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Friday, January 16, 2015

OCD and Winter

Somehow OCD seems more difficult in the winter.  I think it must be a combination of things, at least for me.  It's the cold weather, the cold/flu season, the sometimes lack of sunshine, and feeling more "holed up" among other things.  I sat down this morning and did an inventory of my OCD symptoms.  If I look at my rock bottom OCD, where I was last year at this time, I have had a reduction of symptoms by about 35% from then, is my best guess.  It honestly feels like the clothing contamination is my #1 issue right now.  I have managed to completely rid myself of many OCD things, but for some reason this one is difficult....and it never used to be a problem, until just over a year ago.  I consider myself severe OCD still. But it is leaps and bounds better than extreme,  debilitating OCD...which is where I was for about 9 months.  I feel like if I could get a grip on this clothing contamination and "safe zone" maintenance, that I would honestly probably be considered mild on the spectrum.  It is what I am working toward in 2015.  I had a great day yesterday, which is really something incredible when you have severe OCD.  I felt motivated, I felt more at peace with things.  The sun was shining outside and it was beautiful....which really helped!  I got 4 loads of laundry done, got to the grocery store, made dinner, and picked up most of the top story of my house.  My daughter has been sick the last few days with either cold or a respiratory flu bug.  She has missed 4 days of school this week.  Weirdly enough, my contamination is not horribly triggered when around her when she is sick.  She has good cough hygiene and I really have no problem being around her.  In fact she is home from school today still and sitting inches away from me on the couch when I type this--coughing and I don't really flinch.  I have a lot of issues around others when they are sick though...maybe it's somehow not knowing what they could have and imaging all sorts of possibilities, catastoprizing the worst case scenario.  The winter time is difficult for the whole flu season.  Influenza is something that really sets me off.  Being about in the winter when more people are out and about sick really triggers me.  I find myself more hyperaware of others around me.  I find myself not wanting to go out to the store (unless its non-peak times of the day).  I have to work this weekend in my pediatric office, which will be like entering a germ zone.  Thankfully I have no patient contact, but I will still feel disgusting when I leave work.  My hands seem more dry in the winter too.  The lack of sunshine does something to me....maybe I have Seasonal Affective Disorder?  I feel so much better when the sun is shining.  We have had a lot of influenza and whooping cough in my city right now.  Being a phone triage nurse, I hear all kinds of stories from parents every day.  Many of their kids are at school sick, and the parents will admit it!  This further declines my trust in the common sense of people.  Working as a pediatric nurse definitely does not help the OCD thoughts.  My husband and I have been having more difficult times too lately.  I plan on writing him a letter in a future post, even though I'll probably never give it to him.  Lots of thoughts going through my head on that right now.  His job situation is kind of up in the air at this point and he is feeling a lot of stress surrounding that.  I feel like he is taking a lot of this out on me, and its not really helping with the OCD either.  I am hoping for the good OCD days to outweight the bad OCD days this year, and I hope that for all of you too.  I have a lot of ideas swarming around in my head for future posts.  If anyone reading this has any ideas, bring 'em on!!!  I also look forward to connecting with more of you this year.  The Internet community is really a fantastic thing, and I am so thankful for it.  I have met some really incredible people through this blog, and I am thankful for each and every one of you!


  1. 35% is huge!! What an awesome accomplishment!! Keep going :)

    1. Thanks, C! Been reading your updates too, and sounds like you are doing incredibly well with the OCD!

  2. Dearest Friend:

    I came across your blog in search of my own relief from severe OCD. I just started reading your entries and I want you to know you are not alone - and I'm thinking of you. When I read your posts, I understand your pain and what it feels like to be burdened by this because I go through almost the exact same thing.

    I don't have a cure, or even any techniques to share to help you/me/us - but if I could extend a hug to you, I would.

    I'll keep reading.

    Have a safe night.

    Your friend. Gwen

  3. HI Hopeful,

    Gwen here again from last night - I spent today catching up on your blog. We are so similar in so many ways - especially the thought process and the rituals to mitigate being triggered/contaminated by husband/feeling resentment etc. Reading your posts is like looking at myself.

    I'm wondering if you've explored/thought about the issues that led to feeling this way? I read your post about how it all started but you dont really mention what, if anything specific, caused the OCD regarding your husband. Was it just the neglect?

    For me, it was a definite betrayal, his lying, his ongoing addiction issues, and episodes of abuse. I wonder if there is any similarities between our stories because the symptoms and rituals and end result are basically the same. How is it possible that we are ended up so similar? Or is OCD a similar process for all sufferers?

    1. Hi Gwen! Thanks so much for reading my blog and reaching out to comment! I love making new friends/connections on here! I am so sorry that you struggle with contamination OCD as well--my heart goes out to you. I have explored some of the feelings that go along with this. I think it is the emotional neglect and feeling uncared for by him. Our marriage was paid much less attention to, and I felt like I was nowhere on his priority list. Our marriage started having real problems. By the time our daughter was about 2 I started having panic attacks and developing more OCD, although at that time it was different symptoms from what I experience now. I think everyone with OCD has their "core fear"....for instance if you are triggered by something and keep saying "if this happens, then what"....then it wille eventually take you down to your core fear. I started becoming very protective of my daughter and myself, because we started to feel like our own family. Then my husband got involved in some hobbies that involved working with chemicals and I think I developed contamination issues regarding chemicals at that time. Being around him felt dirty, but I also think a lot of what I experience with him is emotional contamination, are you familiar with that term? I am sorry to hear that you have had such struggles in your marriage. Are you still with your husband? Are you receiving any form of treatment now? I don't know the specifics of course about your relationship, and I am not an expert on OCD, but I do consider myself well educated on the subject. I wonder if you also suffer from some emotional contamination regarding the feelings that arise in you because of your relationship problems. I think OCD is similar process for suffers. I think we are all trying to "protect" something, but it's a difficult thing to understand....why are some people more triggered with contamination, others having checking issues, others have intrusive thoughts...regardless of how the symptoms come out, I believe the thought processes are mostly the same for all OCD sufferers. I hope that you will stay in contact, and I wish you well on your road to recovery from OCD.

  4. Greetings to Gwen and are both my mirror in so many ways. I too suffer immensely from severe contamination OCD...Going on 6 yrs. I can't begin to explain the struggle, the despair, the hopelessness...and for once, I don't think I need to especially after reading your sentiments. I am at my lowest point in my life...I feel like a complete failure as a mother to 2 young children, as a sister, as a daughter, and I used to feel that way as a wife until recent when my husband has begun to retailate against my OCD. He no longer supports me, but instead continues to push my OCD buttons. My 7 yr old has more compassion and insight at this point. Are your husbands supportive?