Exposure

I sat down to write about yesterday’s therapy session, reached for the piece of paper on which my therapist wrote my homework and accidentally knocked it on the floor.  I had to set it on my lap so I can read as I type.  It’s dirty and it’s stressing me out.  I am going to leave it there for as long as it takes me to write this, though.  Oh, ERP, how I hate you!

OCD has been driving me crazy all day (as usual).  Any other OCDers hate bar soap as much as I do?  It always seems contaminated!  I hate it, but I use it in the shower anyway.  Today, I was taking a shower and I dropped the soap (no prison jokes, please).  I dropped the soap and it went straight to the drain and sat there.   I couldn’t reach down to grab it because I didn’t want to get my hair wet.  So I had to knock it to the other side of the tub with my foot so I could reach it.  I hadn’t washed my foot yet.  I so badly wanted to throw the soap out and get a fresh bar, but I didn’t.  I used the nasty, foot soap.  So I don’t feel as clean as I usually do, but I’m ok.  I’m hoping that by tomorrow, I’ll forget that I touched the soap with my foot, but OCD isn’t very good about forgetting about that kind of thing.

Homework

So even though I had a rough OCD week, we’re stepping up the homework.  In fact, I’m in the middle of a particularly difficult exposure right now.  I just pet my cat.  Once a day, I have to pet one of my cats and then wait 30 minutes to wash my hands.  So now left hand is dirty.  And I’m typing.  So my keyboard is now dirty.  So my right hand is dirty, too.  I really want to go wash my hands and sanitize my keyboard!  Ugh!

My other homework includes:

Once a day, I have to touch my shoes with one finger and use hand sanitizer instead of washing.  This probably sounds dumb to a lot of you, but this is pretty stressful for me.  She wanted me to touch it with my whole hand, but I didn’t think I could handle that yet.  Baby steps.

In an attempt to cut back on hand sanitizer use in low anxiety settings (aka in the evenings when I’m only touching things that I think are a little bit contaminated), I am no longer supposed to use hand sanitizer from 9:00 pm-10:00 pm.  I am, of course, nervous about this, too but it seems pretty doable.

My last homework isn’t an exposure.  The last item on my list reads, “Don’t beat yourself up.”  How many people have to tell me this before it sticks?  I love that she wrote it down with the rest of my homework.  She seems to be getting a pretty good handle on me.  Clearly, I need more than a verbal reminder once a week.

Support

Apparently there’s an OCD support group in the area that meets once a month.  The next meeting is on the 12th, so I have lots of time to go back and forth about it.  I have mixed feelings.  It would be awesome to meet other people who have OCD.  But then, do I really need a support group?  The answer is probably yes.  I think this is just something I want to be in denial about.  It took me a long time to admit to myself that I needed therapy.  I don’t know if I’m ready to accept needing a support group.  I have a feeling that’s where I’ll end up, but part of me doesn’t want to.  Part of me wants to keep thinking that I’m not completely neurotic.

Great.  Now my face itches and my hands are dirty and I can’t wash them.  Great.

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4 thoughts on “Exposure

  1. I don’t think going to a support group marks you as a certain amount of neurotic…I just think it can be really beneficial to be able to share your experiences with people who can empathize to a greater extent than most people. More than that, they might have useful advice and it would give you a place to vent (with people who can respond immediately).

    As always, major congratulations on the progress you’re making!! Be proud of it!

  2. My mom used to always say my dad had a little bit of OCD in him, and while I can see where she comes from on that comment, I don’t think my dad is OCD. In truth, I think everyone has a little OCD in them without having to be classified as OCD. I can relate, though, to the hand washing, dirtiness thing. If I touch an animal, I always wash my hands right after, even if I end up petting them right after doing so. I just go back and wash my hands again. And then the other day I walked out the door for work and forgot to put deodorant on. Even though I’d taken a shower that morning, I just didn’t feel as clean and fresh. But then if I skip a shower one night – for instance, I normally don’t take showers on Fridays because it’s my free pass to skipping showers because it’s a Friday – and I go and put new deodorant over old deodorant, that makes me feel really gross, especially if I need to shave.

    I understand your mindset to a degree, and hope that things get better for you. Stopped by from SITS. Have a good fourth.

  3. Oh wow. What a difficult thing to be fighting. Good for you going to therapy and learning how to deal with it. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job! Baby steps is the best way to go about everything. Very wise!

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