The other day I was in a train station in the Sydney CBD, and went up to one of the ticket machines where you pay with coins. I noticed a woman at the machine next to me, looking down at her hands which were both holding tissues, and resting on the tissues were coins.

I immediately identified her as one of us. While I was paying for my ticket, I noticed that she’d managed to press the buttons and put the money in, and the ticket had come out the bottom. But she was finding it hard to reach her hand in and actually get the ticket, and her change. It was obviously all too much for her, and I was not really hiding the fact that I could notice what was going on, although I know she was trying to ignore me noticing (I know when I’m in the middle of a public checking bout, I do my best to avoid any eye contact with anyone, who might look at me as though "what are you doing?" sort of thing).

So while she was hesitating putting her hand in the machine, I said to her "would you like some help with that". There was no one else around, so I felt there was no harm in reaching out and making my awareness known. I then said "I’ve got the same problem as you, but in different ways."

This was all pretty instinctual, ie I didn’t realise how much I’d want to connect with someone whom I identified with so strongly, until I was in the situation. She said to me "You have this as well?", sort of gesturing to the tissues in her hands, and the ticket and change that she’d finally retrieved.

As she walked away, I felt I hadn’t done enough. She was obviously much worse off than me in the contamination OCD department…I could have told her about some of the books I’ve read, some of the websites (maybe she’s reading this), but nothing came to me. So instead just before she way out of earshot, I put a big smile on my face, and said "Good Luck!". She turned around, and smiled as she kept walking, and that was it.

It was a little moment  I’m glad it happened.

4 Comments
  1. apehangmom 12 years ago

    Cool for you .. you become like the CIA you tend to know this stuff… and when you know it .. you  know that its true good job. knuckles.  please be my friend.

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  2. anas 12 years ago

    no body feel your pain of ocd  ..except the Experimenter …nice job:)

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  3. Headheight 12 years ago

    Hi guys, just want to say thanks to everyone who responded, and everyone who’s friended and written to me since I joined up a few days ago. I already feel really supported by our strong and brave tribe, and my symptoms seem to have improved as well. It’s also a great payoff for a few weeks ago, when I was trying to share that story on the phone to a friend of mine who’s not an OCD sufferer, yet still someone I confide in, and in the middle of my story, he got a call on another line, and just brushed me off the phone, asking me to call him back later about it. Needless to say I didn’t, and it was another lesson for me to be careful about who, when and how, I share my experiences with, if they’re not a tribe member. So thank you all for being people that I can share that sort of thing with!

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  4. ancientgeekcrone 12 years ago

    These thing are tricky and you did enough in such an unknown situation.  I think, if she was ready for more, she would have tarried a bit, sllowing a conversation to form.  Still you reached out and it did sound like she was comforted by the interation.  You have a good heart.

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