Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is ERP Another Word For Abusing Yourself?

My erp this week, as if i haven't been traumatized enuf already, was to go to Value Village, a used clothes store.  Now, once upon a time gone by i used to go there and buy clothes, take them home and wash them and then wear them.  Not a big problem.  I went to other used clothes stores too.  Only condition was they had to look clean and neat.  In fact when i was younger and our son a child, that's how he got his snow suits etc.  So i've had a long history with used clothes and not had too much a problem.  Haven't stepped inside one in 5 yrs. Not since ocd bit me in the brain. 

I had done some pre-thinking.  Coming up with reasons why it would be nice to go to value village.  (not too difficult- i get to pick the style of clothes i like and the prices are cheap.) I looked at the store on line but VV has a particular smell to it that the internet pic's didn't bring across.  Or else my extra-sensitive - pregnancy -nose is at it again.  Imagined walking in the store.  No big trauma in my mind, so i thot 'this will be ok, easy even.'  HA!

Anyway i didn't get there til after everyone had come home from work and school.  I should have gone alone but i thot it'd be nice to have a little support.  It all went well until we parked in front of the store.  I just stared at it. I said to Bruce (husband) that maybe we should start at the bank down a bit in the strip mall, work our way to V.V.  Nope, it was raining so he was going directly there.  i followed along behind.  In the front door was a green couch.  It looked ok but you never know.  After all it's used by who-knows-who.  ( i manage to keep this voice down to a dull roar at hotels, where the couches have also been used by people i don't know).  So from where i am it looks like my daughter is swinging her hat against the couch.  Strike 1.

 We get into the store and i just stand there and smell it and look around and wander.  Hubby and daughter are down by the toy section because i guess they don't get the words 'children's clothes' very well.  So when i finally got them back to the kiddie clothes section KD ducks under all the clothes and makes sure she is completely enveloped in OCD.  Me, i am about to shriek, freak or just run screaming, so i turn around to get away from my daughter before i grab her and just haul her out of the rack of clothes.  I calm myself down and then decide it will be ok.  KD comes up to me wraps her arms around me and gives me a HUGE ocd hug.  So now i, too am contaminated.  It's what i came for, right?  Not exactly.  I wanted a little integration.  Touch some clothes with my HANDS, not my whole body, try some on and maybe buy one.  Nope, she ensures i get the full-body contact.  So we look for something for her to wear but she's not interested.  (of course not, her task to throw me under the rack is now complete).  So i go to look at pants.

The change stalls are all grungy looking inside and have black spots/ marks on the floor and in the corners.  I make Bruce look in and ensure that the dirt in the corner is not really mold. So i have these 4 squares (2x2) tiles i feel are clean enuf to stand on to change.  Isn't there some rule about having to have at least 1 meticulously clean change room for ocd disadvantaged people?  There should be. 

I try a few pairs of pants on and discover i have no idea what size i am anymore. I have gained a ton of weight in the past 3 yrs. Partly my fault, and partly ocd drug's fault.  I am working on that. Not hard enuf, tho, apparently.

So after all that we leave with nothing. I sat in the car staring out the front window the whole way home.  I was in shock.  Not thrilled, or exhilerated like i sometimes am.  Just in shock.  I asked Bruce on the way home if it was ok to change into pj's when we get home.  It's only 7:30, mind you.  He says yes, it is.  I throw all my clothes in the laundry becasue i don't want ocd reminders on me.  That worked fine for me.  But KD, altho she washed her hands and got into her pj's too, had a head of hair/ face still full of OCD.  This was ok as long as she was watching tv and i was upstairs.  When she came upstairs and wanted to snuggle with me it became a problem.  I told her that i was scared to hug her because of her hair.  She sat for a time and then disappeared into the bathroom.  When she came out she said she'd washed her hair and her hands so i wouldn't be scared anymore.  I let her hug me even tho ocd didn't really think that wiping her hair a few times with her hands really constituted cleaning it. I thot it was nice of her to care, since mostly she doesn't. (she's 5) I even lay in bed with her and read to her. 

When that was done i changed my pj top and decided that was all i could do about/ for ocd today.  Not sure if that was a success story or not.  i certainly didn't like the idea of 'contaminating' my whole house to desensitize myself.  Maybe that was just too much fo r one week.  I still have the anxiety or stress horemones or whatever coursing thru my body.  i hope they leave soon.  At least by tomorrow.


  1. What a story! Wow. I don't know if I'll ever be able to go in a used clothing store.. let alone try clothes on and buy them. I wish I could, for they are much cheaper than buying new clothes but I'm just not there ...I have actually never been there and I don't know if I ever will be.

  2. Yep that's what ERP sounds like to me. It sucks. I'm not gonna lie. But I felt a small bit of relief knowing that I'm not the only one going through it. Sorry that it is at your expense.

  3. Nice title. Sometimes I feel like ERP is self-torture. But congratulations on going into the store! And on staying with your daughter!

  4. Good for you! Despite my fears, I love Value Village. But you're right about those fitting rooms!

  5. Congratulations on going into Value Village! Remember, there is no such place as "completely clean"--OCD is selling you an illusion, and the cost is fear of touching your daughter, and annexing her into rituals, and no peace in your life. You did a brave thing going into the store, and facing your fear.