Something amazing happened last night. I was in the middle of an exposure (pet my cat and was waiting 30 minutes to wash my hands) and I forgot that my hand was contaminated! Every day preceding yesterday, when I did that exposure, my contaminated hand felt dirty for the whole 30 minutes. I was very aware of it the entire time. But last night I forgot. Upon realizing this, I initially freaked out. What did I touch? Did I touch my face? DID I TOUCH MY FACE?! But then I realized that I’ve never forgotten about being that contaminated before and got excited. Something must be working. Apparently this habituation thing really does work. I had my doubts.
Since that exposure went so well, this week I have to increase the response prevention time from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Seems like a lot, but so did 30 minutes. I did really well with my exposures this week. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the preschool being closed, so my stress levels were down (most of them anyway… Financial stress is through the roof! Donations accepted!).
My homework list this week is daunting! It’s getting a lot longer and looking at it makes me a little nervous. Most of it is stuff I have already been doing. It’s just the size of the list:
- Everyday pet cat & wait 45 mins to wash hands.
- Touch shoes with one hand & don’t wash hands or use sanitizer.
- Don’t use sanitizer between 8:00pm-10:00pm.
- Go out to eat at a restaurant (not take-out) once a week.
- At grocery store, don’t use hand sanitizer after handling packages of raw meat.
- Don’t use sanitizer during the last 15-30 mins of work.
- Don’t shower right after work.
- Don’t wash hands after touching shower curtain.
- Don’t wash hands after removing dryer lint.
- Cut back on asking boyfriend to wash hands.
- (non exposure) Continue not beating myself up.
Yikes! That’s a lot to remember! I think I’m going to have to invest in some post-its soon to put all over my house so I don’t forget. Or maybe that’s OCD talking. I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s back to work at the preschool this week, so we’ll see where my anxiety levels end up.
I spent yesterday with my best friend, her husband and their newborn. I still think he is the cutest baby in the world, but I don’t like holding him when he poops. Yep, moments after being placed in my arms, this little angel pooped. None of it got on me, of course, because he was wearing a diaper, but it still really freaked me out. I quickly handed him back to his mommy and ran to wash my hands. I definitely won’t be changing any diapers any time soon! My anxiety jumped when there was a diaper and clothing between me and the yucky stuff. I can’t imagine how much anxiety I would have if I had to actually clean that mess up. No thank you! I did, however, stand in the room (more like paced back and forth) while my friend changed his diaper.
Cooking & Cleaning
Before going to see my friend, I cooked a bunch of food for her. To do so, though, I had to clean my kitchen. It had gotten a bit cluttered and messy and I had been avoiding cleaning it. I had to clean it to cook, so I cleaned it. Between cleaning my kitchen and spending the next day cooking, my hands ended up super dried out from washing them so many times. I’ll put it this way, the hand towel in the kitchen was worthless it was so wet.