I am facing a point in my life that I need to get well ASAP. I am tired of OCD stopping me from doing all the things I want to do. I have been tired for a very long time and yet why can I not get well because of the desperation that I feel?

I think it is party because I have a dilemna. Is it just me or is one of the things that makes getting well difficult figuring out what is normal and what is not?

For example. At this moment I do everything to avoid using public bathrooms.

The other extreme would be to sit on a public toilet.

However the latter I would NEVER do. Because that is how I was raised and most people I know at least tell me they would never do that.

So where to draw the line?

When I was in my mid-20s I recovered amazingly well with just meds and then allowing myself to do more and more. I got to the point where I would use public bathrooms, even using the toilet paper provided. However I do not know if I used a tissue to open the door. I don't think I did. I am pretty sure I did not touch the seat at all though and would flush with my foot. I wish I could remember so that maybe I could get some of that feeling back. The sense of calm when washing my hands in the public sink without being terrified of others around me, or splashing myself. Or just not feeling so utterly contaminated as soon as I walked in.

However saying that, it seemed natural at the time and I did not need to give it too much thought. A sign of how well I was doing I suppose.

 

The issue now is that I am not in a happy place where doing things feels like a reward that relaxes me. I used to let myself do things because the thing itself would calm me, but everything now is much harder as life has given me experiences to see contamination in everything, even things I used to love to do, including starting new jobs where contamination wouldn't bother me as much until I saw contamination happening (if that makes sense). I am looking at a job right now, but because of life experiences I am already thinking of all the contaminations likely to be there and the uncertainty that I would be able to remove such contaminants before going to my car the way I did at my last job.

Animals also used to be a therapy for me. But now I would not want to get a pet because it would likely touch things that bothered me. This was never an issue in the past because the animal was enough for me to look past this.

I feel like I am drowning. Not one part of my apartment does not have a contaminated part. My car feels dirty. I am trapped. This is not like me.

I am smart, I have ambitions to continue my career and I even have the desire to be a mother but as I am 42 this is unlikely unless I can get well now and then get extremely lucky.

I need help but have no health insurance. I want to just start touching things and then just resist the urge. But I fear that the therapy won't work and I will lose every last possession I have. The major issue is my OCD does not have a component that says that something bad will happen. It is very psychological as a fear of contamination of strangers' bodily fluids. As simple as that. But then as complex as certain things bothering me more because of bad experiences with certain people from my past.

Has anyone else had similar OCD and gone through successful exposure therapy? I do not fear the process, but I fear that it will not work after I have cross-contaminated.

6 Comments
  1. sunninbunni 9 years ago

    Maybe try making things dirty contaminate something that you no will bother you . Then just leave it and let the anxiety just flow until it goes down. To just see what will happen . May be start conquering one thing at a time and see what happens start with something small then move to something big. If your worried about the anxiety it does subside with time. And to help you get threw it or ready you could try GABA . But remember baby steps . It's all about retraining your brain. I know easier said then done. But you have to stand up to OCD and say not today . Today I will beat you. Good luck… :0)

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  2. Epix 9 years ago

     I avoid public restrooms no matter what. I'm scared I'll get something. Even when I'm at  a friends house I will put layers of toilet paper on the seat. I know it's hard and it does get harder, but I suggest you fight the ocd and go out of your way to do things that freak you out. I've been doing it on my own and with help from the hubby, I have gotten a bit better. I do freak out sometimes, but it's cause I bottle a lot of feelings inside and then I burst. 

    I used to have pets, but I ended up giving them away. I felt terrible during those days, like I betrayed them. To this day I'm still deciding what is right and wrong, even though I already know the answer to that… I know that ocd can get the best of us, but we have to fight it.

    During the time I was seeing a therapist my ocd did get better. I suggest you give it a try again, and just keep a positive attitude towards it. I'm sure it'll make the feelings that come with the ocd better. 

     

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  3. heartsclubband 9 years ago

     Really sorry to hear you're going through this but if it helps, everything you said made sense to me and I also wouldn't think it was 'like me'. It doesn't make sense but somehow it's easy to rationalise it at the time just to get it done. I think exposure therapy can work but it depends how severe the OCD is because it can be traumatic and then leaves worse damage than before. That is my concern with that type of therapy. The CBT did not work for me though because I can now see better that what I'm doing doesn't necessarily make sense, but yet I still am no closer to stopping it. It's a tricky one, anything is worth trying- especially if you aren't worried about the process.

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  4. rainingoctober 9 years ago

    I used to have to touch things to avoid having bad thoughts about loved ones… I would be stuck in clothing stores forever, touching shirts, sweating, being nervous, wanting it all to feel just right. It can be agonizing, but I have never been able to keep things around me clean and organized. I kind of wish I had that part of it. Public restrooms are pretty gross. I just hover! Once you walk into them the smell and everything just hits you, and you automatically feel like you need to take a shower. I hope you find a way to get through it all.

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  5. KylaRose21 8 years ago

     I completely understand everything you wrote. The part about losing your possessions to contamination so resonates with me and my experiences with contamination ocd. For me, once something is contaminated it can never be uncontaminated. BUT I have been working on exposure therapy, little by little. It was soooo hard in the beginning! [br] [br] One way I help myself "risk" the exposures is by keeping everything else "safe" until I'm done with the exposure and feeling comfortable again. This way if something goes wrong, I can throw the item away, shower, and be ok without contaminating EVERYTHING ELSE in the process. This is NOT the perfect way to do exposure cuz it still "obeys" the ocd fears, BUT it has given me confidence to actually DO the exposures. It's like having a safety net or training wheels. And now I'm starting to be able to do exposures without my safety net. I've regained possessions that I wouldn't touch before. I've reclaimed space in my home. It's slow going but it's progress. [br] [br] Best of luck to you! 🙂

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  6. KylaRose21 8 years ago

     And regarding knowing what is normal – makes complete sense. For some things, like how much handwashing is enough, I've asked friends/family/my therapist for their definition of normal. It was kinda embarassing but after washing ocd style for so long, I'd forgotten what was normal. My therapist even demonstrated for me in the restroom at her office and offered to watch me wash and then stay with me while the anxiety passed. She explained that it's common to "forget" what's "normal" and we shouldn't be afraid to ask. 🙂

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