possibility that there could be germs on anything I touched, so nothing was really safe to touch anymore.  That is why I wanted everyone to wash hands when they got home, because then in some sense our house was considered a "safe place".  I started becoming more observant about things around me--mindful of what people were doing around us.  Starting to get more concerned about those who might be coughing/sneezing around us.  Are they covering their mouths?  Do they seem sick?  Not wanting to touch surfaces of things.  Lysoling off doorknobs and remotes.  Wiping my desk keyboard down at work with a Lysol wipe before I started my shift.  Using hand sanitizer after getting gas at the gas station or going into the store.  I also had some more magical thinking issues that started interfering with work, and a lot of "perfectionism OCD".  I had to type things a certain way, or I thought something bad would happen.  If I made a mistake while typing (which I did often, because I type fast and would have to go back and correct myself) I would have to go back to the error and type in the right letter then backspace, and repeat it 7 times.  There was one winter where I was really bad with this, but this is one of the OCD things that I HAVE been able to break (for the most part).  Every once in awhile I will have that urge.  I also wanted my charting notes as complete as possible.  For instance instead of writing "Child has fever and vomiting.  Temp up to 100.5.  Eating poorly.  Low energy", I would write something like this--"Mom says that child has had fever and vomiting.  She has had a fever up to 100.5.  She has been eating poorly.  She has had low energy".  I wanted to have complete sentences.  You can imagine that my productivity has gone down significantly.  I used to be able to manage about 8-9 phone calls/hour.  Now, I average about 4-5.  We also have templates set up with our medical charts, so you basically just push a button and the words you want go in there.  Well those aren't complete sentences and it kind of smashed the notes all together, so I take the time to write out my own notes rather than use the templates, or if I do use the templates, I have to correct them when I am charting.  Also I make sure that the notes are not "running together" and put spaces or breaks to break up the parts of the note, so it looks nicer.  Around this same time I started doing that, I also became obsessed with strep throat.  I don't know if the thought of influenza causing death in a child somehow made me think that any illness could be life threatening, and I did not want my daughter to get strep.  Every time I would do a phone call on a patient, I would go through their "problem list" section of their chart and look to see how many times they had strep.  If I didn't do this, I would be afraid that my daughter would get strep.  This kind of goes into the magical thinking again.  In reality I knew that those two things could not be tied together, however I just HAD to do it.  If she did get strep throat and I hadn't done those checks, it would have been my fault.  This kind of leads into hyperresponsibility with OCD too.  I remember that same winter I hade a tube of lip gloss by my desk, I must have taken it out of my pocket (which is really unusual for me in the first place) and laid it on the counter.  One of the nurses that was taking sick patients back, came back to talk with me and grabbed the lipgloss tube and just was kind of playing with it?  Did I throw that away?  You bet!!!  All I could think of was all the germs she had touched that day and there was no way that I was putting that lip gloss on myself!  With OCD there is very much heightened awareness of what is going on around you.  I am always on the look out for things that could bother me.  Shortly after this, H1N1 flu became a of the biggest flu pandemics the United States has seen.  My mind just literally couldn't handle it at that point.  I remember stopping going to church for a few months.  I wasn't able to take communion--I didn't want someone touching the wafer and putting it in my hand.  I didn't want to be around people.  People weren't safe to me anymore, because any of them could be sick and pass something on to us.  When we did get back to church, I started sitting in the very back row.  At the movies, the same thing.  I did not want to be in crowds of people.  I honestly just wanted to crawl up in a ball and be in a "safe place".  I had a hard time being at work, because one of my co-workers (Nan) was always sick.  She was always coughing and had the worst cough hygiene.  Hacking all over the place and I had to sit 5 feet away from her at work.  It was right around this time that I asked to be moved to another office, and I will always wonder if she thinks I had something against her for that reason.  It was all around this point that I became mysophobic--germaphoibic.  I also at that point had a scare with a breast lump. I was 31 at the time and had felt something in my breast.  I remember going to the doctor and the nurse practitioner that I saw was trying to reassure me, but sent me right away that afternoon for a mammogram.  Something about the look on mher face worried me--it was probably my own anxiety though and my interpretation).  I ended up having an ultrasound and a biopsy done and I was so scared.  I was literally crying through the whole ordeal, convinced that something was wrong with me.The radiology tech knew how nervous I was and a wonderful person she is--she personally called me the next morning to let me know that everything was okay.  Got permission from the doctor to let me know right away.  Thank you, God!  Very shortly after this, I started to movedto more contamination issues also with chemicals, etc.  This all started when my husband was doing more work at his dads farm and working on fixing and painting cars and different things.  He would do mechanic types of things out in our garage, hands getting greasy and filthy.  Back to a prevoius post, one time he used one of my eyeshadow compacts to use as a mirror to see down into his truck engine.  His clothes would be covered in various white pastes and paint.  Even when they went through the washer they did not come out clean.  All of his work clothes were stained.  Underneath his fingernails would be dirty and just very visibly soiled with stuff stuck underneath them.  I can remember when he started spay painting parts in our backyard.  One afternoon he was outside painting and we needed to leave to go to K's end of year kindergarten day.  I remember him walking in the  house and he had his hands covered in green spray paint.  I have to think partly that day he were rushed because you didnt wash his hands at the kitchen sink like he normally would, but he went straight back to the shower and all I could think about was the chemicals/paintaa ll over his hands.  Him getting in the shower and washing his body , just basically contaminating his whole body, rubbing it all into his skin, genitals, etc., getting that stuff all over him.    Now I don't know what he did in that shower.  Maybe he did wash his hands off real well, then took his shower.  But in my mind, that is what I saw.  From that point on I didnt want him touching me. I didn't want to sit on the same furniture or chairs that he was sitting on.  I stopped sitting on the couch because that is what he laid on all the time.  I didn't want to hug him anymore, because I didn't want to be up against his clothes.  Him touching things around the house really started to bother me.  That is about the same time that I discovered he used one of my eyeshadow makeup compacts for something in the garage once.  I saw him throw a dirty garage towel--chamoix--however you spell that--in the dryer and he said he needed it dry, but it was so filthy, and then all I could imagine was our clean clothes being thrown in the dryer following that.  His clothes were so stained with paint and brown filth and grease, that I didn't even want them in the washing machine!  He was also doing some farming and spraying fertilizers and other things then.  Often he would come home late at night and not take a shower and go to bed.  The bed is contaminated.  I was worried what he was toucdhing in the house.  Didn't want those hands on my skin, clothes, personal items.  I started putting food in different areas of the kitchen that he wouldn't look, especially things that had been opened like candy bags, cereal or cookies.  I didn't want his fingers touching anything.  I moved out of the bathroom at that point.  Started using different towels and keeping them in a separate place.  Started having more problems around chemicals at that point.  Seeing him clean the carpet and working carpet cleaner into the carpet with his fingernails, and then me having to tell him to wash his hands.  Seeing him out in the garage and putting dirty flashlights in his mouth.  Seeing his toothbrush on the bathroom counter with a dirty hat sitting right on top of it.  Too many things to even get into.  I just started to feel  he was very dirty.  I certainly didn't want him touching me in an intimate manner.  So we also started to have intimacy problems at that point.  His hands were contaminated and therefore everything he touched became contaminated, including his private parts.  This is really embarssing to talk about, however it is part of the story.  The only way I could be intimate with him is if I took a shower with him, I would actually wash off his genitals, so that I knew that he hadn't touched them.  My hands hadn't been in contact with paint/chemicals, so I felt if I washed his genitals they would be clean and we could be intimate.  Then I didn't want him touching anything on the way back to the bed to "contaminate" his hands, or I wouldn't let him touch me intimately.  Eventually it go to the point where he would take his own shower and I would pop my head in at the end and "wash him up".  I would visually inspect his hands and fingernails before I would let him touch me.  One time I even grabbed a wet wipe and cleaned off his stuff in the bed.  How akward is that?  Talk about killing the mood.  It was awful.  So OCD had robbed us of a sexual relationship too.  After we would be intimate I can remember a few times going in the bathroom and cleaning myself off with a soapy wet cloth, just to remove anything that might be there after we were done.  One thing I wish my husband would have understood at that time is that it wasn't HIM that I didn't want to be with.  I didn't like the feeling of contamination, I didn't like the feeling of what was ON him, and I didn't want it on me or IN me, and I really wish we could have talked more about this then.  I really miss being intimate with my husband.  Sex and kissing.  I really hope to be able to get back to that someday, but I don't think he understands that it will take his help.  It will be a long road, but it can be done.  We were also going through infertility at this time.  Tried for years to conceive.  Got pregnant once throughout that time and had a miscarriage.  Those years were very stressful too.  When I think about what it was about him being contaminated and how it affected our intimacy, I think I was scared that somehow those chemicals and stuff were on his genitals that he used, they would get into my body.  I was scared and I couldn't take the risk.  Eventually just decided we werent going to be intimate.  We weren't communicating about it well either.  Honestly I have become really angry at him for how these contamination issues have affected me over the years.. I would guess  about 50-75% of my OCD currently is related to him somehow and it makes me so mad!!!  Its not that he gave me OCD.  I know that.  Its that these things I've seen him do have gotten stuck in my mind to where I don't trust him.  I don't think he has ever considered how what he does affects me and in turn our relationsip.  I think because we were so emotionally disconnected, that the OCD became an even greater wedge.  The hardest part is I have never felt any understanding, empathy or support from him in regard to the OCD.  The only emotions that I have seen come our from him are anger, frustration, annoyance and impatience.  The sad thing is that this all makes the OCD worse.  The stress in our marriage, your lack of involvement and not being in tune with me at all.  I started doing a lot of reading on OCD at this time and really educating myself when the contamination issues started up.  Learning about the disorder, and treatment options.  Reading personal stories of those who have it.  Reading books on self treatment and biographies on those with the disorder.  When you have OCD your mind is kind of like a sponge....I really believe that you can develop behaviors just by reading about others.  The power or suggestion is pretty strong.  I would start reading about other peoples struggles and think to myself..."You know that is gross.  I can't believe I never thought of that before".  And then boom...I had more and more things that would bother me.  That was about the time I started having trouble eating at restaurants, because I read about a model who had OCD so severely that she would not eat off of restaurant silverware because of all the mouths that had touched them.  Also I heard of several others that would use disposable silverware or take their own dishes to restaurants when they ate out.   And I got that stuck in my mind, and I still cannot stand eating out at restaurants.  That is why I get burgers or sandwiches when we have to go to a restaurant.  One time we went to a family members wedding out of town and I brought 2 forks for K and I and swapped out our silverware at the wedding (even had permission from my therapist at that time to do that) and no one ever knew the difference.  I have found ways to cope with it.  Not great ways,  but its all I can do at this point.  Its so out of control. I don't want to eat out anymore because I don't know if I trust others to handle food properly.  I won't eat at family gatherings because I have seen  many things that disturb me. One time someone tested the temp of some corn from the microwave, put the spoon in their mouth, then put it back in to stir the corn.  And that same spoon was used to servce the food.  Also people in general don't always have good hygiene.  I've seen people change diapers and go directly to the food table.  People lick their fingers as they are serving food.  It's just too much for me.  I realize that just because these things happen doesn't mean that someone will get sick, but it is just to much for my mind to handle.  These have been a lot of the main things that have led me to where my OCD is today.  What I wish my husband could understand is that I have worked on my OCD through the years.  It is just the things he can't see, because he doesn't even know I struggle with them to begin.  I've really tried to work on my checking behaviors, and magical thinking.  With those things I KNOW its logic vs. emotion.  I know that that the way I type or read certainly can't affect something completely related, but my anxiety is so high if I don't do these things.  It takes a lot of work.  Even just workose things, I'm mentally exhausted at the end of the day.  I also deal with some scruppolosity issues too.  I am really concerned about offending God.  There used to be an author that I read and I found out she is Jewish.   Now I don't know a lot about the Jewish religion, but from what I understand, most Jews do believe that Jesus lived, but don't believe he is the Messiah.  I am a Christian and believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and I feel like I will offend God if I read a book by someone that does not accept Jesus as Lord.  I also will not watch anything with bad language or taking God's name in vain or using Jesus's name inappropriately.  I don't want to offend God.  Right now I rented the movie the Aviator, which is the story of Howard Hughes who of course suffered severely from contamination OCD.  I wanted to see this movie for this reason, to see how his OCD was portrayed.  I am having a really hard time getting through the movie to the language they use.  There are also some other authors I used to read that use poor choices in language and I have stopped reading them too.  There are only two authors that I read right now, and one of themn is solely a Christian fiction author and she is wonderful.  I am so thankful to have been introduced to her books.  I won't watch R rated movies, and have a hard time with some PG-13 ones even too.  Thankfully Christian music, books and movies are getting to be so much more easy to find now....and this is a good thing that has come out of this.  It has really helped me   I feel happy to be reading and watching and listening to these messages, not just because of the OCD, but because I have developed a closer relationship with Jesus over the years and I want to seek out these movies, and books. They make me happy and have excellent messages.  I want to be focused in on these things.  I also deal with, in the scrupolosity subtype, moral issues.  So many times I will go to the store and they will undercharge me for things.  That really bothers me.  I have taken receipts back and paid the "right price" because oterwise it fels like I'm ripping the store off, even though they were the ones that didn't charge me correctly.  One time I bought some stuff from a store that had a spend $100, get $50 off coupon.  I had only spent $99 and some odd cents and they applied the coupon.  That bothered me, so I took everything back the next day and purchased something else small, so that I knew I had reached the $100 limit.  The clerk looked at me a little oddly, but they were very nice about it.  I just couldn't feel right about the situation until I fixed it, which meant going back and paying that extra dollar.  Then the weird thing is it happened again and when I went back in and used another coupon another time, the clerk remembered me and said not to stress about it, she remembered me from last time, and I was close enough to the $100 mark it was okay.  Well, of courseit wasn't okay.  It was the same situation that stressed me out the last time;Well I wasn't about to return stuff the next day again, so on the way out of the store I stopped and bought something else so that I knew I had been over that dollar mark again.  I've been having a lot of problems with things just touching me lately.  If my body brushes up against something I will need to go wipe that part of my body off right away.  If my dog licks me on my knee, I'll go wash it off.  I don't like sticky or wet substances on me (part of the contamination OCD, not sure what it is and that bothers me).  My dog used to get on the counters and lick dishes and I've had all sorts of issues with that issues with that.  Taking a shower is hard for me because if my knee or elbow brushes up against the shower stall or the shower curtain, I have to wash that off.  Ever since the "gasoline incident" about a month ago, I continue to comb shampoo through my hair and not touch my body/hair directly when I am showering.  So now I am worried if my comb hits the shower stall, I've had to stop and clean it off .  Also I get worried that my hair might touch the shower curtain, which is not clean to me.  The other day I was in Wal-Mart getting groceries and I had a package of new underwear in my shopping cart.  Someone walked past me in the aisle with a giant container of Roundup (weed killer) in their cart.  All of a sudden I had this tremendous anxiety and I was worried the Roundup would somehow contaminate the package of underwear.  So I went and got a different package of underwear.  I know logically it doesn't make any sense.  After all I didn't feel that the clothes I was wearing were contaminated, so how could a new package of underwear be?  Well, here's why.  Because the Roundup, the chemical, was a trigger for me.  I saw the Roundup, I didn't like it, and my next thought was seeing the package of underwear there, and having to do something about it.  I knew there was no way I could take that underwear home, wash it and wear it.  Shortly after this I started thinking about how many times chemicals are actually in the shopping cart in the shopping carts of other people, and how do I know that the shopping cart my food is in hasn't hadRoundup or some other type of fertilizer or chemical in it at some point?  Normally I do most of my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, because it is less expensive.  Last week I couldn't do it.  I figured I had a "safer " chance of something like chemicals not being in the cart previously if I went to Hy-Vee grocery store, as opposed to if I went to Wal-Mart where people may be more apt to buy other non-food items.  I am mindful whose line I go through at the store too.  If someone ahead of me has chemicals and I can see them on the conveyor belt, I won't go through that line.  I feel like once the checker touches that stuff and then checks out my itme, it will contaminate my groceries/items.  If someone ahead of me has raw meat, I won't go behind them, because I am concerned that the checker will then get the raw meat juices all over my groceries/items.  Now I know that I have no idea what they touch before I get up there, and the chances are probably pretty high that they have touched chemicals or raw meat from other customers at many points during their shift, but "out of sight out of mind", I just deal with it.  If I can actually SEE it, then it bothers me.