Total Pageviews

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kicking it up a notch

         It has been beautiful and sunny outside in my hometown for the past week, much higher than average temperatures for March.  It has been amazing.  Last summer my OCD was so severe that I didn't get out much at all during the summer.  Didn't even want to walk around my neighborhood much, because there was a lot of construction going on and it made my "clothing contamination" issues really escalate, as I found myself worrying about dirt/dust debris flying all over me when I went outside.  This summer, things are going to be different.  My daughter was also on Spring Break from school the last week, and it was wonderful.  We spent a lot of time outdoors, walking around, walking the dog, sitting in chairs on our driveway talking, and her riding her scooter.  The sunshine felt so good, and I truly believe that sunshine and exercise are important for mental health.  The walking has helped me feel better too.  In fact, I felt so good this past week that I decided it was time to "kick it up a notch" and finish working on the rest of my laundry issues. 
         If you're familiar with my blog and my issues, you probably know that one of my biggest laundry issues is that I have to turn a couple of the toilets off in our house when I do laundry, because I obsess that somehow toilet water is backing up into the washing machine.  This obsession started about 1 1/2 years ago when I would hear the toilet "ghost flushing" at times.  At first I thought it was just happening when the washing machine entered a drain/spin cycle, but I think in retrospect it was just going off randomly whenever.  I just happened to hear it one day while the laundry was going, and somehow my mind connected the toilet water with the washing machine and the OCD convinced me that toilet water was entering the washing machine.  I know rationally that this could not be the case unless the plumbing was hooked up incorrectly, but the OCD kept telling me it was possible.  And in order to feel confident that toilet water was not going into the washing machine and getting all over the clothes, I started turning off the water supply to the 2 toilets in the house that did that (one is hooked up on the other side of the wall of the washing machine).  There is a 3rd toilet in our house that doesn't "ghost flush", but I would never flush it while I did laundry, because I was still anxious that might get in the pipes and somehow end up in the washing machine.  (This is an example of how someone with OCD knows how irrational their thoughts are.  This just looks insane reading this, but I give into the OCD to get rid of the distress).  This set forth in motion a pretty crazy way of doing my laundry which has been going on for about 1 1/2 years now.
           I have had a lot of rituals that have centered around laundry, and recently I have been able to get rid of a lot of them.  But this is the icing on the cake, the top, the utmost concern that I have, and I decided its time to get rid of this compulsion.  My husband actually fixed those two toilets about 2 months ago, but I was unable to stop that compulsion.  It was so ingrained, that I felt I could not do my laundry normally anymore.  I knew I would have to form a hierarchy for these exposures alone, going from the "dirtiest clothes" to the "cleanest clothes".  I figured if I had to "contaminate" something, I might as well start with something that seemed the dirtiest to me to begin with, such as socks.  I "contaminated" my socks last week.  I left both toilets on, washed the socks, and even went to the non-worrisome toilet and purposesly flushed it while the socks were washing.  It wasn't actually as bad as I thought (the exposures usually never are).  As I've written before in a post, the anticipation of the exposure is always the worst.  It is usually never as bad in reality, as you think it is going to be.  Today I contaminated a couple of "outdoor outfits", and I plan to eventually contaminate the rest of my things, ending with my "houseclothes", underwear, towels--the things that I want to keep as clean as possible. 
         This is actually HUGE progress for me.  Last year I was in a very different place, with my laundry OCD consuming me.  I was throwing away entire loads of clothes often.  Hiding the fact that I turned off the toilets to the point where if my husband came home unexpectedly I would go turn the toilets back on (so he would never know the difference), feel like the laundry was contaminated and toss it.  So to purposely do this and wear the clothing is a place I didn't think I could get to.  It is really an amazing feeling.  I need to keep pushing myself forward with this.  My goal is over then next 2 weeks, that every load of laundry will be done normally, without turning the toilets off. 
      On a side note, and update to my previous post, I have an appointment with my primary care physician tomorrow.  This will be to discuss how I am doing overall, to finally "come clean" about my OCD, and discuss her making a formal accommodation to allow me to work from home.  I am pretty nervous about all of this, but I will update after the appointment. 


  1. Congrats to you for doing that and gaining some momentum!! That's a big deal!