Friday, February 06, 2015

Part 4 of My Back Story: OCD Gets Very Expensive & Dangerous

After Christmas was over I decided it was time for me to go looking for some help again.  This time I went to the health unit but they didn’t do home visits in this city.  I was given the addresses of 2 mental health places, so I went and filled out applications at both places.  One place called me back and I got an appointment with a counsellor again.  Her name was Suzanne.  The first session we met I told her that I’d heard about this program where you touch things/ do things you are afraid to do one at a time until you are cured.  But I didn’t want her to do that to me.  That sounded too scary.  She agreed to not do that, that her focus was CBT.  Learning better thought patterns.  OK by me!

As the days got warmer again the neighbour kids came out to play, along with their shed toys: wagons, cars etc.  And they wanted Katrina to play with them.  So one day I went out and played with them as I wasn’t going to let Katrina (at 3)  go out alone.  Everything was fine (I hadn’t come up with the mouse story yet) until I went inside and watched them put their toys away in the shed.  Then I freaked out in my head.   Now I AND Katrina were covered with mouse germs.  I changed her clothes and my clothes and didn’t want to play with the neighbour kids again.  But they kept coming over wanting to play so I had to keep making up excuses for why we couldn’t come out..  And I had to keep cleaning the doorbell!   One day one of the boys put away our garbage can before he went to school and so now I was REALLY afraid of the school gym.  I even went over to his house with a paper towel full of vinegar to wipe their door handle on the outside!!! Fortunately for me they weren’t home at the time. 

During that time I was feeling very anxious.  My ‘safe’ spot was on the couch with my laptop computer.  That’s where I spent most of my free time.  I was also playing with Katrina- using shapes to make pictures on a magnet board, reading stories etc.  She didn’t nap much except on the couch beside me, if I was lucky.  So on days she was home I had no break to look forward to.  While I didn’t believe in suicide, there were many days I just wanted to die.  It was so hard and tiring trying to be a good parent while having ocd. I was continually making Katrina wash her hands for some little infraction or worse yet, changing her clothes.

We had bedroom clothes (pj’s) and downstairs clothes.  We had a tv in our bedroom.  When KD woke up she could come into our room, sit in the cushy chair and watch tv.  But if she wanted to go downstairs I would have to get up and get her dressed.
No lounging around in pj’s because that would bring the bedroom ‘germs’ downstairs and/ or bring the downstairs- daytime germs- into the bedroom.

I remember times where I would finally be done the laundry and had my shower and it would have taken so much time and energy that I was crying.  See, after I washed up and brushed my teeth I could finally relax in bed and go to sleep.  So I continually touched the sink or faucet with my hands or arms and had to keep rewashing them.  If I dropped the soap in the shower, I’d have to wash the soap off.  If I touched the shower curtain or shower wall I’d have to rewash that body part.  For some reason the more I tried NOT to touch walls, sinks and the bathtub side, the more I’d end up doing it.  Leaning against the wall or doorpost was also a no-no.  So was using the stair rail.  All these things were potentially contaminating and I just couldn’t risk touching them without needing to wash afterwards.  Neither could my toddler.  She had to learn to go downstairs without holding on to the rail.  Not that safe but she managed.

Then we moved to another house.  Again, I had to pack.  Some things I had managed to keep clean (the book shelf) and I could just pack the books.  Other things like the toys, dishes etc. all had to be washed and then packed.   The house sold quickly and we had 2 weeks between our new house closing and the time we had to be out of the old house.  Packing and cleaning with Katrina and my ocd took a long time.  So long, that on the day we were supposed to be out I was still packing up and cleaning. 

The new house needed a paint job so Tom and Bruce were there painting while I was packing and watching Katrina.  One day I went over there to clean the kitchen.  The house looked so tidy when we’d done our walk-thrus that I was just expecting to do some cursory wiping.  Then I noticed the mouse droppings!  They had hidden them and the killing product behind dish washing liquid and in drawers.  I was so shocked and full of anxiety at that unexpected turn of events (they had cats!! And don’t people clean out mice droppings in their utensil drawers???)  I took the drawers, put them into garbage bags and threw them out the front door onto the lawn.  The kitchen is a galley one and the other half didn’t have mice droppings in it but now it was too late. I needed a new kitchen.   The painting was going well, tho. A few days before we had to be out of the semi, Bruce scheduled the carpet cleaners.  I had worked all night cleaning up the house of paint supplies and mouse stuff that kept finding its way onto the kitchen floor from the walls.  I even threw out the mat that was at the front of the house.  There were 2 piles of garbage- 1 in the basement and one on the front lawn.  The carpet cleaners decided they needed stuff to wrap around the wall so their hose wouldn’t mark it up.  The guys went to our garbage pile and pulled out 2 rugs and used them.  I almost lost it.  I had spent all that time trying to get the house ocd, mouse and dirt free and these guys had undone my work in a few minutes.  Later, after I calmed down, I agreed that Bruce should clean up what the men touched as he would only do the necessary things and I would go overboard and have to re-clean everything.  So he wasted a couple of hours re-cleaning that could have been spent packing. 

 We left behind lots of our kitchen stuff because we had to be out of the house and we weren't done moving. Thanks, OCD. The new owners of the house were not happy with us as they had to wait outside for an hour or more before we gave up and just let them have the rest of our stuff.  Maybe they would have been nicer had we told them I had ocd, but instead we just became part of a 'Nasty Move' story for the family to tell for years.

Late one night after the dumpster arrived at the new house, Bruce and Tom went outside and got rid of all the garbage on the front lawn,  then took off their clothes, threw them into the dumpster also and came back into the house.  Ocd was now everybody’s problem.  

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