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Monday, March 3, 2014

Update on Progress

Sorry I haven't posted for awhile.  I would like to say it is because my OCD got a lot better since last September, but in reality the opposite is true.  I have continued to spiral further and further into the world of OCD and many of the issues I started having last summer have really started consuming large periods of time and make it quite difficult to leave the house.  All of the issues are kind of interconnected, and I want to talk about all of these issues in detail over the course of several posts.  I hope to start posting very frequently again as I did in the beginning of this blog, as I actually find this a good "outlet" and a place where I can be very honest and open with what is going on.  I still continue to struggle with all of the same things I was previously, however my major issues right now are:

1.  Clean clothes/laundry rituals
2.  Not wanting to be away from the house if I think my husband will be here by himself (because I don't trust what he is doing in the house when I can't see him).
3.  Eating/Preparing food
4.  Severe handwashing

I think I will start with one of the easier problems to explain.  If you go back to previous posts, I had an incident last August where gasoline spilled all over my right hand.  It has affected the way I shower, eat, and prepare food as I am unable to use my hands to touch my body or put food in my mouth.  I know that logically gasoline can not possibly be on my skin still after 6 months, but I can not help myself.  I will not eat with my hands anymore.  I use a fork for everything.  I can not touch food that I prepare, so I buy food preparation gloves at the store and if I have to touch anything I use the food prep gloves over my hands.  Sometimes I will take plastic sandwich bags and just turn those inside out and use those kind of like a glove, if I just need to pull a piece of bread out of a wrapper.  If I am eating a snack like candy or cereal, I'll just put in a cup and kind of tilt the cup into the mouth to get the food in there.  I will eat sandwiches, chips, whatever you name it....with silverware.  I will not use my  hands.  One time we did go out to eat and of course if you also look back at previous posts you will find that I will not use restaurant silverware.  I ordered a pizza and just ate down to the crust so that nothing that touched my hands or fingers would be eaten.  Well as you can imagine it gets expensive to buy food prep gloves all of the time, plus I don't want my husband to see me using them or he will start asking me about that....and I try to just hide stuff from  him, because he doesn't get it at all.  I am also so mentally exhausted from this OCD that quite honestly I just don't have the energy to cook anymore.  I do not like eating out at all.  For awhile we were alternating between my 3 "safe places" to eat, and I found that we were eating out a lot, and that makes me uncomfortable too.  I would rather make my own food, but I am truly so exhausted at the end of the day that sometimes I just can't do it.  There were some really bad times over the last few months that my daughter and I might just eat frozen waffles for dinner.  I used to really enjoy baking/cooking.  Now I just find it too difficult.  I also throw a lot of food away because I feel it is contaminated.  For example if the jar of salsa I'm using doesn't open quite right and I don't hear that definite "click" of the button popping, then I toss it out.  If in doubt, toss it out.  That is kind of my motto with a lot of things.  If I use a bag of shredded cheese for a meal and have some leftover, I usually put in back in the refrigerator, but I know I won't use it again.  I end up with several packages of 1/2 used cheese and then toss them all out.  I am too scared that my husband might have opened it up and used it for something....even though I know he didn't.  He never cooks, and I don't want him to.  I don't want him touching food and he knows that.  Plus either my daughter or I are always in the living room watching him so we would know if he took something out and used it.  My mind just can't handle it though...the what if's.  I do the same thing with milk.  I started laying our milk down sidewas on a shelf and putting things in front of it, to hide it in a sense.  I didn't like leaving it in the milk holder on the side of the fridge because then every time he opened the fridge his arm would brush up against it and I wouldn't want to drink it.  I have to devise clever ways to keep him from touching things, but I do what I need to do.  And that is where I am right now.  Also when I make food I often leave it on the oven but put a big piece of foil over it so he can't touch it or brush up against it when he walks by.  But a lot of times I will end up throwing the leftovers away because I'm afraid that somehow he got it, even though I know he didn't, because I was watching the whole time.  Then I get upset because I don't have lunch the next day, and I am resentful of him, but can't tell him why, because he doesn't understand the OCD.  The other way that the gasoline contamination has really affected me is that I can not touch my body in the shower, which makes showering quite a challenge.  I wrote a post about this last fall, and am pleased to say that about a week ago I did make some progress in this area!  I would get to the point of dreading my shower so much that I would literally sit on the couch and not even want to go into the bathroom.  But I couldn't just not take a shower because that would make me feel dirty.  But I knew as soon as I got in there it would take me awhile.  For awhile I was coming shampoo through my hair instead of actually lathering it up with my hands.  The thought is so gross to me, because I know my hair really wasn't getting clean, and I did this for 6 months straight.  I also used antibacterial liquid soap on my face which must have gotten caked into my hairline, and one day about 1 1/2 weeks ago I noticed orange crusty stuff stuck to my scalp, which is probably soap residue from my scalp never getting cleaned or rinsed properly over the course of 6 months.  So I felt strength that day and with God's help I was able to shampoo my hair and lather it up for the first time in 6 months.  I only used my left hand (because that wasn't the hand to get gasoline right hand got that...but I figured both were "contaminated" after washing them and scrubbing them against each other after the incident and also my right hand has warts on it...probably due to the OCD and frequent handwashing)....but progress is progress and I have to celebrate that because that was really hard to do.  I literally cried as I was washing my hair because I was so filled with anxiety, then I rinsed and lathered again...did it 3 times and I felt so good about my progress after that.  Sounds like such a ridiculous thing, but this is something I've avoided for 6 months now and I have continued to wash my hair "normally" since then, and my hair actually feels clean again.  It has made my showering ritual somewhat less stressful, as the combing the shampoo through my hair (and even washing the comb off before I used it) took a lot of time because I would do it 3 times each  night.  I still have not been able to use my hands to wash my body off, so I put a box of Kleenex outside the shower and grab a handful of those, squirt the body wash onto the Kleenex and use it as a washcloth basically.  I told my daugher (now almost 11 years old) that I had some exciting news and was able to wash my hair normally, and she had the biggest smile on her face.  I could tell she was really proud of me.  I love her so much, she has been so incredibly supportive to me, and oftentimes I think about the crazy stuff she has to endure with my OCD and she loves me back so much.  She has had so much normalcy taken out of her life because of me, and she never holds it against me.  I am hoping that eventually I can get to the point where I can run body wash over my body with my  hands again and eat with my hands and prepare food with my hands...but I will take it one step at a time.  The hairwashing a good victory for me, and gave me hope that I can keep fighting this, albeit one step at a time.  That is what frustrates me so much about my husband.  Sometimes I don't know if he thinks I am just supposed to face it all and "get over OCD" in a short period of time or what.  I don't think he understands that I literally have hundreds of rituals and things I avoid so even though I am constantly working on stuff, he never sees it.  He just sees the big picture, that I still have OCD.  He does not realize the mental torment it causes me every day.  I know that OCD will be a part of my life, and I just have to keep fighting and make sure that I it is not winning all the time, which it has been for a LONG time.......  Ever notice how expensive OCD is too?  My goodness.  I will talk about this in a future post too.  I probably do not even want to know how much money I spend on OCD supplies (sounds ridiculous, but it's true) every month.  The food handling gloves for one, the boxes of Kleenex, tons of antibacterial soap and paper towels.  Also clothing and dishes and any other items I feel are "contaminated".  I will get into this a lot later.  My  laundry is probably THE biggest issue I have right now and pretty much ties me to the house.  I plan on posting about this next.  It is also very expensive as I have thrown out countless articles of clothing over the past few months to the point where I am purchasing new clothes constantly and throwing them out for various reasons, sometimes even entire loads of laundry.  I would guess I have spent close to $1000 dollars on clothing/underwear/socks, etc. over the past several months...and these are just basic clothes, nothing fancy or expensive.  More to come soon.

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