I have a home!! Okay, well, a NEW home. It's not like I was homeless or anything before, but I was starting to wonder if I was going to end up that way...
My lease is up at the end of the month, and while I had the option to stay through June, I really didn't want to since all of my roommates will be moved out by then. So over the last month or so I have been madly scouring the area I want to move to for an affordable place to live. And it was difficult, to say the least. I was looking for a studio/single just for myself, but living alone, especially in my city, is not cheap! But it didn't seem like I had much of a choice.
Then a friend of mine suggested that I look online for someone who was trying to find a roommate. My therapist suggested the same. I hadn't even really considered it. I mean, I thought, "I don't want to bother someone else with my rituals, and I don't know if I can handle the pressure of having to keep them under control." It seemed like putting myself in that position would be highly stressful. But when my therapist seemed concerned about me living alone, I started to think about how my current roommates act as constant exposure and keep me from getting even worse: they touch things. They get things dirty. They don't follow my rules and it ultimately trickles down to me in some way or another, but because there's really not much I could do with it other than avoid to the point of complete non-functionality, I deal with it. I am used to it. It works, and I accept their contamination and just try not to think too hard about all the disturbing things they do.
So, I began to consider finding a roommate. I was still looking for my own place but thought I'd reach out and contact some people who were looking for roommates just to see how it went. And after spending several weeks searching for and viewing places for myself, I went to meet this first potential apartment-mate today, AND...I was sold.
I am both thrilled and terrified. She seemed like a great person and a very considerate roommate, and the last thing I want to do is freak her out or inconvenience her with any strange behaviors. Oh, and did I mention that she has a dog? A DOG!? I love animals, but ever since my latest OCD episode began, pets have been off-limits. I have avoided sleeping in my bed, washed everything I was wearing, and showered after hanging out with people's pets in the past. NOW, I'm voluntarily moving in with one. Let's just say that it'll be a good exposure :).
Anyways, this whole business of uprooting my life and putting it down somewhere completely new is like one GIGANTIC exposure. I will be extra motivated to appear "normal" for my new apartment-mate, meanwhile I won't be able to avoid certain things anymore (aka DOG). It's pretty much the perfect environment for OCD exposure. Right after making the decision I was slightly terrified and unsure of what I had done, but I think at this point, this is something I can handle. It makes sense and is definitely a choice that works in favor of my mental health. OCD may be shuddering right now, but I know that this is the decision that I wanted to make, a decision that will help me move forward on the path to getting better. It'll be a bit scary, that's for sure, but it's time to keep moving forward!