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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hugging and OCD

     So, I've got a few family functions coming up in the next several weeks.  I really am hoping to attend some of these (if not all), but I know that hugging is going to be a part of most of the events, and that makes me really anxious.  Because of my clothing contamination issues, it bothers me immensely to have other peoples clothing against me, and to have their hands touch my clothes during a hug.  I have no idea if their clothes are clean, no idea how well they were washed, etc.  Have no idea where their hands have been or if they have pumped gas or went to the bathroom or who knows what before their hands touch my shirt.  It's not the idea of hugging a person that actually bothers is the feeling of my clothing being forever contaminated and dirty, and I don't want to wear it again.  In the past I have thrown out a lot stuff because of that, but I have actually improved in this area.  Not significantly, but I have improved.  Currently the way I'm dealing with this is when I have to go to an outing or event where I feel someone might hug me or touch me, I wear one certain outfit.  I call it my "contaminated outfit".  After someone hugs or touches me, I will go home and wash it completely by itself in the washer, and then it hangs in my closet until the next outing.  The problem is that I can't just keep wearing one outfit to go to family gatherings in.  I need to eventually be able to contaminate my whole wardrobe and be okay with it, but I don't know how to get there.  I'm hoping that someone that has been through some ERP's with this or struggled with this, would have some good suggestions on how to get started.  I also think if I could get to the point where I could hug my husband, that things would be a lot better between us too.  I'm curious if anyone else has dealt with this issue.  I know that what I should eventually be able to do is to just wear whatever outfit I choose, wear it, get contaminated in it, come home, toss it in the hamper and wash it with everything else.  But that seems like a zillion steps away. 
     My cousin graduates from college next weekend and there will be a party following that at his parents house.  Then we have Mothers Day next weekend too, and I would like to be able to visit my mother and my mother-in-law.  The following weekend I have 2 baby showers that I have been invited to.  Going into others homes also brings more levels of concern too, which I have addressed in previous posts.  Sitting on others couches, that don't feel clean.  Feeling like my socks, or worse barefeet, are contaminated from walking on their carpet.  I can find ways of dealing with all these little compulsions, so I'm not avoiding.  I really, really want to attend some of these upcoming events.  I just don't want to be wearing my same old sweatshirt and baggy jeans to do such  :(
.....I would appreciate any help, friends!   


  1. I have never come across anyone else with similar OCD issues as me until I read this.
    Contamination from the outside world is a huge problem for me (skin cells and spit on pavements etc etc etc).
    I have a wardrobe of indoor clothes and a wardrobe of outdoor clothes which are all laundered separately from each other. Every time I enter my home from outside I remove outdoor clothes and shower before wearing indoor clothes.
    I was brought to this forum today due to the upset caused by a friend of my mothers (I currently have to live with my parents) who hugged me in my indoor clothes. I could not escape in time and I normally go to great lengths to avoid contamination of indoor clothes. Needless to say this caused a great deal of anxiety and upset.
    Yes, I appreciate I sound nuts.
    I know this is a late comment but I hope you are doing better now. If you have any tips for me please share. Two years of unsuccessful treatment showed me I will always have this problem and have to live my life around it.

    1. Hi anonymous! Thanks so much for reading and for the comment. First of all, I am so sorry that you deal with this disorder too. I am so glad that you found my blog. I am sad to hear about others that struggle with OCD, but it is always interesting to me when I meet others who have similar OCD issues as mine. That is mostly the reason I started this blog was to meet others and connect with them, and hopefully be a source of support to each other. Although I am doing quite a bit better than I was at the time of this post, I unfortunately still struggle with clothing contamination...a lot!! In fact, it is my #1 OCD issue still. I also have indoor and outdoor clothes that are laundered separately. Nothing is allowed to meet. If something becomes contaminated (through sitting on a public seat or someone either touching my clothes or hugging me) then I wash that outfit completely separate from everything else. No, you definitely don't sound nuts!!!! I was actually hugged in my indoor clothes by my mom when she stopped by my house a few weeks ago. I stepped outside and didn't think she would touch me, but she did hug me...and I ended up throwing my sweatshirt out, because I felt it was so contaminated. I don't know that I have any helpful tips, as I still struggle with this immensely. But I have come a long way and don't have quite as many issues as I used to. I'm sorry that your treatment has been unsuccessful--meds or ERP therapy? I would like to talk with you outside of this blog a little further. If you would be interested, please let me know and I can get you my email address so we can chat a bit!

  2. I recently met someone l care about who has OCD very hard for lm an affectionate person very hard to touch someone who has OCD any advice for me