My therapist was very impressed with my determination this week. I was clearly motivated this week. I haven’t kept up with all of my homework, but I did some things that weren’t on my list, so we’ll call it even. I slacked off a little on petting my cats and delaying hand-washing (and by slacked off a little, I mean that I didn’t do it at all). I think delaying for 45 minutes seemed like a bit much, so we’re going back to 30 minutes and see how that goes.
I’m continuing all the past homework, of course.
I’m supposed to only use hand sanitizer 3-4 times per hour at work. I have actually already been doing this all week, so it’s also a continuation. I was supposed to cut out hand sanitizer completely for the last half hour of work, but I cut back so much each hour on my own, that we changed the homework. I’m also washing my hands a lot less at work. This week, I have actually taken some kids to the bathroom and resisted washing my hands completely afterward!
I also have to start keeping track of how many times I wash my hands after I get home from work each day. This is so that when I see my therapist again in two weeks, we’ll have a number with which to work). I just realized that I completely forgot to start this today, so now I’m feeling pretty crappy about that. See, I try to tell OCD that I really do have a great memory and so I don’t need to check things a gazillion times and then I forget something important and OCD doesn’t let me forget about it. Ugh!
I’m almost up to the full dosage of inositol. I’m taking 10.8 grams per day. Next week, I’ll bump it up to 11.4 grams per day. The week after that, I’ll hit the goal of 12 grams per day and stay there awhile. It has definitely been helping. As I have been getting into higher dosages, I have noticed exposures seeming a lot less scary than they did a few weeks ago. I’m also back on theanine because I was having trouble sleeping when I stopped taking it. Apparently that’s the inositol’s doing as it can give you energy. Taking theanine at night helps calm me down a bit.
I have been doing an exposure every day on my own: being barefoot. Up until last week, I did not go barefoot except while in the shower. No other exceptions. I always have socks on. Always. Being barefoot is really stressful for me, but I have been doing it at least once a day anyway. After doing it for a week, it is already causing less anxiety. The problem is I won’t go into my kitchen without putting on socks. My kitchen floor is “contaminated”. It really does need to be cleaned, but walking around in there barefoot won’t hurt me. I still can’t manage to go in there though unless I know that I’m about to take a shower anyway.
Those of you who know me pretty well know that I do not let anyone touch my face for any reason. I HATE having my faced touched. I won’t even touch it with my own hands unless I washed my hands with soap and water immediately preceding face/hand contact. The kids at work frequently try to touch my face. I usually twist my neck to get my face away from their nasty little hands and swat them away with my hands as quickly as possible. I have successfully avoided all contact between preschoolers and my face. Until Wednesday, that is. On Wednesday, I was holding one of my favorite kids (I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but I can’t help it! He’s too damn cute!) and he touched my chin and cheeks with both of his grubby little hands. And I didn’t swat him away or move my neck at first. I didn’t give him long, but I did allow him, momentarily, to touch my face. BIG deal!
Unfortunately on Thursday, my chin started to itch really bad. While I know that this is probably just due to my skin being super dry because I obsessively wash it, OCD has me convinced that the real reason it itches is that I let that dirty little kid touch my face. What a horrible coincidence! It hasn’t been easy to tell my mind where to shove it in this internal argument. In spite of this conflict, I let my favorite little girl (playing favorites again I know, but if you saw her, she would be your favorite, too!) touch my face today. She touched my chin, cheeks and then proceeded to play with my ears and earrings. I am even more afraid of someone/something touching my ears because I recentlyish (January) got them pierced. They’re totally healed, but I’m still paranoid that they will get infected. But I let her touch them and she played with my ears for a good 5 minutes while I held her. I outwardly freak. My mind was racing, but I stuck it out. These kids seem to be just as determined as I am to beat OCD. I couldn’t be more thankful for their help!
We talked about showers in therapy yesterday. She asked if I wash top to bottom. Of course I do! Hair, face, neck, etc. all the way down with feet being last. It hadn’t occurred to me that there was any other way to do it. How else do you make sure you clean everything? So I’m curious. Do you wash in any certain order when you shower? Is is really abnormal to wash in a certain order?