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Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Trip to the Mechanic and a Baptism

     Well, the trip to the mechanic is least for another week or so.  Yes, I have to go back again because they couldn't get everything done the first time.  I went there simply to have all new tires put on my vehicle and an alignment.  When I went up to pay for the services, they told me they could not do the alignment until I had some other work done.  Usually my husband does all of the mechanical work to my car, but he can not do an alignment (because obviously that involves equipment only available at a tire shop).  The trip itself wasn't too bad.  The only real problem was the "decontamination" of my car afterward.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the seatbelt was my main concern.  I put on a car seat cover and a steering wheel cover and drove it over there.  I was trying to get clever with the seatbelt and how I might know if they had worn it or not.  So I twisted the top of the seatbelt three times and put the "seatbelt clicker" (because I'm lacking what the correct term for that is) into a little notch at the top of where the seat belt connects.  If they weren't paying attention, I don't even think they would notice it.  But I would notice it...and if it looked different then I would know they might have worn the seatbelt.  I also set my trip odometer to zero before I walked in the shop, so I would be able to get a better gauge for if they drove it.  Nothing looked different with the seatbelt and the odometer was only up about 3/10 of a mile (which would easily account for being pulled in and out of the garage and into a parking stall afterward).  Regardless of this, I still cleaned my car thoroughly as I just wanted to make sure it was okay to get back in afterward, and that I would feel comfortable sitting in my seat again.  It took me about 2 hours to clean the car out, which involved wiping the drivers seat and the back seat (where my daughters sits), wiping off the keys and all off the gadgets in the car (turn signals, gear shifter, door handles, etc), and wiping off my seatbelt (yes,  even though they hadn't worn it), then I took a shower and changed into fresh clothes.  I debated whether or not to wear the seatbelt right away, but then decided to just put it on so I didn't carry the anticipation out....and I have rode comfortably in it since. I have to go back in another week or two to finish it off.  So I am less nervous this time, and I am hoping I can do a less thorough clean this time, but I am still concerned about that darn seatbelt.
     On another front, I have been trying really hard to not avoid most stuff.  I'll be honest, there are still things I avoid.  Such as my daughter has an orchestra concert at school this coming week, and I have already made up an excuse for her to get out of that (because I don't want to be in an auditorium full of people).
     My husbands brother and his wife had their son baptized this morning.  I have known about this for a few weeks now.  I had every intention of going since we received the invitation, but I knew that I was going to need to sit in the back of the church.  I figure it is better to go places even if you have to sit in the back, rather than avoid going at all.  I have felt like I have been doing so much better in general with my OCD, so I figured as long as I sat in the back, I would have minimal problems there.  My  husbands reaction to my OCD is always a huge trigger for me and causes a lot of problems. This is nothing new and I have documented this in many places on this blog.  I waited until about an hour before we left, and I told him that I would be sitting in the back of the church and to let me know if that would be a problem for him...well, it was.  I am getting increasingly frustrated with his reaction to my OCD.  It just seems like whatever I do, it is never enough.  I should think he would be happy that I was going, but instead it was a problem because I didn't want so sit in the reserved seats up front.  I get how that would be frustrating from the other side, I really do.  But his yelling at me and acting like I am such an imposition and embarassment to him, is really starting to wear me thin.  I don't know how much more of it I can take.  I was so close to saying to forget the whole thing, and he could go himself then...but I didn't want to do that to his family.  It's not their fault that he acts that way.  I called my mother in law right before we left and explained the situation to her.  I used my upcoming surgery as the reason for this, and that I didn't want to sit in a crowd at church where I might be exposed to something, so I would be sitting in the back.  She did not seem upset at all about this.  There was a luncheon after the baptism at a restaurant, where there was about 20 of us family members that ate lunch in a private room together.  I considered eating off the silverware (as this would have been an exposure for me too) for the first time in a long time, but then after I saw the set up (it was a formal set up, so everything was just laid out beside the plates, not wrapped in a napkin like you might get some places) I couldn't do it.  I usually don't eat with my hands either, because of the warts on my hands.  They are getting better now and aren't too visible, so I decided to go ahead and order a sandwich and just eat it with my hands (so I didn't have to worry about the silveware).  It's frustrating to me, because before we left he was also talking about how frustrated he was that he would have to explain why I wasn't eating at the restaurant), and so I took it upon myself to FORCE myself to do this, even though I didn't want to, because I am still not comfortable AT ALL eating with my hands.  It just felt like he sat there and scrutinized my every move at the restaurant, like he was just watching me out of the corner of his eye to see what weird or unacceptable things in his eyes I would be doing.  Even looking back at the event now (a few hours later), I still don't feel he has any appreciation for the things I force myself to do to appear semi "normal" at an event.
     He said some very disturbing words to me before both the baptism and the mechanic trip.  Both were pertaining to the idea that "why can't I just be okay with things".  He is not encouraging to me at all.  In fact, he is the very opposite and discouraging to me.  He makes me feel that no matter what I am doing with my OCD or how far I have come, he just still can't accept where I am.  And instead of being thankful and celebrating how far I have come, he yells at me and acts embarassed because I still have problems doing a lot of things.  Before the baptism today, in a very irritated tone, he said to me "Why can't you just be okay with this today" (meaning why can't I just sit in the front of the church like everyone else and why can't I just eat the food and use the silverware and be normal).  As if I can just shut it off like a switch for a day.
    The truth is I'm really starting to accept that he will never understand this disorder, nor even try is the worst part.  It is so difficult for me to understand how after knowing fully about my disorder for several years now, that he thinks I can just "shut it off" for a day.  And how he thinks that yelling at me is going to motivate me to want to do things.  It is discouraging is what it is.  He doesn't even understand most of what I deal with, and that is his choice, not mine.  Because he doesn't want to talk about it.  But his attitude has always worn on me.  It brings me down and it makes me feel negatively about him.  I really don't have much "trust" in him anymore, from an emotional standpoint.  And because I don't "trust" him or find him to be a safe person to share my emotions with, I think this is part of the reason why I feel he is so contaminated to me.  I find myself avoiding a lot of things where he will be, simply because I don't want to see him roll his eyes at me, sigh, yell, or act like I'm embarassing him.  It's easier to avoid and not have to deal with his reaction.  The interesting thing is that I can go out and do a lot of things when he is not there, that I would have trouble doing when he was there.  Again, it's just him constantly watching me and feeling a sense of shame.  No matter what I do, it's just never enough for him.  The problem is that he wants me to be "normal" and not have OCD get in the way of his life.  And there is no in between for him.  I just feel so depressed and defeated thinking about this whole thing.  That is a dangerous place to be, as depression leads you to places where it is really  hard to fight off the OCD.  And I WILL NOT get back to the place I was before.
   One of the hardest things for me to figure out, is how I get over feeling like he is contaminated.  How do I push myself in these areas.  When I don't "trust" him enough to feel emotionally safe with him, it is really difficult to even think about wanting to have a physical relationship with him.  And when he finds fault in everything that I do with the OCD and is basically ashamed of me, then what am I really working for here?
   At the end of the day, I have to keep fighting against this OCD for myself...and for my daughter.  When I was at my most severe with this, I managed to get myself out of it (even despite his discouragement and attitude toward me).  I did this with the help of God.  I'm not sure that my husband understands how his attitude toward me plunged me further down.  Today, I know that I am getting somewhere in this fight.  I look back to when I had severe OCD and most of my days (from an OCD stanpoint) were rated at about a 2.  Now most of my days (from an OCD standpoint) are about an 8.  That is HUGE progress.  And I will keep working on it.    

Monday, November 2, 2015

Upcoming Surgery and Contamination Concerns

     So, last week I found out I need to have surgery.  It is an outpatient procedure, but this will be the first time I have ever been under general anesthesia.  And it will be done in the hospital.  I am very nervous about the whole process, and of course the added component of OCD really complicates things.  I've actually had several doctors visits in the past few months, and doctors offices are one of the more "contaminated places" for me.  So, I've resorted to wearing my "contaminated outfit" for these appointments, but at least I'm able to give them one wash through a sanitary setting, and hang it back in my closet until the next time.  This surgery is really going to push me.  I've actually told myself several times that if I could just go in and have this done and not compulse in anyway, maybe that would knock out a serious portion of my OCD.  I joke around saying it, but it's partly true.  I will have to face many things during this surgery, that are high up on my hierarchy.  But it's important for me to have the surgery done, and I realize this.  So, I must just go with it and see how it goes.
     These are my OCD concerns:  hospital gown (yuck, yuck, yuck), hospital sheets, hospital pillow, dirty bedrails, having to potentially eat off hospital silverware/dishes, still feeling groggy when I get home to where I can't shower right away, the fact that when you're under general anesthesia you don't have a clue what is going on, people in the operating room touching me, feeling uneasy about the surgical equipment being sanitary enough, needing to take oral antibiotics (this is a trigger for me too, as I've always been scared to take new medication since I had panic attacks 10 years ago which were one of the first defining symptoms of my development of OCD).  Just for a little background on the antibiotic concern, I found out I had some potential food allergies in 2005.  One afternoon when I was driving to work I had a panic attack.  Didn't realize it at the time, as I'd never had one before.  I initially thought I was having an anaphylactic reaction to something that I ate.  After that time I began to get very scared about what I was eating, and I started avoiding common food allergens, including a lot of medications.  I am terrified of having an anaphylactic reaction to something, be it food or medication.  I've gotten back to the point where I can eat most foods (other than I avoid nuts as I did test positive to those), but I have not taken any antibiotics during this whole time.  But I have to take them now.
     The surgery is planned for a couple of weeks from now.  I am honestly planning on taking my own food and drink to the hospital.  A few bottled waters in my purse, along with some baggies of crackers.  I know they just want to make sure you can eat without getting sick before they send you home.  I just don't think I can eat hospital food.  But that is another scary thing.  When I'm still feeling the effects of anesthesia, I know I won't really know what I'm doing.  I will probably likely do things, that I normally wouldn't do.  My OCD might go to rest during this time, and that scares me.  The recovery nurse may hand me a cup of water and a straw (how do I know her hands were clean and if they touched the straw), and I may likely take a drink at that given time, because my OCD won't be telling me not to.  And then I won't know what I did, and I can't shake that feeling.
     When I get back to my actual room, where my mom and my daughter will be waiting for me, I have given instructions to my daughter to take notes for me on what is going on.  Such as, did I take a drink of water from a hospital glass?  Did I touch the bed rail and then touch my finger to my face?
     To add to this, I also have to take my car in to a mechanic shop next week, to have tires put on and have them aligned.  Hospitals and mechanic grease.  Two of my biggest yuck-factors.  This was supposed to be done last summer, but I kept putting it off.  I do have a plan in place for this, which I won't get into detail with, but my biggest concern is the seatbelt.  I found out during a trial run for preparing for this appointment last week, that it is possible to wash a seatbelt.  Of course I have no way of asking the mechanic if he drove my car.  My OCD tells me to check the odometer when I drop it off, and if its just a couple tenths of of a mile up then he probably just pulled it in and out of the garage.  But if there is definitely new mileage on there, they may have driven it afterward.  I don't know.  Maybe I will just sit there in the shop waiting room and watch.  But the seatbelt is my concern.  I am worried that if I feel its contaminated enough after a mechanic has sat there and had his dirty/greasy clothes up against it, how will I feel comfortable wearing the seatbelt again?  I tried to buy seatbelt covers, but there obviously isn't anything to cover the entire thing (chest and lap belts).  So, I will wash it, and I guess I will have no choice but to wear it again.
     For a quick update on the rest of the OCD front, I am doing okay.  Becoming more comfortable with being contaminated.  There have been times out in public where I have ran into an acquaintance, and they gave me a hug, or there was the time that a woman (that I didn't even know) at the grocery store put her hand on my sweatshirt while she was telling me to go ahead of her in line.  Things like that throw me off, and I have to wash those clothes separately.  But I am so happy that I am no longer throwing things away anymore because of that.  And I'm actually finding out that they don't bother me as much as they used to (it still bugs me, but I don't fixate on it like I did in the past).
    If anyone has any friendly advice or tips on how to deal with the surgery or the mechanic, I would greatly appreciate it.  I will post an update later this week after the mechanic (that is the lesser of my worries though), and a little longer update on how I've been doing in general.