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Friday, November 21, 2014

OCD and Lying or Making Excuses/A very stressful week

It has been a very stressful week.  Deer hunting week.  My husband is a hunter.  Lots of contamination issues for me with that.  But here we are on Friday, and I've gotten through, with lots of OCD issues along the way.  Which brings me to this paradox--My OCD doesn't want me to lie, yet I lie in order to hide my OCD from others. I don't like to lie in general.  In fact, my OCD wants me to be very honest.  I am the type that feels like I need to be extra truthful.  I have been known to take things back to the store that I was undercharged for, and make sure that I pay the correct price.  I feel like I need to tell people things, that they don't necessarily need to know. is where it gets tricky.  I have been known to make tons of excuses and flat out lies when it comes to protecting my OCD, or when in an OCD situation.  I've told lies to get out of going to family gatherings.  I've called in sick to work (when I wasn't sick) because of OCD.  Yep, just did that today.   Times where I needed to concentrate on a ritual and couldn't get to work that day, or one time I had to run some "OCD errands"--oh yes, there is such a thing.  Going out to buy something that needs to replace a contaminated object.  I prioritize the OCD, so I call in sick to work.  I don't do this routinely, today is probably the third time in the last year.  My husband took the whole week off work to deer hunt, so he would be in and out of the house all week.  I am supposed to be working downstairs at our computer.  I already have a huge obsession with needing to know what he is doing in the house, and this week being hunting week, escalated things about 1000 times.   Earlier this week, I called my daughter in sick to school, because I didn't feel comfortable and wanted to make sure he wasn't "contaminating" anything around the house--touching anything I didn't want him to.  She hung around upstairs so she could tell me if he was touching anything.  It makes me feel like a horrible parent to write and read that sentence right now.  I realize I'm involving my daughter in my compulsions.  I'm relying on her for reassurance, to "make sure that nothing happens".  I also realize that I am making her think somehow her dad is dirty.  I know this, so please please don't comment on that to bring it to my attention.  Trust me when I say that I am fully aware of this.  It's just an example of how bad my OCD is and the lengths in which I will go to, to feel comfortable.  I called in sick to work today in order to clean some things around the house.  He used our computer which is a "clean and safe" item normally.  I also had to go downstairs for a few minutes, and then I was fixated on the thought that he might have sat on "my safe couch".  I knew I would then have to wash the couch down (even though he probably didnt even sit there), and wash the blanket draped over the couch, and clean the computer.  There was no way I could focus on my job and get all this cleaning I totally let the OCD win, and gave in and made up a lie to my work that I was sick.    He got a deer yesterday, just in case you're wondering.  I will give him credit that he washed all of his hunting clothes out at the farmhouse washer (so it wasn't at our house), and wore clean clothes home.  But there are tons of thoughts going through my head.  At some point, I would think he had to be wearing the clothes in his truck, after dealing with blood and organs.  So now his truck is contaminated heavily.  Also I would imagine he took pictures of the deer with his phone, and so going back and forth from a deer his phone, contaminates his phone even further. Then of course now his hands are always contaminated, because he is always on his phone.  So doorknobs, fridge handles,  everything he touches is going to be contaminated.  I am going to need even more space between us, and will either avoid touching certain things or washing my hands more frequently again. I'm really frustrated, because I had been doing so much better.  And now this has thrown everything off again.  Because his carseat is now contaminated with deer blood/guts, I think that all of his clothes will be contaminated. Because even his normal day to day clothes will be contaminated whey touch that carseat.  And now I'm going to start having problems putting his clothes through the washer again, because I don't want the washer contaminated.  And even though my husband realizes I am grossed out by all of this, he is oblivious to how this could send me spiraling backward.  Just when I was finally starting to get some freedom from this.  Ugh!!!!
I have also lied to my parents/family over the years.  I've become really good at just making up quick little white lies to explain a situation.  I told my parents when they visited my house, that our main bathroom toilet flusher was out of order, just so they wouldn't use my "safe" bathroom.  One time at a work meeting I didn't want to "contaminate" my clothes by sitting in a public seat, so I came at the last second to the meeting and stood up, and told everyone I had hurt my knee and just needed to stand for a bit, because it hurt too much to get up and down.  When I was getting my hair cut last spring, I told my hairdresser that I didn't want to wear the cape over my clothes because I was super hot from the weather that day and also claustrophobic.  I did this to avoid feeling "contaminated" by the dirty cape that has been worn by hundreds of people and also probably has remnants of bleach/hair dye on it, and wanting to avoid figuring out what to do with my own clothes after that.  I haven't actually had my hair cut since then, because I don't want to deal with it again.  These are just a few examples, but it is amazing to me what I can come up with on a whim.  I really don't like it.  I don't like how lying comes so naturally to me to make excuses so I don't look "odd" to other people.  Because let's face it, one excuse here or there doesn't look so strange.  But I hate lying.  I hate how my OCD has that much control over me.  It also shows that we realize our behavior is illogical, but we are trying to put on a normal appearance.  These are some examples of what might make OCD sufferers appear "quirky", but in reality the problem goes so much deeper.  Something that non-OCD sufferers can not understand.  What is the biggest lie you've ever told with your OCD?  What are you struggling with in regard to your OCD today?

Monday, November 17, 2014

OCD and the Holidays

So I've got a lot of catching up to do here.  I have a few posts circulating around in my head that I want to get out, so you will probably hear from me more often than usual for the next couple of weeks.  Thanksgiving is coming up.  The holidays are always a difficult time for me, because my OCD wants me to avoid, avoid, avoid.  For most family gatherings anymore, I come up with excuses so that I don't have to go anywhere.  Because frankly, I just don't want to deal with the contamination and the "after-effects"--being all of the not so fun compulsions that I go through afterward.  My husbands family gatherings are always out of town.  For Thanksgiving we typically make a 4 hour drive to his aunts house--that is an 8 hour round trip, with about 4-5 hours actually spent at her house.  It will make for an all day affair.  We make this trip every other year, usually, as we spend the alternate year with my side of the family.  There were a few OCD-free Thanksgivings where everything went "normally" for this occasion.  Driving up there, eating, coming back.  No issues.  Those were even fun times, that I enjoyed.  Then enter in contamination OCD.  About 4 years ago, I remember bringing my own food for the occasion.  I did not want to eat there, did not want to eat off others dishes or eat food that other people had prepared.  I brought some snack type stuff in bags for my daughter and I to eat.  There were a lot of people there, so it was somewhat easy to make it not seem so obvious that we weren't eating the food there.  We just mingled and went to different areas of the house.  2 years ago, we did not make the trip there (for reasons outside of my OCD).  My mother in law happened to be out of the country, and so we had my father in law over to our place for Thanksgiving dinner.  I can tell you it was a relief that we didn't travel there, but this time it was honestly for other reasons, which just happened to work out well with my OCD.  This year I am assuming we are supposed to travel again.  My husband hasn't said anything.  I don't know if that may be partly because he knows how much I'm dreading it.  Maybe part of him doesn't want to go too, because he doesn't want it to look strange when my daughter and I don't eat.  I really don't know.  That is purely speculation.  Nevertheless, there are many contamination issues I have now, that are new since the last time I traveled, and I honestly don't know how I will make this trip.  As of now, I have convinced myself that I'm just not going to go.  I actually am scheduled to work the 3 days after Thanksgiving (as my holiday weekend) at my job, so another excuse that I'm just too tired?  I don't know.  Here are the concerns I have about the trip:
   --Eating food that others have prepared (I absolutely can not do that)
   --Bringing my own food with (I don't want to look weird to others)
   --Sitting on their furniture and having my clothes contaminated (I could probably deal with this, if they didn't have cats, as I have been making marked improvement in this area.  Still I would need to come home and wash my clothes at least twice through the washer even if they didn't have pets.  Cats on furniture bother me, because they are in litter boxes and I feel like their feces is then on the couch and then in my clothes.  We have a dog at home, but she does not get up on the furniture.)  I'm not sure I could sit on their couch.  I feel like I would stand around all day for hours.  If I did sit down, I would feel my clothes were ruined and want to throw them out.  And I really don't want to throw them out.  I've been doing so much better in this area, it would be like a huge step back to have to throw them out, even due to the situation.
  --Eating off someone elses dishes.  (Can't do that).
  --Seeing my in-laws and family and knowing that people will be hugging, and I will just feel dirty.  Being cramped into a close space with a lot of people will really bother me.  People there might have colds or other viruses, and then there is no way to get out.  There will also be a couple of babies there, and they trigger me too.
  --And the new thing, that has never been an issue before, is the actual transportation to get there.  I don't want my husband driving my car, because I don't want him contaminating my seat with his clothes (see many previous posts if you're not up to date on this).  Meaning, I would have to be the driver the entire trip.  That part doesn't bother me so much.  What has happened almost every time we go here, is that his dad ends up traveling with us (sometimes both ways, but usually for sure on the way back), because his mom ends up staying there for a couple of extra days, since it is her family.  If his dad rides with us, I know my husband will want to drive so they can ride up front together.  I can not have my husband in my drivers seat.  I am also concerned that my in-laws might offer to have us ride with them, and I don't want to ride in someone elses's car.  Ugh.  This is too much work.
   --We would need to find someone to let our dog out during the day, if we are gone for 12 hours or more.  This would most likely fall on my parents.  I don't want someone in our house when I'm not here.
  --The last problem is the guilt I feel.  If we don't travel, I will feel guilty.  I will feel like I've let my husband down.  Like I've let the OCD win.  I will feel guilty that my daughter did not see our extended family for the holiday.

What to do?  What to do?  Ugh.  I hate OCD.  And I have a feeling it's going to win this time.  Sorry for the negativity.  I have been doing a lot better with my OCD in general lately, but it takes these types of things for me to put back into perspective, how much work I really have left to do.  The truth is, even though I'm pushing out small pieces of the OCD, the big issues are still there.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!!