Tuesday, 14 June 2011

More Treatment Followed By Serious OCD Butt Kicking

I wonder if anyone feels as tired as I do when I finish another day of treatment. By the time I get home I am in a state of exhaustion and I pass out where ever I can comfortably pass out for several hours. I wake up starving and craving anything sweet - preferably chocolate and lots of it.

I felt very anxious about treatment this week. Not so much of what we would tackle but along the lines that I completely failed last weeks tasks. I did try but I didn't succeed. The whole journey to the clinic my mind kept playing out the scene where my therapist tells me to just get out and give up therapy because I didn't try hard enough and I don't deserve to overcome my OCD.

Obviously that didn't happen.
Instead she told me that the treatment is my choice and if I would like to quit then it is entirely up to me. I am not being forced to go through with it. The only person that should be angry at my failed tasks should be myself for letting the OCD win that round and I am angry. I completed my tasks halfway and that wasn't good enough. What is the point of finishing half a task, through the time and effort not to mention the anxiety I put myself through turned out to be for nothing and all I can do is try again. With the right mindset and determination that I will not quit halfway through.

So what did I do today. Well, we started with touching her dusty keyboard then the telephone. I had to touch the dusty bits more than anything because I didn't want to. I could picture the dust mites crawling around on my hands afterwards. I had to touch the fingerprints off of the phone while being reminded that her office is used by several people everyday. We don't know their hygiene habits and when the cleaner comes in at night we don't know how raggedy his cloth is that he uses to dust, besides by the look of it he or she doesn't do a very good job in dusting. I could teach them a thing or two!

After I had accomplished the keyboard and phone task and with the even more dreaded of dreaded tasks - touching my face and lips and not being allowed to wash my hands at all. Not even a drop of soap. I felt like a child being bullied into eating brusel sprouts. I don't want to do it but at the end of the day it is good for me.

The next task of that session was the harshly lit disabled bathroom. Looking at all of those disgusting surfaces full of fingerprints and dirty water. We started to rate from 1 - 100 of what would be the easiest to touch. The first was the sinks tap. I had to touch every inch of it and keep my hands on it. Even the splatter of water on the tap, it was cold and it felt germ ridden so I had to touch it and then rub my hands together, touch my clothes, my hair, my face and then my lips. I did turn into a blubbering idiot when I had to touch my face and having to touch my lips made me panic. The OCD threw everything at me that it could and I had to sit there and listen to every thought, image and feeling.
The next was the soap dispenser. Same thing all over again but the soap dispenser felt even more disgusting. It has a greasy feel to the plastic and the reassurance soon kicked in, telling me that it was probably just the soap residue. Instead of telling the OCD anything I did what my therapist told me to do. Just let the thoughts come. We did the same, touched it all over and touched my hair, face, clothes and unfortunately my lips. If I had to lick my lips I think that I would have blacked out from panic and the chest pains that magically come along the moment that I start to feel anxious.

Between my blubbering I grabbed a piece of toilet paper to wipe my nose. This part shows just how embedded the thoughts are. I threw away the first few sheets of toilet paper and took the next up 'because it is cleaner' I have done it since dinosaurs roamed the earth and I never gave it a second thought. I was quickly asked why I done it and then what it felt like slightly been given trouble for doing just that. Especially during treatment. Some cheek from the OCD that's what it was.

My tasks for this week. Well, one is a month long task of not dusting any surfaces. It is extreme but what is the point of only not dusting for a day or two or a week or two. I will have a month to let every horrible thought come into my head. I will go room to room and see this dust piling up on every surface. Soon my flat will look like an abandoned castle with cob webs hanging from the doors and giant rats sharing a block of cheese with my cat. That is an extreme exaggeration because my cat wouldn't share anything, especially cheese and that and a month of dust surely wouldn't look like what I am picturing in my head. It would only be a half attempt like my previous tasks if I only went a week or two without dusting and I am determined to kick OCD out of my life.

The other task is one of my failed tasks from last week. No shaving any part of my body for a week. It may not sound extreme but the temptation to get back in that shower because I am unable to feel clean without shaving off every strand of disgusting germ and bacteria ridden hair. I have to learn that I am going to feel like that regardless and then learning to tolerate that feeling and tolerate the thoughts.

I feel like this will be a shameful month and I also feel like my husband will think that he has done something wrong or his wife has all of a sudden turned lazy. I at least explained it to him and told him that even he is not allowed to dust because that would ruin my task and it would make me feel good for only a short amount of time until that moment where you realize 'What have a I done???' Just like the other day when I polished off an entire Galaxy bar and I don't mean the small galaxy, oh no, this was the proper 500g and every time I look in the mirror I see it on my hips and it asks me if it was really worth it and no, it wasn't.

I am going to add towards the end of this blog, that I have not changed my clothes the moment I got home, I am still wearing my outdoor stuff and I have not washed my hands yet. I left treatment at 12 and it is just after 17:00. I touched every light switch and door handle while telling OCD where it can and should go, I just hope that the neighbors didn't hear any of it. I made lunch, ate lunch. Hands are still unwashed. Yes it bothers me. I feel like there is a layer of grime and if I look closely I can see the germs multiplying and moving up my arms and spreading to my entire body. I am completely contaminated, 100 filthy and I am going to sit there with my thoughts and let it be what it is and I will wash my hands when I feel like I made my point but first I am going to touch every surface that I can think of to really stick it to my OCD.


  1. Wow. I'm impressed. Those sound like big exposures. And I hope you don't go too hard on yourself when you only get half way. Half way is still an improvement, and you can try again later. It probably slows things down for me, but I like to change things slowly.

  2. Believe me even though it was some pretty big exposures, those were my 70 out of 100 rating, they were hard and if I didn't have my therapist to push me I wouldn't have and couldn't have done it. After I wrote this and looked it over my OCD went completely insane with it and looking back I am completely horrified and no amount of washing can make me feel better. Like my therapist says, if you give your OCD an inch it will take a mile

  3. You are doing AWESOME!! Wow - I am inspired. I've been doing ERP for a few weeks now. The first few went off without a hitch and now I'm in a bit of a "slump". But reading your blog has inspired me to keep moving forward!!! Thanks!

  4. I am so happy that something that I wrote could inspire you to keep moving forward! The impossible is possible!

  5. I know you wrote this almost 2 months ago but I just now read it and I am shocked. Thank God my therapist has never suggested I touch things in a public restroom and then touch my lips. Just reading what you had to do made my ears burn and my heart race with anxiety. I too have contamination fears and checking compulsions and it is taking me a long time to work on those. My therapist started me out by telling me to pick a time during the day that I usually wash my hands and only wash them once rather than several times in a row with hot water.

    By the way, I too have thrown out the first few sheets of toliet paper since the dinosaurs roamed the earth and I always grab the "next up" because I feel it is cleaner.

    Lady Delphinium from babysteppingit.blogspot.com


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