Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Was Enjoying My ' I Graduated From Therapy' High Last Week. Then This Week Started Happening. Nose Dive.

It’s Tuesday and my thrill of the week: watching the garbage men pick up my trash AND watching the neighbors put their trash cans away- arrived.  I  registered it in my brain with a: "lets not let KD go over there until tomorrow and they’ve had a chance to shower/ wash up". 

 Then Bruce comes home and tells me how this same neighbor’s garage door opener doesn’t work and he promised to go over there and try to fix it.  Sounds down right neighbourly except he doesn’t know much about fixing garage door openers either.

 Anyway I tell him bye and over he goes.  Not til he’s back do I remember the garbage- can- put- into- the- garage-,then- they- touched- the- garage- door problem.  So I told Bruce to wash, but my Dread is still here.  After all he had to touch at least 2 door handles- the garage door to open and close it, and the basement door, same thing.  And knowing Bruce, he probably touched the hand rail all the way up the stairs.  And I cleaned some of that stuff yesterday.  So now i have a choice...well supposedly i have a choice.  I can get upset (done, check) and plan how i'm going to clean the door handles or get Bruce to clean them, or i can feel Dread and decide that since there's probably no VISIBLE dirt on the door handles, i should then change my beliefs to 'oh, that's ocd.  It's not a real dirt problem'.  I guess Suzanne would call that catch it, check it, change it.   

The spike of EWWW has gone down, so i can think rationally- or more rationally.  I REALLY WANT to let it go, but i don't want anyone touching the door handles either.  Why can't i have my cake and eat it too? 

 I'm now trying a visualization: I'm imagining people going down the stairs getting their hands all full of railing-cooties and then adding a few more from touching the doors and then touching my car.  Oh no!!! And now I have to get in the car.  Not a pleasant visualization.  And i'll probably have to redo it a few times before it feels even some-what ok. 

It would just be so EASY to take a paper towel and some windex and FIX the problem.   Rationally I guess I could say that it's pretty cold out, so germy cooties woud just die AND the neighbors don't work at a toxic waste plant, so their garbage is probably benign and even IF the garbage man touched their garbage can after touching all the other people's on the street, those people's garbage cans were probably just as benign (unless they have mice or mold and i woudn't know about any of that since i'm not doing a neighborhood survey to find this out) so it's probably ok ....and it's not really convincing me....

That wasn't a good thot-path to go down. 

 Back to: noone around here works at a toxic waste plant because as far as i know there's none in the city so regular household garbage is probably benign.

To distract myself:  Last Monday was my last therapy appointment with Suzanne.  I now have all the tools and meds necessary to function  or at least to 'look like' i'm fuctioning.  So I was flying high and whenever ocd reared its ugly head i could beat it down just by telling myself " i'm a GRADUATE, now, na, na, na na na."  Kind of like how Harry Potter couldn't be touched by the  depression Dementors on the way out of the woods because he was feeling so good inside (not saying anymore in case you haven't read the books yet).  

It's been a week tho, and my euphoria has settled down to a feeling of loss.  Sometimes I couldn't wait for a week to pass to see Suzanne, now i have a whole LIFETIME left without therapy.  Maybe that fear is what ocd is riding on and coming back into my head by.  Cause yest. I didn't do the garbage all that well, meaning i had to clean lots more than i was planning to after taking it out to the street and putting it in a can.  I guess a grade of 70 isnt' what I want.  I want 90 - 100% ALL THE TIME.  And that is not happening.  Well, there's always next week to get a better score.  Since garbage day never goes permanently away.

Well, i don't feel sooo bad about the garbage can cooties on the door. 

 I don't have a ' someone's gonna get sick from this'  problem, but a 'ew, now my house will be dirty from people touching the garage door and then other stuff in the house ' problem.  Breathe,... visualize, ...breathe,  I understand that the brain doesn't know the difference between a visualized action and a real one, so i can flood my mind with the situation BEFORE anyone actually creates it for real.  This way I can somewhat deal with it without yelling at my family.

ok:  IF there was something yucky on the garbage man's hand and he got it on their garbage can, and they got it on their garage door and then Bruce got it on his hand, by the time Bruce got home, it would be soooo diluted (or whatever the word is for solids) that there isn't any dirt left.  And I bet this train of thot works even better for imaginary cootie ocd dirt.  :) AND it will get all cleaned off next Monday anyway, unless i forget.

Well, now i'm exhausted and need to take a break from ocd thots and go read little house in the big woods to my daughter before she falls asleep.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Did It!! Finally. Thot I might have to start volunteering to do the neighbours' laundry for practise!

fri. 13th Jan.
I decided to do the laundry after 7 tonight, so if I screwed up, I would be able to have a shower and count it for an evening shower, not a 2nd shower for the day.  I reread my thought record- the alternative thots and kept a mantra going: 'its not toxic dirt….' I also decided that if I still needed to screw something up before my last therapy session on Monday so I’d be able to talk it out, that would be ok too.  I picked up the pile of laundry from katrina’s room.  So far ok.  That’s not usually a problem.  Got the laundry from our room.   Got the towels from the bathroom that needed washing.   Loaded up machine.  Then remembered the ‘toxic’ laundry hanging on the drying rack from the ymca weeks ago when I touched the shower curtain that had black spots on it.  I decided that was nonsense, grabbed the towels and swim suit and threw them into the laundry too.  Detergent went nicely in the machine.  I still have about 10 loads to go before this bottle runs out and I can get a  clean bottle to go along with my now ‘clean’ dirty laundry.  Then I may have less problems if I accidently touch something after touching the detergent.  I know I could just wipe off the bottle but that may not make it anti-dirty.  Maybe next time.  This time I just wanted to get everything done.  Wiped the floor, stuck the paper towels into the garbage bag and washed my hands.    All done.  All happy. 
I felt funny- like dirty after washing my hands.  I didn’t want to touch my library books or my nice warm fuzzy robe I wear to stay warm and cozy in .  We started getting KD ready for bed. Out of nowhere she ran over and grabbed my shirt and when  I questioned that she hugged me.  So much for ocd.  I had to get over it fast.  I did feel awkward for a few seconds while Bruce tugged her away from me.  I went to hug her and let her know it was ok.  We got in her bed together and I read to her for a little while.

Jan. 17.   Yesterday was my last day of therapy!!!! My counsellor thinks i'm ready, and so do I...sort of.  I'm excited and happy- it's been a long hard journey- but also nervous because this doesn't mean that ocd has disappeared, only that i am now capeable of dealing with it as it happens and with cbt and act tools, before it gets too far. 

Erp today involved me putting some stuff in the kitchen garbage can and because the bag hasn’t been pushed all the way down, the paper garbage is settling near the top.  A Kleenex rolled off the garbage over the can edge (that I’d cleaned just yesterday cause it was garbage night) and onto my sock/ maybe pantleg.  What to do?  Change pants?  I  didn’t want to.  I wiped my leg/ sock off with a handful of water but that didn’t seem to do it.  So I sat with my leg sticking off the couch.  After a while I decided that nothing was wrong with the pants/ sock (show me the dirt).  and I am now sitting with my legs crossed on the couch. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: 'It'll Be Okay' How I Kept OCD From Ruining My Life by Shannon Shy

Shannon Shy, a Marine officer had ocd. Not the ‘cute’ kind where people say: “ oh, I’m sooo OCD”, but the real, devastating kind that turns your life and everyone in it upside down. Shannon gives a detailed description of all his ocd symptoms and how they affected his life. He uses the words ‘tortured’, ‘exhausting’, ‘haunting thoughts’ and anguish. All strong words that underscore the intensiveness and seriousness of ocd.

Most of Shy’s symptoms had to do with checking. Was the door really locked? Was that log over there by the side of the road really a dying person? Did I hit a bump in the road or run over someone? Was that thing in the pond over there really a person in distress? Lets go check. Not once, not twice but over and over. If he didn’t check, then the thoughts would come: it will be YOUR fault if the person drowns, the house catches on fire, the man beside the road dies.

Shy’s ocd had him feeling responsible for everyone who was swimming in the water. Did they come out safely? Where did the 2 ladies at the beach go? Are they drowning in the water?

And then there were the environmental triggers: a drop of gas that dripped on the ground while putting the nozzle back would have to be reported to the attendant. A discarded anti-freeze or other chemical container was cause for concern. Spilling gas on the grass while filling up the lawn mower meant Shy was contaminating the neighbourhood and that precise spot of grass must be dug up and discarded. A half-full bag of fertilizer lift on the military grounds made him anxious for weeks. Stepping in a puddle of fluid in a parking lot meant either cleaning his shoes or throwing them out.

Safety was also an issue. Shy would check the soccer field before his child played on it to make sure no rocks or other items were on it that could hurt a child. Were children in the park or doctor's office safe and being treated kindly by their parents? Were the airplane’s wings cracked? Did he leave the hotel room or house in a safe, sanitary, undamaged condition before departing? After doing his own checks he’d report his findings to the coach, attendant or officer in charge, often getting confused looks in return.

His mind could no longer tell the difference between an important or non- important issue. Log book entries while ‘on duty’were pages long because he had to report everything.

Finally after spending one early morning chasing down what ‘might’ have been a gunshot and reporting it to the police, Shannon became totally frustrated with himself and wished to die.He finally made a call to the Navy Psychiatrist. The psychiatrist diagnosed him with ocd and explained how ocd works. While doing a ritual relieves the anxiety for a moment, the thoughts return again, stronger and more frequent. Ocd feeds on itself.

After being given some medication, Shy was sent to a psychologist. There he was told he had to learn to accept the ocd thought and not resist it AND stop doing the compulsion. First tho, he had to figure out which of his thoughts were ocd because to him they ALL seemed legitimate. Ocd thoughts, he learned are those that second guessed what he saw or heard. Ocd came with an adverse physical reaction (heart racing, hot flashes).

Shannon Shy developed a set of ground rules for himself. And with some positive self talk he began practising what he learned. Ground rule 1 was that he didn’t have to be perfect. He could just manage ocd to the best of his ability. Rule 2 is that ocd is separate from Who He Was. Thus he attributed ocd thoughts to the illness (rule 3), not to himself. He was battling ocd. He practiced allowing an ocd thought to remain in his head realizing that he did not need to AGREE with the thought to allow it to move across his mind. Thoughts don’t hurt anyone. (rule 4) And finally rule 5 reminded him to resist the compulsion. With practise, he learned to stop the ocd at the thought with no accompanying compulsive urges any longer! After 2 years he was doing so well that he was basically symptom free and with a doctor’s permission slowly eliminated his medications.

In his second last chapter Shy mentioned some life strategies that have helped him. The first was a positive attitude. The second was to rely on friends, family and faith for support. Third, he believed in living life and enjoying it as much as possible. Finally he saw himself as a valuable part of the universe.

In the last chapter he has a bit of advice for family and friends of someone suffering with ocd. He tells them to educate themselves about ocd, tell the sufferer he is not crazy and there is help available. Most of all, he says, don’t be a crutch. Support and encourage your friend or relative but don’t make the decisions for them. They must battle the ocd thoughts themselves to win the fight.

What I like best about Shy’s book is his detailed descriptions of his ocd thoughts and compulsions. He also does a lot of positive self talk to get himself thru resisting a compulsion. ‘It’ll be ok’ is not just a hopeful title, it is his mantra whenever he battles an ocd thought. Funnily enough, it’s my mantra too while I am doing an ERP or waiting for the flood of feelings to leave.

Some of his ‘rules’ I had also already figured out for myself: ( think of ocd as a separate entity) or read elsewhere ( label irrational thoughts as ocd and don’t resist them but do NOT do the compulsion). Also, he doesn't go into much detail about his journey out of ocd.

This is a great book for a person who is just beginning their journey to healing from ocd. Learning the ground rules and life-attitudes and practising them will help them win the battle against this cruel disorder.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Soon I'll Have the Cleanest Laundry Around...and I'll Have to Do Someone Else's Laundry.

I'm avoiding is my next laundry erp.  Because it hasn’t been working out well for me, I’m now scared to do it and want to avoid it.  I also need to reread my thought sheet. If I REALLY did believe that my laundry was not toxic, than touching a piece of it with my toe shouldn’t have sent me into a tailspin.  So I guess my ‘imperfectness’ is actually showing me which part of my recovery I need to work on better.  But I do believe I still should wash my hands after putting laundry in the machine.  If that is true, then why can I touch the laundry w/o having to wash???  Why wash at all after?  Because I have touched the detergent bottles?  After I get new ones will they then be ok to touch too?  So many questions.  So much procrastination.  
Reread my thought record.  I think it’s ok if I let the used clothes touch my shirt as I’m carrying them downstairs.  I’m visualizing me doing it and am not getting too many dread thots.  Not gonna hug my ‘used’ washcloths, tho! 

Well, that erp didn’t work out too well.    So then I’m in the shower crying. I have to be careful in the tub so I don’t contaminate the curtain or the walls, my soap is disappearing fast and I botched up my ERP for the day.  After a long time and lots of wall/shower curtain spot wiping,I finally get out of the bathroom and get dressed.  My face is all blotchy red, my eyes are sore and blurry and my mind is exhausted.  Now I’m supposed to go on with my day like everything is fine.  But it’s not.  And then I look outside and realize that all my snow shovelling of 2 days ago has disappeared under the newest dumping.  I am sick of the snow and it hasn’t even been here a month yet!  
After a while I felt better. Then this other thought pops into my head, from my wiser Self.  It goes: 'isn’t it better that you make all your mistakes now, while you still have an opportunity to discuss them with your counsellor Monday if you can’t solve them on your own?'  I hate it when she’s right.

 Especially 'cause I want to be ‘right’.  And finished my ERPs.  Cause as far as I have planned this is the last one.  Couldn’t the last one be easy?  But that is not the way it works.  When I did the easiest one, it was also very hard.  But not traumatic.  I wish that my erp’s were all like the  mailbox one years ago! One try, success and freedom.  I still don’t feel like grading this erp.  I just think I flunked again.  And I don’t want to hear how since I actually got the laundry done, it was ok.  It was no worse than doing laundry and showering afterwards.  I just want to go to sleep and try again tomorrow. At lunch. After I’ve slept half the day away.   And if it doesn’t work I want to just be able to go back to bed.  

So, Abigail, i guess i too, am not really that accepting of a less than perfect grade. :)  But i want to be. Because that is the only way i'll survive this. So here goes:

10/10 for bringing the laundry down to the machine, not worrying if it touched my clothes.
5/5      for putting the detergent in without any mishaps.
2/5       for wiping down dryer and washer because while i was concentrating on the wiping my other
            hand might have touched my clothes.  Don't know for sure, didn't know what to do.  Guess i  
            botched it up again.  i undressed and did some other cleaning chores and then     
0/10     had my second shower in maybe an hour.

17/30  total.  A pass. Barely.  In my not-so-tolerant mind it registered failure.  Again. Humpf.  Another try tomorrow.  I can't fail at this EVERY time, can i????

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


There are some good memoirs out as well as good books about ocd.
If you were just diagnosed with ocd, or had family members who were,
would you sign the following books out of the library?

If they weren't in your local library, would you get them thru interlibrary loan?

Would you prefer to read them on a kindle/kobo or other electronic device instead?

Reason for asking:  there aren't any really good memoirs at my local library.  I would like to donate a few of the ones i thot were good success stories.  But i don't want to do that if people with ocd don't read books about ocd- because of fears or disinterest.  What do you think?


 Brain Lock by Jeff Schwartz,
Rewind, Repeat, Replay by radio personality Jeff Bell.
  It'll Be Ok.  How I Kept Ocd From Ruining My Life by Shannon Shy
When in Doubt Make Believe by Jeff Bell (above)
Freedom From Ocd by Jonathan Grayson (haven't read this one but hear it's a good ocd book)

thanks for answering. :)

Erp:  laundry.


1 Put detergent etc into machine.
2.Take laundry out of basket and off floor (the garbage day laundry) carefully, putting into machine by only touching my hands/ arms.
3.Wipe down machine. 
4.Take ppr towel and turn on tap. Wash hands.  End of ‘ pre-dirty clothes.  Now laundry is all clean.   
     Start over with new thought that laundry is not dirty.
5.Breathe. Calm down.  Make dinner.
6. Go to library!!!!!!!! Reward.

Thot record: same as before.

Results:  Well Bruce fell asleep around 3 and didn’t wake up for 2 ½ hours or so.  So dinner was before laundry which was ok.  I did really well until I kicked one of the towels on the floor with my foot. So I had to take my sock of and clean my foot. Sounds fine, quick, easy but not so because once ocd has a tiny grip it sinks its teeth in and doesn’t let go.  I wiped my foot and then wondered if my pants touched the paper towel.  So I took my pants off.  I wiped my feet and washed my hands.  Of course I was not impressed with myself- again- but tried not to beat myself up. -After all that would be perfectionism and that's not nice.- So what should I tell myself, I wondered?  I don’t believe in false praise as that doesn’t help anyone and even kids figure out its false.  I mean 2+2 = 5 is not ‘almost’ right, unless the kid is 3.  After that it’s wrong.  But on a math paper, you usually get more than 1 question to get  right. Getting ¾ questions right is still good, not perfect, but who says you have to be.  Ditto for a project. You get part marks for each section and maybe spelling and content.  You may end up with  25/ 35, but … and the light went on. 

To me, an erp is like a math question 2+3=5.  But erp isn’t as easy as that.  It’s more like a project. So I get 10/10 for putting the clothes in the basket into the machine,
 7/10 for getting the clothes on the floor in the machine because I touched the towel with my toe,
 5/5 for putting the detergent/ vinegar into the machine with no problem,
4/5 for wiping, because I messed that up a bit and
 0/5 for wiping my foot. (which was no problem before, but is now suddenly a major impediment to  
            my progress).
I get 7/10 because I didn’t shower, but I did change my pants.  I didn’t change my shirt and I realllllly
                reallllly wanted to by then. 
So my grand total for the project is: 33/45 which works out to:  73%  which is better than my university average, so I still did ok.  Maybe next time I can get 80%!   When I started I got  25%.  I had to take a shower!  That makes me feel a LOT better that 1/1 or 0/1 does.  Maybe I’ll even feel clean enuf to go to the library soon…if I give myself 5 bonus marks for going will that help me decide?  Lol.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oh, That I Were Perfect...

Today I got up around 9:30 but was still lethargic and tired the rest of the morning.  I decided to do an ‘easy’ wash. - Keep going with the ERPs so i don't get too scared. -A pile of tablecloths, tea towels, dish rags etc.  All coming off the table and stuff, so ‘clean’.  I wouldn’t worry about the tea towels already in the laundry basket way at the bottom today as I wanted some more success stories.  But that was not to be.  I almost dropped the detergent lid cap and didn’t know if it touched my clothes. I haven't cleaned that off so it's 'dirty' to me. Oh well.  After beating my self up, I decided to make some use out of my now ‘dirty’ stance.  I emptied 1 laundry basket into the other and cleaned the basket.  We want to clean up the whole basement on one of Bruce’s days home, so this is a start.  Showered.  Tonight is garbage night and so I get to shower 2ce in one day.  Yesterday’s shower was really short.  Today’s was much longer.  L  life’s not perfect.  Mine sure isn’t. get used to it Karin.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Humpf. It's just not leaving my mind.

 Still have ‘my foot is dirty’ thots in the back of my mind, even tho I’m sitting cross-legged on the couch and was doing that yesterday too.  It’s like my old thots from years ago that lodged there and just wouldn’t leave.  It takes a lot of energy to just ignore them.  Even while in bed.  I plan to wash the sheets today.  That should be easier than yesterday’s laundry because they are coming clean right off the bed… except my sheets which are now full of ‘foot contamination’.  Got to shower first tho, which should take care of above problem and hopefully there wont be any new problems that lodge permanently in the back of my brain.


Well I did it.  I took the ‘clean’ sheets off the beds without worrying if I touched the pillows/ blankets afterwards, put them in the machine, added detergent and more laundry from the laundry basket.  Then I wiped down the machines, didn’t wash the floor because nothing dropped on it (oh, wait, I did wipe the area where I had thrown the ppr towels from wiping the machine, and some extra spot wiping), washed my arms and hands, got some windex to wipe down the tap handles and threw the Kleenex away.  Washed hands again and ate a banana.  Am also wearing yesterday’s ‘dirty-pantleg’ pants trying not to worry about it.  Did think of not wearing them but wanted to work thru the residual dread feelings instead of just throwing the problem in the laundry.  Actually not having much dread right now at all. 

It’s after 11.  I got up just around lunchtime and I feel so tired already.  I have a headache too.  Dread has gone.  I get little snippets of thots tho but not much emotion attached to them.  “remember you touched this seat with your pants/sox.  Do you REALLY want to sit there in your freshly cleaned pj’s?”  “shut up”, I tell my mind and sit.   Interesting how I didn’t have a  problem with Dread about TODAY’S laundry, but yesterday’s.  I find this very tiring.  Time for bed, after I do some blog reading.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

AAAARG!!!!! Here I Am Waiting For Dread To Leave

I just finished the laundry, well 15 min. ago and have been 'entertaining' DREAD since then.  So while I wait for him to get tired and go away, I'll post my thot sheet and action plan and results.
   I post my thot records because they are actual REAL thot records, not from an example in a workbook which always seemed to me to be so uncomplicated and simple.  And the results were so perfect.  So here i post my real battles.

First of all Bruce dumped a pile of laundry from Tom’s room onto the floor, so now the floor is dirty to begin with.  Does taking off my socks when done still meet the idea?  I know it meets the letter of the law, as it would NOT be a shower, but do I want to start changing clothes as a habit? 

Action Plan

  1. take laundry off KD’s floor downstairs and sort into basket (lites) or washer. 
  2. I already put a bathroom cleaning rag and some towels and stuff from the bathroom into the machine.
  3. put detergent, vinegar and baking soda into machine.
  4. take stuff from basket and put into machine.  Do not touch basket ??
  5. clean off machines with vinegar and rag.
  6. wipe floor clean.
  7. take off sox??
  8. wash hands
  9. put on clean sox.
  10. sit and feel the dread while typing success story.
  11. finish reading my book when dread stops bugging me.

thought record  

 situation:  do laundry and only wash hands (up to elbows if needed)-and only for 1 min. or less, (not for an entire shower time frame J ) and change sox.

Mood:  80% thinking I can do the laundry ok. 
           : 120% thinking I can touch computer, library book afterwards with only washing hands for 1 min. or less. 

 Hot thought:

1.     the laundry in the basket is dirty.

2.     The basket itself is dirtier because it’s had ocd clothes in it before and I haven’t cleaned the baskets in a while- since the summer when sand was in the bottom of the baskets after camping.  

3.     Only a very long time under water and soap will get my hands ‘clean’

Anti- hot thots:

  1. Soap cleans doctor’s hands from bad germs so will also clean my hands even if I’m not washing them for 10 min or more.
  2. I didn’t work at an atomic bomb factory or anywhere else toxic dirt hides, so it’s only going to be ‘normal’ dirt on my clothes.
  3. my house is NOT a hiding place for toxic dirt; not even mold is toxic, it’s just bad for respiration and will not remain after a handwash.
  4. other people do laundry and leave the laundry room/ Laundromat without taking a shower first.  If they haven’t died and have touched stuff afterwards so can i.
  5. I USED to put laundry soap, clothes in a washer, turn it on, wash my hands and leave the laundry room.  I’ve probably even carried dirty laundry from `1 place to another without thinking about it (gasp).
Now it’s time to get Bruce to watch me while I do this before I lose my nerves again.

(That way i have 'witness' in case i'm drawing a blank on whether i did something wrong or not. Ie: if i thot a piece of clothing touched me he could say 'no it didn't.  Laundry touched the wall and stair rail on the way downstairs and he told me it was alright.  I was able to listen to him and keep going.  I only need to have him watch me for the first time or 2 until i feel comfortable and my inner OCD isn't screaming 'what if' lies at me. )

Well, I’m back, a bit shaky and very stressed.  It’s pouring off me like heat.  That was the longest load of laundry in a long while.  I didn’t touch the basket.  I got the clothes in with no problem.  The problem started when I was taking off my sox.  I put my foot  back in the ‘unclean’ area instead of taking a step forward.  So I wiped my foot off with the same paper towel I did the floor with.  Then I thought that was stupid.  Bruce turned on the water for me and I washed my hands, arms to elbow and the soap handle.  I think it was over a min. cause I forgot I was timing it until I was already started.   Then I had to put sox back on.  But first I had to wash my foot.  I guess Bruce was feeling sorry for me by this time because he got the Kleenex and did it for me.  I got the ‘easy’ sock on but couldn’t get the other one on without touching my foot. By now foot AND pantleg have ocd, no matter what I did.  I rewashed my hands, got a towel to dry them with and took the towel right to the basement and threw it on a clothes pile.  Now I think the whole area around the towel is also dirty because air would have been blown around by the towel falling and got dirt from the clothes to fly all over the place.  And I have to walk past that to get to my clean laundry in a while.

So now here I am exuding heat and dread and feeling dumb that I can’t get this ‘right’.  Soon I will have to start touching other items with my clean hands and dirty brain. I already touched the tv remote for KD but that’s mine, not the library’s.  don’t want to get my library books contaminated.  Now I’m feeling that all my clothes are also contaminated too.  Never mind that NOTHING touched them.  They were around the air of the dirty laundry.  That’s enuf.  So much for feeling wonderful that things were going so well today.  I could put the Christmas decorations away, toys away and noticed (again) how simple and non-energy consuming that task really was.  I can do so  much more in the same amount of time cause I don’t have to fight myself all the time and then take a break because I’m tired of fighting. 

I’m still saying no to reading my library book.  But I WANT  to read it.  soon. i. hope. Don't want to contaminate it, tho.   Lets play on the internet for awhile till DREAD leaves my brain and I can go back to being me.  I hope that’s what happens. :/  6:30.  it’s been 15 min. already.

6:45 and i've finished transfering my ERP from my journal to here.  Now it's dinner.  OCD DREAD is a lot lower but still not ready to read library books yet.  I can eat dinner tho. (because i don't care if i poison myself.  And i'm pretty sure it's all ok, says rational brain, when it gets a word in edgewise.

Happy New Year Everybody!!!!!

Dec. 2011
Woohoo!!!! Counselling is almost done.  3 sessions and I am cured!  Wouldn’t that be nice, if a magic no. of sessions automatically cured me. My counsellor is retiring in Jan. and  I wansn’t looking forward to another counsellor, so I busted my butt the past 4 mths so I could leave in Jan. too.  And I did it!!!!  yeah!!!!!  Do I sound happy enuf?

I actually feel fairly normal again.  Not constantly full of ‘free-floating’ anxiety worrying what ocd would hit and when and where.  I can go out, touch most things, drive, do chores, clean routinely, not fanatically,  can handle being ‘touched’ in public accidently by people, stuff,  a car- everything except an actual garbage can/ bag.  I can live with that.  I can go shopping at used clothing stores- for clothes &for toys too J.  I’m not afraid to get up in the morning anymore.

I don’t have to do anything til jan. except continue with the stuff already ERP’d.  but I want to play at doing the laundry without showering.  Kind of attack it from the side.  I’m going to see how i feel at the end.  I will be taking a shower but I will know how much work there would be to accomplish this task. My goal is to be able to shower in the morning or evening and do laundry as just part of the day, not plan laundry for when I want to shower.  If I ‘stumble out of bed’, right into the shower, maybe I’ll be able to get up earlier and feel awake.

 Thot Record:

Situation:  do laundry in clothes and only wash hands/ arms to elbows (for now)

 Rate mood:  na because I know it’s  not real

Hot thought:  laundry is too dirty- including detergent bottles.

Supporting evidence:  it’s been sitting around with other dirty clothes all week.

 Anti-evidence:  the worst thing I do is put the garbage out and that’s not toxic so how dirty can it be?  If I’m cleaning I probably have more cleaner on my clothes than dirt.  Clothes molecules don’t travel from one item to the next, so clothes don’t get dirtier the longer they are sitting in the bin…-right?? 

New thought/ balanced thots:  hand washing is as effective as a shower since it’s only my hands getting dirty…

Now I’m more nervous than I was at the beginning J.

Results:   sticking whole arm down into laundry basket and touching the basket with my arm = not clean- cant’ just wash hands. Carrying armloads of clothes downstairs= not clean.                 Cleaning drain holes in washer= not clean but not frequent job either.

Need to work on above thots to banish problem.

Dec. 23.  Another ERP day but I put it off til late afternoon. I washed the kitchen floor again.When I was done I picked the soggy popcorn off the floor that I missed with the broom and washed my hands    REALLY WELL.  I had touched my pants with the bucket.  It didn’t feel dirty; just contaminated.  So asked Bruce who said I could change my pants if I wanted to but didn’t have too.  So diplomatic that guy is.  That’s 1 for changing (me) and 1 for not changing.  So Tom (our 21 yr old son home for Christmas holidays ) was going to be my tie-breaker.  He asked what would be on the side of the bucket…and I said... cooties.  It was the only thing I could think of.:)
  I didn't change my pants but I took off my wet socks instead.   Now my pantleg is against the couch and I am not upset. 

Jan. 4.  
Tom went back to university on Monday.  It was a very calm, pleasant Christmas season… most of the time.  Tom being home wasn’t an ocd problem for me at all, and he seemed comfortable not anxious about me too.  I told him the ocd rules for the house- to spray the shower  with cleaner after he uses it.  That was it.   Compared to my old rules, things must be rather normal around here for him now. 

  One night as I was lying in bed not falling asleep, I had a memory come back from years ago- my teens,  something I hadn’t thought about for a long enuf time that it startled me.  I was concerned that now that the door to my past had been reopened by answering those questions from the self-esteem book a few weeks ago, that I was now going to have to deal with all of that again- not just with the residual anger I still have, but with the whole mess of feelings I thought I was finished with.  It wasn’t even ‘my worst memory’ or anything like that.  I got out of bed and took another melatonin pill * as the first obviously wasn’t working.  The next day or so afterwards I turned that memory and my fears over in my mind until I realized that i had a choice now in whether I spent my life just focused on the past.  I didn’t have to.  I had already done the therapy needed to work thru all my beliefs and feelings about my childhood/ teens etc.  None of that was in my life NOW unless I wanted it to be.  I had already sorted thru it all so didn’t need to ruminate on it.  I could, tho, IF I WANTED.  Just like I could focus on ocd for the rest of my life, IF I WANTED to.  I don’t HAVE TO.  So, I made a choice not to feel the frustration within that memory.  If / when stuff comes back, I can just look at the memory itself and then dismiss it unless there is a pertinent reason for it showing up.  That automatically took all the anxiety away, as I realized that I don’t need to be at the mercy of my old memories.  And neither did I have to be always afraid that ocd will come back like it was 4 yrs ago.  I worked HARD to decrease the anxiety around ocd situations. 

 As Katrina was going outside to play in the snow, she wiped her mitts on the stair rails.  At one time that would have been a big OCD trigger but now I just noticed it and let it go. 

While at my brother's house one evening,  I realized that Yvonne was collecting recycle and garbage for Pete to put out and might not have washed her hands before I gave her a hug goodbye.  And I didn't wipe  down my coat or my car seat.  It creeped me out a bit, but not so much as it would have a couple years ago.  When I tried to flood my mind with the thot & dread to see what would happen inside my head, all I got was a little ‘ew’. Well, except for the thought that maybe Suzanne (counsellor)  puts HER garbage out and just gets into her car and drives to work and maybe I saw her on  those days and she never told me so I couldn’t protect myself so now I have another ocd thought I cant do anything about except let it go.  And I don’t want a confirmation/ denial of this as I want to just let the whole thought go.  Not that it goes away completely.  KD is at the neighbor’s house and since yesterday was garbage day, is she playing near empty garbage cans over there?  Was their door handle ‘dirty’?  blah, blah. Blah.  Lets think of something else instead J.

Ate too much cake, chocolate and candy the past couple of weeks.  (well, you can NEVER have too much black forest cake or chocolate but that’s beside the point).  Am now back on my healthy food eating again.  Can’t go to the pool yet because KD is still home on vacation.  And every time the driveway is shovelled, it dumps snow again, so my car needs to be plowed out and I don’t want to do it.  I guess winter has finally arrived.  I wasn’t missing it!
While Bruce was outside shovelling I decided to tidy up the living room so I could vacuum it.  I went around putting garbage in a bag (not a black garbage bag, tho J ).  While doing this, KD came along and wanted the cardboard ‘castle’ back so she picked thru that garbage and I let her.  Once upon a time that would have been a no-no.  Once in the garbage and too bad. I also noticed that I wasn’t worried about how ‘dirty’ the vacuum cord was / or was getting while dragging on the floor.  My old ocd worries are not bothering me.  In fact,  I now know that they WERE ocd worries, not normal ones. 

Jan.5  Laundry day.  I decided to do 1 more step to make laundry seem like a clean activity.  I washed the laundry sorting bags and wiped of the rack they hang on.  I hadn’t been doing that, so to me the laundry area was ‘dirty’ because sometimes I’d drop an ocd-towel or pants or whatever into it.  if I think it’s a clean area, will I be ok with pulling laundry out of it?   Or do I just put a regular low laundry basket in the corner instead?  Wish I just had a laundry chute again.

Jan. 7 2012.  Today.

Touching the shower curtain while i was getting out of the shower made me pause, tell ocd it's ok, keep going and dry myself off. I didn't yell at myself or call myself names for not getting out of the shower 'right', which is an improvment in itself. But OCD is a sneaky little guy. So it came at me from the side: "sure, you did that, but you certainly don't want to TOUCH those parts of your body while dressing without washing your hands, right?" Obedient me makes sure that my hairbrush, deoderant and sox get done first but i refused to wash my hands til i was completely dressed. Big win for me, little win for OCD.

Now for the real ERP of the day. To do the laundry without showering afterwards. To make the matter worse, Bruce already threw a pile of laundry on the floor, so now it is 'dirty' before i even start. The plan WAS to pull laundry out of the basket, leaving the floor clean this time around to just get used to touching the clothes and putting detergent in the machine, wiping down the machines and washing my hands. It will now be a little tougher. I don't like showering enough to do it again today, so we'll see what happens!