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Friday, March 27, 2015

Bad OCD Days...and an interesting work encounter

     For those of you that suffer with OCD, you definitely know what I mean by a bad OCD day.  A day that is much worse than our normal days with OCD.  I had a day this week that was kind of one of those.  But the good news is that it showed me how much progress I truly have made in the last year.  The final result was that the bad OCD day wasn't nearly as bad as some I have had in the past.  I was able to handle it better for the most part, and even did some pretty good exposures that day, after all of that, which was a pretty great feeling! 
     My daughter got sick during the night earlier this week and vomited three times.  This has happened previously, in the midst of my more severe OCD, and I was able to handle it much better this time.  Last time she threw up (back in the fall I believe), which I posted about, it put me out of sorts completely.  Even though I couldn't see vomit on her clothes, the OCD convinced me they were contaminated and I had throw out everything she was wearing.  I may have even thrown my own clothes out too because I couldn't get over the "what if" the vomit had accidentally sprayed on me?  (even though I knew it hadn't).  Vomit did actually get on her bedsheets that time too, and I did get new bedsheets (which I feel isn't too irrational), and I bought us new slippers because I was worried "what if" vomit somehow got our our slippers when she was vomiting into the toilet.  I actually drove to Wal-Mart at 2:30 in the morning to purchase these things.  I also had just washed and dried some underwear sitting in a laundry basket, that was in the path of the vomit from her room to the bathroom.  Nothing looked like it was vomited on, but I pitched all of that underwear, "just in case".  Fast forward to this week.  I did not make her shower, I did not buy us new slippers, we went back into bed (after I had her change her clothes). The shirt seemed questionable to me, because I saw some water on it, but I think that was probably from washing her hands.  I washed that T-shirt separately this week, but did not throw it out.  When I got up that next morning, I realized my husband wasn't coming out of his room and possibly wasn't going to work that.  That stressed me out too because I desperately wanted to go back to bed and take a nap (exhausted from being up most of the night), and work on my exposures this afternoon with him gone.  He did end up going in late, so that was good. 
       When I went to get gas in my car over the lunch hour, I had to expose myself again.  Normally I wear a glove when I pump gas, because of a situation that happened last summer and I can't bring myself to touch a gas pump.  Normally I go to the pump on the edge of the gas station, so no one sees me use the glove.  Because that's embarassing, right?  I try to hide my behavior to appear normal.  But that day, another customer pulled up on the other side of the pump...and I suppose I could have chosen to wait until he pulled away, but I was in a hurry to get home.  So...I did have to touch the gas handle, which I didn't really want to do either.  But it was okay.  The vomiting event alone would have sent me over the edge a year ago, and then the sequence of events after that would deepened the stress that day.  But the good thing is that I was able to get through the day better.  And I definitely have better days than worse days in general anymore (in regard to the OCD).
     Despite all of this going on, because I was pretty stressed out already, I still decided to proceed with my exposures for the week.  I decided to do more laundry, without turning the toilets off.  I washed my sheets and bedding, which was pretty huge, because my bed is my "safest place" in the house.  It didn't actually feel that anxiety provoking.  I have since then washed some jeans and "outdoor clothes" without shutting the toilets off.  I am heading in the right direction.  I still wonder "what if" there is toilet water going in there, but I'm able to move past it much quicker and most of the time I don't even think about it.  I'm getting more used to the idea of washing my clothes normally again and not paying much attention to those intrusive thoughts.  I am really hopeful that I will still be able to wash about everything without turning the toilets off, normally again, by the end of next week.  I am definitely close to being there.  It feels good.
     After I was feeling pretty good about this, I had an interesting experience when I was working this week.  I was talking with a mom of a newborn, who was calling because her older child had a stomach flu and she was concerned that her 2 day old infant would get the flu as well.  Understandably, I could see her concern.  When I started talking with her about good handwashing at home and keeping the baby and sibling isolated from each other, she became very emotional and suddenly said something along the lines of, "I'm a little OCD about this, I just don't know what all I need to clean".  Now I know many people use that term lightly, but with her I could tell she truly does have OCD.  She asked me questions such as if she could hug her other child and then feel safe coming back to her baby?  She then said she keeps thinking of things she has touched, and then went and touched something else and is now worried that she didn't clean those things and if the baby could end up getting sick?  My heart really went out to her, as I am all too familiar with that spread of contamination.  In fact I chose at that point to say something along the lines of "I myself have clinical OCD too, so I  know how that feels".  I hope I didn't overstep by saying that, but I could tell that she felt an immediate connection, and I could truly relate to her.  There really are so many people out there with OCD, more than we realize. 
     The rest of that day went pretty uneventful.  Thankfully my daughter had no further vomiting, and was feeling back to normal that night!  I do feel stressed again with my husband in particular and his reaction to my OCD, and that has been escalating big time again.  He came home from the store tonight with a bulk sized box of cereal and immediately I fretted out him using my milk in the fridge for his cereal.  I asked him if he bought milk to go with that, and he said no.  Then when he figured out that I was concerned about using the same milk bottle as him, that set him off immediately.  He got mad at me started spouting off things about why don't I just go off and get everything by myself?  Maybe I want a washer and dryer to myself!  And he wasn't going to taint the milk, and slamming doors behind him. In retrospect, I realize the better thing would have been to just not say anything and make a mental note to myself to not the use the milk, but sometimes I feel these experiences are good opportunities to try to educate him.  The bottom line is I don't think he is every going to get it anyway.  His gut reaction is anger every time something with the OCD comes up.  And in reality, I have come so far in the last year with self treatment.  My biggest area right now is just my "safe zones" and feeling like my husband is contaminated.  Unfortunately his anger and unwillingness to talk to me creates even more tension, and I think worsens the OCD in the areas he is concerned, because of the negative feelings I have toward him.  I've kind of given hope in that area.  He seems really in angry in general, blaming things on me more than usual and very short temper.  I realize that the OCD stresses him out,  but he draws almost every problem back to that as the cause.  I know that there is much more to our marriage problems, but I'm not sure he gets that.  It makes me really sad.  Just widens the canyon between us even more every day.  I did make an appointment with a counselor, through an Employee Assistance Program at my work.  It allows 3 free sessions, which I realize won't get too far, but I am interested in a professional's opinion on our entire situation.  I'm still waiting on a determination from my employer regarding my work situation.  Hopefully more on that next week!

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