Monday, July 26, 2010

Does it ever end?

So, does it ever end? I believe the answer is a resounding no.

Let me elaborate. This morning I woke up and dragged myself to the shower like a good hygienic human being only to discover: no hot water. This is fine. I really don't mind. I can wait for the hot water to work again...I didn't want to shower anyway, and now well, I have an excuse to procrastinate it. But I would like to shower at some point today!

The "real" problem stems from the fact that I did laundry last night (Or perhaps the real "real" problem stems from the fact that I have OCD and want too much certainty about certain things...). So the question that arises is: did we still have hot water when I was washing my clothes?

I have become the clothes-shrinking queen since my descent into obsessive contamination concerns. I wash everything on hot!! And sometimes, when doing laundry, I will begin to doubt if I really did use hot water, and will check repeatedly that the correct settings have been selected (this is all even though I know, growing up, my mom rarely washed clothes in anything but cold water unless something was really dirty!). So yeah, hot water has become an important part of my laundry doing rituals, and although I know I can live fine with out it (I mean, I managed to survive growing up at home without feeling constantly dirty...), it has taken on considerable significance over the last year and it's hard for me to accept such uncertainty about the temperature of the water my clothes have been washed in. Oh my...OCD is so nonsensical.

Anyways, I seem to be having a lot of OCD moments these last couple days. I mean, my life is often one big OCD moment, but usually it's just lurking in the background, a constant hum that is ever-present but not debilitating anymore. It's hard to know if there have just been more unusual circumstances popping up left and right recently, or, if my more frequent compulsive responses are leading me to feel like more situations require immediate OCD attention. It's probably a combination of both, and the more I try to figure out "what I would normally do in this situation at this point in my treatment," the more I end up being more compulsive to avoid being "careless" too fast, too soon...before I have to for the sake of exposure... It's a very slippery slope!! A slope that quickly leads to large piles of "dirty" laundry and longer and longer hand-washes...oh, and sinks overflowing with soap suds...

I'm trying to get back on track but sometimes it's hard when OCD says, "No, wait! This situation, this time, is different! No really! You don't have past experience to draw upon to define your course of action for handling this particular circumstance. You can't trust your old pre-contamination self either because back then you did all sorts of things that you would never do now. So do the thing that seems compulsive. You don't know that it's compulsive even do you? Maybe a normal person would do this! How can you take so many other precautions to avoid cross-contamination and then let this violation go? Do the thing that seems compulsive just in case you are wildly off in your guess about what you 'should' do in this situation."

That's pretty much the baseline argument that my OCD uses everyday, and it's one that really gets me good, too. "This time is different! You haven't faced anything like this before! You should wash! Be compulsive! Don't take this risk! Not now! Not with this!" Ah yes, my familiar OCD voice...thank you for the confusion you cause me, and the never ending internal debate that continues whether or not clear-cut anxiety is there. You always keep my mind busy with unnecessary internal arguments. And thus you keep me coming back, even after the anxiety has dissipated, because the voice is still there, tugging constantly, telling me what I "should" do. I give in, just to silence the incessant chatter once and for all...until next time...


  1. I hear you on the "No, wait! This situation, this time, is different! No really!" My OCD invokes this one regularly. It wants to pick and choose what I do with my life. Writing these thoughts down has helped--I started to see the pattern and it chipped away at the credibility of the "this is different" argument, because every blessed thing was "different" according to my OCD.

  2. "I seem to be having a lot of OCD moments these last couple days. I mean, my life is often one big OCD moment, but usually it's just lurking in the background, a constant hum that is ever-present but not debilitating"

    I've been noticing this in my life more and more. I don't know if it has to do with just becoming more aware of OCD or if it's because mine has gotten so much worse over the years or what. I remember I used to think of it as this thing in the background that was super annoying, but I could deal. It's still that most of the time and then all of a sudden it starts yelling for a little bit every once in awhile. It's always there, just not always on the same volume.



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