Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Get Knocked Down... Can I Get Up Again?

Dec. 18 2014

Yesterday afternoon was really bad. 
First of all I was feeling contaminated about the mouse thing and about picking up my dogs’ messes.  So much so that instead of going to my fitness test for the healthy living program I took a shower instead.  By the time I got to the ymca with my daughter I was rather late for that.  I mentioned that I had ocd stuff going on, and heather asked if I wanted to go back to therapy for a booster.  I told her that first I had to talk to the nurse.  And I did.  And she made some comment about how mouse pee has some problems with it and if it were her she’d wash all the clothes in her closet- including ties.  And wipe off all the belts.   That maybe the mice had been gnawing at my clothes.  I tried to explain that NONE OF THE clothes had been just laying on the floor in the mouse poop (or pee) that they had just fallen onto a shoe rack and maybe a sleeve or tie had just brushed the floor/ mouse crud.  Nope, she was adamant that I wash everything.  Needless to say, while I was expecting the work of an ERP of touching the clothes, wearing the clothes etc.  I hadn’t expected that I would be taking everything to the washer or garbage can.  What do I do with my husband’s suit?  If I take it to the dry cleaner, I and the dry cleaner would automatically be contaminated, so what would be the point?   So I should just throw it out?

I walked my mile (27 times around the track) with my head just spinning.  Afterwards I looked even worse than before.  Good thing tho, my blood pressure does NOT go up to reflect my stress levels.  Snicker.

Fast forward.   Now I’m at my daughter’s therapist.  I didn’t have time to shower before going there and I forgot a pair of clean long pants (actually I decided not to put on my shorts because I ha d planned to bring another pair of pants which I also forgot).  So now I felt yucky outside as well as inside. 

At Eric’s office I just pulled my chair as far away as possible and basically stared at the ceiling.  I guess he noticed because he sent Katrina out and asked what was wrong.    He listened and then stated that I shouldn’t have left therapy.  I asked what the problem was- I was soooo confused and thot that knowing whether to wash the clothes would solve the problems.  He told me to tell heather what I told him and she’d know what to do, or something like that.  So I left just as confused as before and absolutely embarrassed that I fell apart in front of him.

So I spent some time thinking instead of going to toastmasters last night.  Here is what I came up with:

I have a problem with my peanut butter theory.  And my molecule theory.

Peanut butter theory goes like this:  Bruce put on his tie.  Tie touched mouse dirt so now it’s stuck to tie.  Tie touches shirt and now shirt is contaminated.  Hands that touch tie or shirt are now ‘sticky’ with contamination and when they touch a dog’s leash, now that is contaminated.  When I touch the dog’s leash I am now contaminated.  Days later this is still true, unless I wash the dog’s leash.  It’s as if peanut butter was smeared from item to item getting everything contaminated in it’s path, even if I can’t see it.   Sometimes I can say shut up to that, but other times it’s just faster  & easier to wash and get it over with.  So I think  I’ve been doing that over the past few months.  I have noticed that my hands are more rough than usual.  But couldn’t really see why.

Molecule theory:  learned this in high school and useful for scrupulosity ocd, but also works for contamination ocd.  This one goes like this:  All objects are made up of invisible molecules floating around.  The closer they are together, the denser the object.  Hence a table has very close molecules (but they are still floating around) while liquid’s molecules are farther apart.  That’s the science.  The scary part is that I then concluded that molecules of banned substances like coffee or alcohol are floating around and may be separated from the actual liquid.  In real life this means:  an alcohol bottle box may have residual alcohol molecules inside and if I pack cups in them and don’t wash the cups afterwards, I would be inadvertently taking in alcohol, albeit a small amount.  Or a dried up coffee stain on a table would still have molecules floating around that could attach themselves to my hand and if I then touched my mouth I’d be ‘drinking’ coffee even though I hadn’t intended to.

Ok,  you can stop snickering now.  These were developed as a high school / college student.  While living at home I didn’t have to worry about any of this because my parents didn’t have any of that contraband in the house.  Fast forward to university:  Living with a stranger off campus.  She smoked (and probably drank coffee) .  One day she dried my dishes while I wasn’t home.  I had to rewash them (secretly) because she probably contaminated them.  Only I didn’t have the words or the understand ing of what was going on.  I just knew life was a lot tougher as a Mormon on my own.  I was responsible for all the accidental sins I committed, never mind any real ones.

When I was 41 and left the Mormon church my fears about coffee and alcohol disappeared. They were not sins and I wasn’t going to hell for drinking them.  (Don’t worry, all you non-Mormons.  You didn’t belong to my church, so these rules don’t apply to you.  You can still go to heaven.  I was just not so lucky.  I would have to be very careful all my adult life out in public.  Something I never imagined as a teenager.
But my theories didn’t disappear.  They are now morphing over to the mouse issue, I think, I hope.  Cause I’d much rather do ERP than clean out my whole closet   with all the contamination that would entail.

So it’s time to call the mental health clinic and my doctor.  Maybe I just need to readjust my meds till I work this out. 

PS.  My adult son says i should just impliment a 'salt theory'  for the peanut butter one. lol.
PPS.  In Mormonism you cannot drink alcohol, tea or coffee or smoke cigarettes or do illegal drugs.  I didn't want to explain that above because then i'd lose my train of thought.

Thanks for listening.  Sorry for any unclearness.  I’ll do a reread when I’m not so emotionally attached.


  1. Oi, this sounds pretty hellish. I'd say the suit is fine. I'd wash the other clothes, if necessary for peace of mind, but don't go overboard for what's probably nothing. Then again, I don't have OCD and the threat of contamination over my head. I hope you get it sorted soon though, so you don't have to worry about it anymore.

  2. Actually i'd rather not wash anything. It would be easier physically and even mentally to just sit with the dread until it goes away. Washing everything BUT one item will always leave the contamination in the closet. Washing everything would mean making sure it didn't fall or otherwise contaminate the floor on the way to the washer, and washing down what any piece of clothes touches. Then i'd have to have a shower. I'd throw out lots too. Belts, hangers whatever i didn't want to wipe down. And then ocd would come back stronger elsewhere. Ocd doesn't say: good job, thanks for wiping that all down. It says: now that you've done that, why don't you do this too...and on and on again. I called the doctor and the mental health clinic today. I may need more or different drugs. I don't know if ocd drugs just stop working and you have to find a different one. Or whether it's just my above theories that have to be erraticated and then i can find peace again.