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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Get-Togethers...A Success!

      In this struggle to get out of OCD one step at a time, I find myself comparing how I was at "x" time, versus how I am now in certain situations, to get a better feel for how I am progressing with my self-directed ERP treatment.  2 years ago, in 2013, I had great difficulty in attending any family get togethers.  This went on for an entire year, where I basically avoided every single family gathering for fear or some type of contamination, mostly revolving my clothing.  Last year, I still had  difficulties, but forced myself to go.  This year, things were quite a a bit better.  I saw my niece for the first time in 20 months.  That is a really big deal.  It's been awhile since I've seen my sister too.  I feel horrible saying this but, truthfully, this was the biggest concern I had about getting together with my family for Christmas.  I didn't want my sister or my niece touching me, or hugging me.  They seem more contaminated to me than the rest of my family.  I thought we would be okay at first, but as the day progressed she would come up to me a few times and put her hands on me or want a hug.  Things like that.  I didn't hug her.  I couldn't.  I kind of put my hands on her arms and just smiled at her, but I did not want her to touch me.  I kind of sat with my hands in my lap, not touching, anything, until I could get a chance to go wash them.  Toward the end of the afternoon though, she had touched me.  Really, it wasn't as bad as I thought.  I still feel like my clothes are dirty though, and that is what I want to work toward in 2016.  Once I got past the initial hugs with my family, and could just sit there and socialize and not worry about being touched by anyone, I had a really good time.  I enjoyed myself, and I liked seeing my family.  I liked socializing and just being together.  I double sock when I go to someone else's house, so that is an easy fix to the problem of not wanting to "contaminate" my socks when I go there.  And I wear old shoes, so that I'm not contaminating my good shoes.  I really find the only problem I had on Christmas was feeling like what I was wearing was dirty.  Now, I do have every intention of getting it washed up as soon as possible and back in my closet, and I wasn't even sure I would be able to do that after my niece touched me.  But that is my plan.  I find that once things are washed and put away, they don't feel as contaminated to me anymore.  If I just let them sit in my closet for weeks on end, and don't wash them, then it's just a reminder of how "filthy" they seem to me.  If I am able to wear these clothes again, that will be HUGE for me.  My ultimate goal though, isn't to have these clothes feel "contaminated" going forth anymore (to the point where I would wear this outfit only when around my niece).  In 2016, I really want to start "contaminating" everything, or more accurately, just being able to wear what I want when I want, and wash it all together and not worry if its clothes I wore only to the grocery store (that no one else touched) paired with clothes that I wore when hugging other people.  It all gets washed together.  All comes out clean together.  That is what I want to work toward in this area.
     Christmas gathering with my husbands side was a little more difficult.  There was a meal involved at this gathering, and of course I do not eat at family gatherings.  I feel very awkward and self-conscious about this, but there is just no way I can eat at family gatherings at this point.  I've seen too many things in the past and my OCD pays way too much attention to details, that really truly are unsanitary.  I saw people go directly to put out food, touching crackers and sandwiches with bare hands (without washing them first).  My 6 month old nephew was also at this gathering, and I saw a few things his parents did that really bothered me.  They would put his fingers in his diaper to check to see if he was dirty/wet, and not wash their hands.  Then the baby spit up directly into his mom's hand, and she just wiped it off with a paper towel, and didn't go wash her hands or anything.  So to eat at a family gathering, when you just don't know where people's hands have been, well that is just too much for me now.  So, my daughter and I awkwardly sit there and don't eat anything, because of course I don't want her to eat the food either.  Which works at this point, because she is a picky eater and wouldn't want to eat the food anyway.  But, I do feel strange about this and I wish there was a better way to work around it.  The rest of the evening went okay though.  They do have dogs, which were all over the furniture and sit on the kitchen chairs, begging for food.  At one point, of them even jumped on the table and got some food.  Ugh......Of course, I also had to wash my carseat off when I got home, since I had been sitting on other peoples furniture. 
     So, even though I'm able to go to these functions now, they still present me with problems.  But at least I'm not avoiding anymore.  And I have faced many fears this year, in my next post I plan on summarizing what all I've accomplished in regard to the OCD in 2015, and what my plans are moving forward next year.  As always, I'm amazed at how the anticipation is always worse than the event.  I am glad that I have stopped avoiding many things, and have started to reclaim my life back from OCD.  I hope that you will push somewhere in your fight too.  I promise you, it will be worth it!!   


  1. Hey, I finally figured out how to put in a name and not be anonymous anymore. Good work! I'm so glad you can see family. That is so important that you have worked this hard to reclaim your life from the prison that OCD has kept you in. And I love your goal for the new year. Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen if you mixed clothes while washing them? It can't be as bad as being a slave to the OCD monster. Keep up the good work! Happy New Year and happy new you!

  2. Hi Carol, thanks again for the encouragement! I have lots of other goals besides the mixing of the clothes too, I am in the process of trying to sort everything out that I have left to "kick" out of the OCD habits, and I really want to move from moderate to mild OCD in the coming year. I think I can do it! Thanks so much for always being supportive! Happy New Year to you as well!

  3. I truly wish you didn't have to have these battles. Yet I'm astounded at how similar our journey is. Wishing you all the best!

    1. Hi anonymous! Thanks for your comment. It is always good to connect with someone with similar issues, but disheartening at the same time to know that someone else is going through this. Are you receiving treatment currently and what kind of issues are you facing at this time?