Hi Everyone, bit of a saga here, but I am at my wit's end and feeling very hopeless 😔
I have contamination ocd, which I have been dealing with for about 16 years. Most of the time it has been relatively under control ( though still present), especially for the last 5 or so years.
Last month things got a lot worse all of a sudden. I stayed in a hostel for a stag do and when I got home I became covinced I might have picked up bed bugs, which is one of the things I obsess about having had them once in a previous flatshare. I had just about gotten back on track when about 10 days ago i was sitting on my sofa and a mouse ran out from underneath where i was sitting!
I had never been that bothered by mice before, and I tried to keep a level head about it and approach it how someone without ocd would. I cleaned up the droppings under the sofa and found a hole where they were getting in which I plugged. But I guess i was feeling weaker than usual because I found I couldn't stop obsessing about it - what if i didn't clean the area well enough? What if there were other places they were getting in?
I tried to put it out of my mind, but couldn't stop ruminating, and then a day or two later I found droppings in the kitchen 😱 . So I spent all the next the day cleaning out all the cupboards and washing everything, trying to find any place they could be getting in and blocking it up. By this time I was really spiralling, loosing any control over the thoughts - I felt like I needed to check everywhere in the flat for signs of droppings and any entry points, so I spent the following day doing that, and found they had also gotten in to our shoe cupboard in the hallway, which now makes me feel like all my shoes are contaminated!
Despite spending two full days cleaning and blocking up holes I still feel like the flat is now contaminated, that the mice could have peed or pooped on almost anything in the flat, and And that maybe i have missed places that the mice could still be getting in.
My partner who i live with has been trying to convince me that I have done enough, and I have been trying to tell myself that, but then this morning I found something down the side of the sofa - I used a piece of paper to pick it up and carry it to the bathroom to take a closer look, and as I suspected it was indeed more mouse poop 😭..
It's horrible because it's almost like when i find a new place the mice have gotten too it vindicates my ocd worrying - I was worried I hadn't cleaned enough, and then l and behold I was proved right.
And on top of worrying that the sofa is now contaminated, I am now also worried that i spread the germs around as i was carrying the poop on the paper to the bathroom, and also in the bathroom as i was looking at it over the sink that maybe particles fell off and have made the bathroom contaminated as well. So now as I am walking around I am constantly thinking I am spreading germs around, and that my feet are contaminated. And I worry when my partner uses the bathroom that she is spreading it around too. And i feel so stupid and guilty for ding what I feel was such a reckless thing - why didn't I just bag it up and put it straight in the bin!? I just feel completely overwhelmed, like I'll never feel clean or comfortable here again, I'll never be able to sit on my sofa without feeling dirty, or pick something up without worrying it might have mouse droppings or pee on it (case in point my laptop is about to die and I can't pick up the power cord as it was under the sofa where I found the mouse droppings and I am worried it might have gotten contaminated)
And now the mouse obsession has even spread to other areas, I am worried that any food in a shop could have had mice running over it in their storerooms so shopping is really hard. And in my office space I saw what i thought might have been a mouse dropping near my desk, so yesterday when I went there I had to move desks and sanitise everything with detol wipes, and when i made a cup of tea i was super worried that mice might have been in the cupboard where the mugs are kept, so I had to use a tissue to hold the mug, which then I worried may not have been that clean either. And every time I go back there I am worried that maybe a mouse ran over my desk in the night so feel i need to sanitise it every time.
It's crazy how quickly things have gotten so out of control and I am really struggling to cope, I don't really know what to do. Every day I wake up so full of dread and anxiety, it's hard to just get out of bed. Everything just feels impossible - like there is no way to feel like I can rid myself of this feeling of being contaminated by mice, and even when i do try and fight back by not cleaning, it's not making me feel better, I just feel like i am spreading the contamination around more and making my life harder in the future when i do decide to clean again.
I think it feels worse than some of my other obsessions because it's so uncontrollable... if someone walks in some dog mess to the flat or something like that, it's horrible for me but at least I can contain it, and i know once i have cleaned everything that it is gone. But the mice have minds of their own, so it feels like I can never be sure where they might have contaminated, or when they might return. It feels like they have infested my mind!
I don't really know what kind of response I am expecting for this, I guess maybe some reassurance, or anyone with contamination ocd who's been through similar things? or any suggestions of what I should do? I know I should just not listen to the thoughts, resist cleaning and carry on with my life, but it just feels so real that the thought of doing that feels utterly reckless and impossible.