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Monday, June 23, 2014

"Safe zones" in OCD

Question for the day, that I've been pondering for awhile....If I'm able to function in a "dirty world", and I'm able to wear "dirty clothes" at certain points during the day, then why do I feel the need to create a "clean world" for myself at home or in certain places?"  Besides clothing contamination and endless loads of laundry, one of my biggest time consumers with OCD currently is keeping my "safe zones" clean and contamination free.  There are starting to become fewer and fewer places where I feel clean in my own house.  My house has always been kind of a safe haven for me...besides the storage areas in our basement, and my husbands bedroom.  Up until very recently, I felt that if all of us washed our hands when we got home from being out in public, then the house was pretty safe.  Of course I still have very frequent handwashing after touching doorknobs or remotes or anything of my husbands in particular (such as his clothing).   I really like to keep my things safe anymore...in particular so my husband doesn't touch anything.  Our house is built with the master bath and bedroom on one side of the house, and on the other side is my daughters room, a spare bedroom, and the main bathroom.  The kitchen, dining area and family room are all centralized.  Then we have our basement, where I really don't spend a lot of time...other than being in our home office down there.  As I previously mentioned, I really used to feel pretty clean once inside my house.  This is not the case anymore.  I am becoming increasingly concerned with my "safe zones", which basically are my daughters room, the spare upstairs bedroom (which is where I keep all of my stuff), our main bathroom, and our loveseat in our family room.  I have some "mediocre" safe zones which kind of act as a mediator between the dirty "outside world" and my safe zones.  I'm just going to go into a little information as to why I want to keep these areas safe, and what I do--my compulsions and rituals--to keep them "safe".

1.  My daughters room--My daughter is 11 and her and I share a bedroom.  I stopped sleeping with my husband in our master bedroom pretty shortly after she was born.  At first it started off as more convenience (with middle of the night feedings), but then the contamination issues started to bother me to where I couldn't sleep in the bed.  (More on that in a future post).  Her bed is clean to me and I like that feeling.  I keep most of my clothing in her bedroom closet (because I feel it's the safest place in the house that my husband won't go).
2.  The upstairs spare bedroom--this is where I keep all of my other stuff.  Since I line dry all of my daughter and I's clothing, this is the room where I keep my garment racks and box fans going, and dry all of our laundry.  It is also where I keep some of our clothing in that closet, and where I keep basically anything I don't want my husband to touch (I keep shoes, shopping purchases, it is just a "free for all" room right now with all my stuff, to kep it safe.
3.  The main bathroom--only my daughter and I use this bathroom.

(The whole side of the house with my daughters room, spare bedroom, and bathroom are pretty much my biggest safe area.  I don't want my husband back there, and I'm starting to try to explain this to him).

4.  The loveseat in our family room--we have furniture upstairs and downstairs, but I only feel that one couch cushion on the loveseat upstairs is "safe".  My daughter and I sit here and my husband is always on the other couch or downstairs.  Only one seat on the loveseat is "safe" because my dog has jumped on the other side and other things such are remotes are always on that cushion and it just feels dirty.  Also other people have sat there and that bothers me.  My daughter and I are very small people, so we actually can both fit on one seat of the couch.

I used to feel that my spot at the kitchen table was safe, but now I've had trouble eating at our kitchen table for a month (see recent post about the "chair fiasco").  To review though, as my husband walks by the table to look outside he sometimes puts his hands on the back of the chairs that my daughter and I sit in, and most recently he put his hand directly on the chair seat of my daughters, right after he cleaned up our dogs urine mess.  Also a point I didn't make in that post but is also part of the issue, is that our puppy is a horribly messy drinker, so she drips water all around our table, and of course my obsessed mind starts talking me into the notion that it could be urine (because she does occasionally have accidents too).  I just don't want to sit at the kitchen table anymore.  The other day I did decide to spend the time cleaning up the kitchen and the chairs so I could sit there.  I asked my husband if he could try to be mindful of not touching my chair for awhile, so that I could sit at the table for now.  I know that eventually as I work on exposures, I will need to probably let him actually touch my chair and then sit in it, but I'm not anywhere close to ready for that yet.  We had a talk about my OCD the other day (which will need to be a series of converstations, but at least we got started on it).  He has been careful not to touch it, and so I am happy to say that for the past few days I have been able to eat meals at the kitchen table again, and this has been a very good thing for our family, to have this table time together.

My car used to be a safe place for me, but now I'm finding that since its the "mediator" between my clean and dirty world, I am very obsessed with trying to keep my carseat as clean as possible.  After I've been out in public I feel the need to wash it off.  Especially if I am worried that someone brushes up against me, I feel that my carseat then becomes dirty because my clothes touch the carseat, and now I need to wash off the seat before I get in it again.  Sometimes I will keep the same outfit on hand for several days at a time, and whenever I leave the house I'll just change into that.  That way it's already "dirty" and my carseat is already "contaminated", so after a few days I wash off the carseat, and then make sure to be wearing different, clean clothes the next time.  I'm almost borderline paranoid at times now too...what if my husband got in my car and sat in the seat sometime when I wasn't watching?  The crazy thing is this isn't even possible because we only have one set of keys to that car and I keep them hidden in the spare bedroom, "my safe place" and I keep my car doors locked all of the time.  But of course the OCD doesn't believe the car is locked.  I have to stand there everytime I get in my car and try to open the door several times before I've convinced myself that it is truly locked, and that he couldn't have gotten in there.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I also feel contaminated when out in public a lot so I end up washing my carseat off with soap and water, and then make sure that I am wearing different clothes the next time I get in my car.  I'm having a lot of issues with keeping my car clean now.

Here is something that may sound funny...but it's really not.  My couch gets a bath at least once, sometimes 2-3 times/day.  I can't stand the thought if my dog brushed up against the couch or if my husband might have, and then my mind gets really irrational sometimes and starts worrying, "what if my husband got up during the night and went and sat on my couch, on my "safe place".  As soon as I get up in the morning I let my dog outside and let her run around for about 30 minutes.  Then after my husband leaves for work, I put the dog back in her kennel and give the couch a bath, before I can sit on for the day.  Then I know it's clean.  This consists of using soapy paper towels and I wash and rinse of the couch seat that my daughter and I sit on.  I NEVER used to do this until about 2 months ago.  To my knowledge my husband has NEVER sat on the loveseat, other than to simply test it out when it was first delivered to our house over a year ago.  I don't remember cleaning it at that point, which now bothers me in retrospect.  The fact that he didn't sit on the couch used to be good enough for me.  But now its..."what if he sat in it?  what if he got up during the night and sat on it?  what if he did something to it?  what if the dog jumped up there and I didn't see it happen?  what if the dog brushed her toy against the couch cushion?"  I could go on and on with my thoughts.  One day this just got stuck in my mind and I had to start cleaning the couch in order to feel I could sit there.  And now the compulsion is VERY strongly ingrained.  Only "inside clothes" can be worn while sitting on the couch.  If I leave the house in my car or just to walk down to get the mail, I have to put on my "outside clothes" on, then when I come in I have to be wearing "inside clothes" before I sit on my couch.  Usually if I have been out running errands I will just keep my "outside clothes" on and stand up if I need to.  But then once I'm showered I put on clean "'inside clothes" and can then sit on the couch.

I used to be able to sit in our computer/office chair, even despite the fact that my husband would occasionally sit there (he never did very often though because usually he is on his ipad or phone).  A couple of years ago I started putting down  a shirt or barrier on the chairseat after he was on it, and then I would keep using that to sit on until I noticed him on the computer again...then I would get a new shirt and put it down.  I feel that his truck is so dirty from his hobbies out at the farm that his clothes are always contaminated.  Even his "clean clothes" that he wears to his normal office job probably get dirty when he sits in his truck, since he wears dirty clothes in there too.  One day he came home and was looking at pictures on our computer about 6 months ago and I saw him sitting in the office chair.  I wasn't sure what to do at that point.  I found a comforter in the closet and felt that it was pretty thick and a good barrier so that worked for awhile, but then he went in that room frequently and it bothered me that  I never knew if he was sitting in that chair.  I ended up buying a barstool to sit on, but that didn't work well.  I work from home and it kept me at too high of a position to be comfortable typing.  For awhile I just stood there for 4-8 hour shifts while I worked.  I bought a folding chair about a month ago and have been using that since.  I now keep it stored in the spare bedroom where he can't see it (or even realize that I'm using it).  But I don't like sitting on the seat so I keep folded paper towels or some type of barrier still on top of the chair while I'm sitting there.  This just sounds so crazy sometimes.  Often when I look at what I'm writing on this blog, I can't even believe that these are my words.  This is what I do with my life.  It makes me feel so sad.  I just don't feel comfortable anywhere anymore.  When I go out in public, I'm constantly obsessing over if someone brushed up against me at the store, are my clothes ruined?  Did my shirt brush up against the shopping cart handle?  I really have thrown clothes away for both purposes before.

It just seems like I'm worried about the contamination spreading again.  And I'm more aware of where I've been sitting and not wanting to transfer that to someplace else.  For instance, I really am not able to sit anywhere in public anymore, because the obsessions are, "who sat there?  what were they wearing?  were their clothes clean?  did a bird poop on the chair outside?"  Then I don't want to take those "unknown substances or contamination" and spread them to my safe house.  I really avoid sitting anywhere in public anymore, which makes it impossible to even go anywhere...a restaurant, movie theater, church, park bench, someone else's house, etc....because then I obsess that whatever the unknown contamination is on my clothes are permanently stuck there.  For example, if I did go to a movie theater...then I'm sitting in a seat where thousands of other people have sat, in who knows what kind of clothes...then I can not even imagine coming home and sitting on my couch in those same clothes.  Because now the contamination is on my couch.  Then when I change my clothes the couch contamination is going to spread to my clothes.  Then the contamination on my clothes will spread to my bed.  I read in a book recently that when everything is contaminated, then nothing is contaminated . Sounds easy enough, right?  But it's easier said than done.  And the truth is, I don't want to do it.  I like my safety net.  That makes it really hard to proceed in exposures in this area.  Feeling contaminated through my clothing is probably my highest anxiety situation right now.

Basically, I'm rambling once again....(what's new, right?).  I apologize for all of my ramblings, but in a way it helps me document stuff, and I start exploring ideas and thoughts too.  Which takes me back to my original question at the beginning of my post.  If I'm able to function in a "dirty world", and I'm able to wear "dirty clothes" at certain points, then why do I feel the need to create a "clean world" for myself at home?  I really don't get this.  It seems like I'm to the point where anything on me, whether its filth, dirth, germs, dust, or anything at all......just makes me filthy and I want to be clean.  It's like I can tolerate it for awhile, but then I must have a place I can be clean.  My bed is the ultimate clean zone to me.  My bed (actually that is my daughter's bed) must be clean.  And I think the problem lies that if I keep "spreading" contamination as I move from chair to couch to bed, then my bed will never be truly clean.  I know it makes no sense, it's so hard to understand.  Anyone else struggle with this, and what have you done to merge your "clean" and "dirty" worlds together?

23 comments:

  1. Hey Hopeful,
    I was reading this and some of the scenarios you were describing, I thought, "I cannot even imagine", but then I remembered I actually can. First of all, congrats for eating at the kitchen table!!
    One thing that has helped me is to think long-term: are you going to spend the next X number of years of your life not being able to sit in public places? What so you do at a wedding reception or lunch with a friend or if someone gets stuck in the ER for eight hours? It seems like by working on this one (I'm not sure what your hierarchy scale looks like as to how hard this is for you), that it would open a ton of doors and alleviate a significant amount of worry. It sounds like this is one of those things that has a high pay off.
    About the car: I completely understand the clean world and dirty world. Let me say though, that Everytime you drive, you are going out in public, right? Unless you are just driving in a field?
    About the couch: there is something that I use when I get ocd thoughts and it's to recognize when I phrase something as "what if?" EVERYTHING can be a "what-if". That one little phrase is a telltale sign that this is ocd and that is where the thought process is going. So, if I get that kind of phrasing, I know immediately what is happening and am usually able to defeat it. Also, one thing that might work in your favor is recognizing which are the more recent rituals--like the washing the couch--what changed to make that an obsession over the last eight weeks? Since it was recent enough to remember your thoughts before it started, can you try and reverse what your obsessions have been telling you about this, remembering that you were fine two months ago?
    Hope this helps,
    C

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  2. Thanks, C! I completely agree that if I could work on some of this safe vs. dirty zone stuff, that it kind of goes hand in hand with clothing contamination for me and would open a lot of doors. This is probably one of my most highest anxiety situations though, and I don't know where to start. I know you've had a lot of issues with clothing contaminated (and I think we feel its contaminated for different reasons), but maybe the exposure process is the same for both. Do you remember what you started doing to tackle this issue? I know you've made so much progress, so I don't want to necessarily do what I need to, in order to get better...but I know it's the only way to actually get better....I would love to hear any ideas or things that you tried along the way! :)

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  3. i read in one book, If everything is contaminated, then theres nothing to contaminate. Sounds logical, but scary for OCD sufferers like me

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  4. By the way, im new to your blog and thank you for sharing your experience.

    I dont know if you have started your treatment already. I developed my OCD a few months ago and have been on meds for 8 weeks now. My doctor also ordered me to see a therapist for my CBT.

    I wish you/us all the best!

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    1. I totally agree that it sounds logical, but is scary. Are you referring to Jonathon Grayson's book, "Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?" I actually referred to that phrase in my post too, but I have a hard time coming to terms with that. Thanks for reading my blog! I am only doing self-treatment at this post. I really commend you for getting on top of your OCD right away! If you have just developed OCD in the last few months, it is wonderful that you are starting meds and treatment right away. I think your chance for recovery is great, before you get deeply ingrained in your OCD habits. Best of luck to you as well! Hope you keep reading, and stay in contact! :)

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    2. *I meant to write self treatment at this time (not at this post)!!

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  5. dear hopeful, you actually inspired me after reading your posts. ocd is already taking a lot of my time and keeping me occupied even at work. not to mention it widens its territory as it discovers new situations.

    you remind me of a mother featured in "complete guide to ocd disorder" by rob wilson, david veale. she also kept their house contamination free because she feared her daughter getting sick, and her therapy included "contaminating" everything in the house that no safe-zone was left. she eventually got cured!

    it would be impossible to achieve a "sterile" environment if youre living alone what more if youre living with your biggest contaminant. so, needless to say, i really hope you get in touch with a therapist. im disappointed at myself already because i should have seen one 2 months ago but my meds have not started to kick it at that time. btw, i just started to feel the effect of my meds on the 7th week after starting it. im using citalopram. it gives me more control of the compulsion though i still have a long way to go to get back to my real self.

    i also found a hypnotherapist in town, i think i might give it a try. do you know anyone whos been to hypnosis?

    looking forward to read your self-treatment post!

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  6. hi there, just purchased a 30 min. self-hypnosis mp3 online. i think this is more appropriate for mothers but i can apply the principle to myself. lemme know if youre interested and i can arrange to send a copy to you. there are also freebies on youtube, but i found this one extra useful because it conditions the mind why being a germ freak harms your child.

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  7. Hmm...interesting, I would be interested in trying it out if you have a link to it or something. Do you mostly have contamination issues, or what are your primary issues? Do you have children? I know you mentioned you had started meds too. Citalopram, right? Interestingly that is what my general practitioner wanted to put me on a couple of years ago (mostly for depression at that time, I was too ashamed to talk about the OCD issues at that point, but did tell her that I did have some OCD issues). She had indicated that Citalopram works well for OCD, so I'm wondering if you're finding it more helpful, as far as just reducing the urge to compulse? Any side effects? I commend you for getting on top of this...the deeper in it goes, the more ingrained it becomes. I think that is where I'm "stuck", and the thought of proceeding with some real good exposure therapy terrifies me!

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  8. hi hopeful, sure, do you have an email i could use to send the file/link to?

    i have contamination issue and fear of germs.

    in as far as the citalopram goes, i started to take 10 mg, and my doc increased to 20 mg after 5 weeks. this med usually takes many weeks before the effect becomes noticeable. causes insomnia, but my doc also prescribed something for that. take note, citalopram is not an anxiety drug thus i take .25 mg of xanax daily.

    regarding citaloprams effect on the urges, yes theyre less intense now unlike before. since i have already picked up ocd rituals, i started to notice some of them seem to be mere habits now than urges. i have less "sensation" now of not getting "clean enough" and therefore spend less time in the shower and hand-washing.

    like you, im also afraid of therapy, thats why i researched on less painful alternative and found hypnosis. hopefully, i would be brave enough to attend my first session on monday (fingers crossed). if hypnosis doesnt work, then maybe i would be ready by then for CBT-ERP. i really want to beat ocd soon before it changes my life.

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  9. I wanted to scroll down even before I finished reading. I want to thank you. I've been suffering with OCD for 18 years. I feel very alone, hopeless and helpless. I've had times where I contemplated suicide. I see I'm not alone even if I feel I am. Thank you.

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  10. I wanted to scroll down even before I finished reading. I want to thank you. I've been suffering with OCD for 18 years. I feel very alone, hopeless and helpless. I've had times where I contemplated suicide. I see I'm not alone even if I feel I am. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Michael! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and comment. You are definitely not alone. It seems like we are though, doesn't it? I too have felt very overwhelmed and alone, but this blog has helped a ton in connecting with others that struggle with this. I hope that you are not currently contemplating suicide. Please, please get help if you are. That is heartwrenching to hear that. And I truly want to talk with others that struggle with this, so if you ever would like to email outside of this blog just to feel like you can chat with somebody that understands this, I am more than happy to provide you with my email address. Just let me know. I have a couple of others that I email with too, and it really does help!

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  11. Hello, I've been reading your symptoms and my symptoms mirror yours almost identically. I know this post is old...how are things going ?happy New Years,Ajay

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    1. Hi anonymous! Thanks for reading and for the comment. I am so sorry to hear that you deal with this disorder as well. If your symptoms mimic mine, then I am sure that you have felt overwhelmed by your OCD at times. Maintaining safe zones, as you know, is a lot of work!! Even though this post is old, I still deal with this quite a bit. I have managed to get rid of many of my compulsions since this post, but safe zones is still one of my top 2 issues. It's hard to get rid of the safety zones. But in order to get rid of the OCD someday, I know that eventually I will have to learn to let those go. I just haven't been able to do it yet. To merge my dirty and clean words, and live like everyone else does. It is so hard. Are you going through any form of treatment? Happy New Year to you as well! Let's hope that we can both improve our OCD this year :)

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  13. No treatment. my ocd started only about a year ago, probably after my panic attacks started couple years ago.its been an ongoing battle with lingering anxiety,but I seemed help from a psychiatrist and got put on Zoloft and Buspar which kept my panic attacks at bay but I believe made my ocd come out of its shell.i also saw a therapist about my panic attacks,but not about my Ocd...but if I had to choose I would rather have ocd rather then those dreaded panic attacks anyday. I have been considering calling my therapist and seeing if she does ERP or finding someone that does...bc i don't have the motivation to do Self treatment with ERP,I need guidance. A little bit about me...I'm 33 yo, single father of a beautiful 18 month old, a Pharmacist. I would very much like to work on our ocd together in this new year!

    -Ajay

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    1. Hi Ajay! That is so interesting that your OCD started after you had panic attacks. As I also remember having panic attacks at the onset of my OCD. Yeah, I know what you mean...the panic attacks are awful. I'm a nurse--so we are both in the medical field :) I didn't think I would have the motivation to do self guided ERP either, but then I hit absolute rock bottom with my OCD about 3 years ago. My husband all but threatened to leave if things didn't improve with my OCD, so I felt pushed to do something about it. He has actually worsened my condition I believe, and it is really difficult living with someone like that. Our marriage is extremely dysfunctional and unhealthy (as I have written many posts about this as well). He is contaminated to me as well which makes me even further feel I have to protect my safety zones at home. I knew that I didn't want a therapist guiding me through this, so I made the decision to start working on it on my own...and surprisingly I have made a lot of progress. Have been able to do lots of things again that I wasn't able to previously. Sometimes I look back and I'm mad at myself for letting it get this out of hand. To be honest though, I think in regard to working on exposures involving my husband (and feeling like his not contaminated), I probably would need a therapist. There is deep emotional trauma from our marriage that fuels my OCD in regard to him. So it complicates that even further. I look forward to hearing updates from you! I know you can do this! It is oftentimes hard work to improve the OCD, but I promise you it is SO worth it! OCD itself can be do draining day after day. It will be so worth it for you and your daughter :)

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    2. I have come to look forward to our conversations on this blog every night ! A nurse?...I believe our professions which involve constantly sanitizing after entering and exiting patient rooms have some involvement in our ice (I work in a hospital). What self guided treatments did u use ?i want to try what u did,considering your success in it. It really helps to be able to talk to someone that is experiencing ocd, as others cannot relate. I feel like odd is a plaque that keeps spreading and spreading to different areas of my life...from taking a shower to having to wash my daughters hands and feet before sitting on the bed,etc etc. my daughter sleeps in my bed as well. you're right,ocd is very exhausting and time consuming. I believe my ocd involves my indifferences I have with my parents and having a daughter and career change ...literally three life changing events. Anyways, hope to hear from u soon!

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  14. Hi Ajay! I actually don't work in the hospital. I used to, a long time ago. I have worked in a doctors office, and now I do telephone nursing, which I am thankfully able to do from home. So I have zero patient contact, which really helps. I think a lot of things set my OCD in motion too...after I had my daughter, who is now 13, I became very germ obsessed and didn't want her to get sick. I didn't get really bad with the OCD though until she was about 4. I remember one of the first things I started doing was Lysol wiping off her library books she got from preschool. I would also wipe off her mouth and nose with antibacterial soap and water, so much that her lips/skin would be so red/chapped. I know that it was not rational at all, but I felt I had to get the germs off from being around people that were coughing at her school. It made me so anxious to think that was there for her to breathe in and make her sick. It is interesting how OCD morphs through the years. Thankfully I don't do those things anymore, but the OCD just changes. Just when I've tackled one thing, it seems like there is something else. But definitely my safe zones and keeping distance from my husband are my top 2 issues. I don't sleep with my daughter anymore, I stopped that this summer because she was getting older, and I knew it was really strange at that age. But I will absolutely not sleep with my husband. As far as treating my OCD, I just sat down one day and made a list of all of my issues. I read a lot of different OCD books. Brain Lock is a good one. Also Jonathan Grayson has a good OCD book, I can't remember off the top of my head what it is called. I kind of made my own "hierarchy" as they suggest you do. Then I started doing lower level exposures and worked my way up. Everything seemed like a level 100 when I started, but I was surprised that I was able to work my way through them. The anticipation of the exposure was always worse than the actual event. Most things were much easier to do, than I thought they would be. Sometimes I would get stuck and I would think to myself "there is no way I can do any of this stuff left on my list. It's all too anxiety provoking", but then I would just pick the one that I thought I could start with, and then go with it. Sometimes I think I'm doing better only because I've lived with this condition so long, that I've learned how to hide it, and be creative about getting around things. Such as having "indoor clothes" and "outdoor clothes" for an example. I have so many ways I've designed my life around OCD, so that it seems more normal. But I know I have improved in a lot of senses too. Oh!--and also what you were saying about the constant sanitizing with the medical field. I think just knowing about everything that can go wrong, and understanding disease more than the average person, just gets our mind going more and more about contamination and how dirty/germy everything really is. I agree that no one else really understands it. That is why I love this blog--because it gives me a chance to connect with others, and hopefully help each other through our stories! Talk to you soon!

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  15. i have checked out books from the library and done a lot of reseach on heirarchy, but i just havent had the motivation to sit down and do it. i have come to the conclusion that i have a mixture of different types of ocd's...mainly "just right" ocd (ie i have to wash my hands with soap so get that "just right" feeling and it can take my 5 min sometimes), contamination ocd, and symmetry ie "perfectionist" ocd (if i touch something with my right hand, i have to touch it with my left hand). its soooo exhausting. i have found some youtube videos for ocd that i think im going to try...ocd hypnosis. i dont know if it works but im gonna give it a shot tonight. if you dont mind me asking, how old are you? is your ocd only contamination, or a mixture of others as well? mine seems to occur mostly right before bed (after ive showered and am clean). ill literally wash my hands if i touch a doorknob, light switch, remote, etc etc.cant walk bearfoot in the house, must wear socks. have to wash my hands before touching clean towel for a shower. must wear pants/socks if i urinate, as i hate splatter on my legs/feet. won't go outside after ive showered, and won't touch my dog after showering as well. i take forever in the shower too, from cleaning under my nails with a soap bar to scrubbing between my toes. my bed is my safe zone as well, and i have to wear clean clothes to sit on it. i have to us ea big blanket to sit on my computer chair if after ive showered and i avoid the sofa if i have already showered also. ill change my socks if i feel they have become "contaminate" where i think ive walked near a toilet where urine might be, and in my head i believe im spreading the urine all over my house carpets. i have to wear a full sleeve jacket after my shower, as i don't want my arms to get "contaminated" after my shower. and i won't touch objects with my hands, ill use my jacket to touch them. this is just what i could remember off the top of my head, but i know there is soooo much more. -Ajay

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    1. Hi there! It took me a long time to get motivated to start my own therapy, but I am sure glad I did. Even though I have a LONG ways to go, I am definitely much improved from where I was 3 years ago. Time lost to OCD is time we will never get back. I don't mind you asking at all about my age. In fact, I apologize, I thought I had said that in another comment, but I guess not :). I am 39. My primary issue is contamination, but I also deal with that "just right feeling" as you discussed too. I also have some minor checking issues, and some "magical thinking" (if I don't do this, then x will happen) type of thing, but mostly contamination. I had someone on the blog once say that they did benefit from hypnosis, so if you give that a try, I would love to hear how that works for you! It is so interesting to read your symptom set. Isn't it crazy how OCD just sets the rules, and then we have to follow them? To me what you're describing, sounds a lot like the issues I have. I have certain areas of my house that are "safe" where I don't have to wash so much, but any "shared doorknobs or lightswitches", that my husband uses, then I either do need to wash my hands. Or I use a paper towel to flip the switch/shut the door. It has saved a lot on handwashing. I won't walk barefoot in the house either. I don't like my socks feeling contaminated though, so I started wearing slippers several years ago. I take soap into the shower with me, and wash my hands before I shower. Then when I get out, I wash my hands again before I towel off and dress. I've had some issues with urinating too. Feeling like a drop gets on my leg or whatever and feeling I need to wipe that off. I won't even sit on my toilet seat, I squat over it! I totally understand what you're saying about covering your chair with a blanket. I've been known to do that too! I wash my hands before I use the restroom and before I go to bed. I don't like touching my clothes with unwashed hands. I feel I don't want to contaminate my clothes. I have a lot of problems with that. Gosh, sometimes I feel so alone with this disorder. Like no one else could possibly be doing these types of things, but then I am connected with people like you, here, and I feel so sad that someone else has to live like this, but yet I don't feel so alone. I used to not put the email address associated with this blog on my blog directly, but I did add it a couple of days ago. I wondered if you wanted to start emailing, you could sure email me at connectwithmyocdstory@gmail.com
      Or if you want to just talk here, that is okay too! Sometimes it really does help to know that someone else is going through the same stuff, and understands. Because it doesn't feel like anyone else does. Talk to you later!!

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    2. Hey! sorry I haven't had any time to reply...full time job, baby, etc. btw I was rereading your post bc I don't think I read it all the first time and the couch contamination and transferring to "clean" clothes thing is me all the way. I have that EXACT same symptom and I constantly think about it. did you ever get relief from this? if so, how? yes lets start emailing too, I have to go sry so short ill write again soon

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