I've been working a lot (a bit) on my anxiety problems- or rather my lack of social skills. The goal is to learn to and be comfortable initiating conversations with strangers. First of all, i hardly know what to say to people- i don't watch the latest tv programs and don't know if the other person does either, i'm not much into sports teams and I feel that no-one will be interested in what I have to say anyway.
A lot of that comes from my childhood where i was picked on at home, school (until high school) and basically ignored at church when in my teens. I just played invisible. That way i didn't get much overt teasing.
So while at my daughter's ballet class i'm supposed to converse. And when I go to anywhere else too, Iguess. This wasn't working too well, as I don't know what to say to people I don't know, so I decided to go to Toastmasters.
Toastmasters is a non-profit organization where people come together to practise their public speaking and off-the-cuff speaking skills. I observed 2 groups. The first met in the evening and was smaller and everyone 'had' to participate in the off-the-cuff section. The second met at lunch time and people had to volunteer to speak because they had so many people attending. I chose to go to the evening one even tho I don't like driving in the dark because I know myself well enuf to know that if I have a choice to participate and make a fool of myself, I won't.
On Wed. evening they were going to have a Christmas Party after an hour's worth of meeting. I was thinking of skipping that (bringing a gift and all) but realized that there would be a perfect chance to chit-chat with a whole group of people I didn't know well. So I decided to go, not realizing it would be an OCD trigger too. OCD and Christmas don't mix in my book :).
Not too long before it was time to go, I was on the Toastmaster web site for my group and I read:
' bring a $10 new or gently used gift'. GENTLY USED???? That,
So now this fun evening was going to turn into an OCD event: When I went up to choose a gift, I had to wonder which ones were NEW, and which ones might have something gently used in it. Normal me is out of the picture and OCD is revving up the anxiety. Then I had to go to the pulpit, open it in front of everyone else and tell why it was 'the greatest gift ever'. That was the easy part after I realized I got a box of caramel popcorn. Pfew, It was NEW!!! Problem solved, right? Wrong.
After everyone had chosen a gift came the opportunity to steal. What if someone stole my 'new' gift, and i was left with something i couldn't tell was used or new- like a decoration/ ornament?? I certainly wasn't going to exchange my gift with anyone else!
Fast forward 2 days to today. I'd written out a bunch of Christmas cards that I stamped last night. Bruce was supposed to take them to the mailbox on his way to work this morning but he forgot. So I did. No big deal. Not until I put them into the mailbox. Then OCD showed up. Not BEFORE, when I could have thought about what I was going to do. Nope, it shows up just after I put the letters in the slot:
"You, know, Karin, the past owners of your house, the ones who left the mouse residue in your kitchen, could have put their letters in that very same mail slot you did. What are you going to do now????'
Well, it was too late to go into town to put them in another box or give them to a lady at the post office counter. If I was smarter I could have done that.
Then sane, rational me
So I touched the door handle to close it, put both hands on the steering wheel and drove back to my house (our mailbox is at the end of the road, a kilometre or so away). I am now sitting at the computer NOT having washed my hands, wondering if it's ok to wash before I touch all my stuff, or whether to contaminate my house further- or rather NOT contaminate it as NOTHING is wrong. Right?? Right? Right.
So Merry Christmas OCD... go suck eggs....Get samonella poisoning and stop bugging me.