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  1. I am very angry. I received a grocery delivery and as I was unpacking I noticed a strong cigarette smell. I think he actually smoked while my groceries were in the car. I couldn't detect the smell once I got rid of the bags, so I put the groceries in a cupboard, and a couple things in the fridge. Then I realized that the residue is still there when even if I can't smell it anymore; someone with a better sense of smell could. I was able to get a refund so I just tossed all the food-- but this was after having it in my home for a couple hours. My concern is the third hand smoke exposure. I read it is just as dangerous as first hand exposure, and it's almost impossible to air out. So now what... I have smoke permanently trapped in my apartment, and I may have gotten cancer? Invisible chemicals in my home that will never go away. Toxic residue that is known to cause cancer. And since I inhaled a strong wiff of it, I now have nicotine inside me (I think) and no telling how long it will stay in my bloodstream. Am I going to start craving death sticks now?? I am so angry at this smoker. How can someone maintain a habit that affects the health and safety of others? They're as bad as sex offenders and I feel like I've been assaulted. How can I move on from this? Summary: I'm concerned about.. 1) the affects of third hand smoke exposure on my health 2) the implications of inhaling nicotine 3) the lingering residue in my apartment
  2. I don't dislike Jane at all (was that implied?)-- I want to know what she's doing differently. Maybe I can adapt it for myself.
  3. I've heard some people basically downplay the struggle of OCD by saying that "everybody has something". I've always disagreed because I think most people have brains that function the way they are supposed to, and they have no idea about the challenges I face every single day. In my family I am the only one with a mental illness, and I've had friends that didn't even know what a mental disorder was! From my perspective, most people have it easy, and a few unlucky souls have mental illnesses that make them have to work twice as hard for the same result. OCD affects me at work sometimes... mostly because it is so draining. Sometimes it can be hard to think straight when I'm at work, resulting in me not understanding some things as quickly as I would like to. I have a coworker we'll call Jane, and she seems to be able to handle anything, and is always very sharp. I felt like she didn't understand why I seem to struggle with things more than she does, and I told her this is because I have a mental disorder that makes life very difficult. Then she said something that shook me... she said she has 2 mental illnesses herself. Jane is clearly able to work under pressure much better than I can, and I thought that was because she had a normal functioning brain. If she has mental illnesses, that would seem to imply she is just better at managing them. I have a hard time with this because I've spent so much time and energy learning how to better deal with OCD. I spend so much time with therapy and reading self-help books. I replaced all my old unhealthy habits (like hours of playing video games) with healthy ones (like exercise and meditation). What am I doing wrong? Could it be that Jane's mental illnesses are inherently less severe, and that is why she seems more functional? Or is it more likely that she is simply a stronger person than I am? What does it say about me that I have obvious mental problems, while others who have their own diagnosis can pass for perfectly normal? If the idea that "everyone has something" is true, then that would mean there is no excuse for me to struggle with OCD the way that I do.
  4. Hi Gingerbreadgirl, You may have noticed this feeling before you noticed OCD, but this really sounds like OCD. It basically checks all the boxes! As I'm sure you know, it's ruminating on these questions that is the problem. You don't need definitive answers to close on them. Someone without OCD might not even ask themselves these questions, and if they did, they wouldn't search desperately for cold hard evidence that can never be found. You can change your default. Have you tried mantras?
  5. Thanks dksea! Yeah, a lot of these studies involving OCD get their findings from self-reported symptom levels. Do you think studies involving brain scans would be better? I've read conflicting opinions on them.
  6. I read a study in which the participant, an older man with OCD, tried a diet low in glutamate (found in MSG as well as naturally in some foods). The result was a complete disappearance of OCD symptoms. It almost makes sense. If you look at anti-anxiety meds (Xanax, etc), they increase GABA, which as I understand it is an antagonist to glutamate. GABA tells your brain to stop and chill out, while glutamate says to keep doing what you're doing. I also read they're working on a new medication specifically for OCD that targets glutamate-- presumably to reduce it. Incidentally, I've been on a diet high that is probably pretty high in glutamate (I might need to end this now that I've read about this study). I've been putting MSG on my foods since I read several articles saying it's perfectly safe despite its widespread demonization. Also, I didn't imagine dietary glutamate would affect glutamate in the brain. I have not noticed my OCD getting worse since I started adding MSG. OCD is about as bad as it's been for the past couple years-- long before I started the high-glutamate diet-- so I'm not seeing any impact for me personally. But then again, I've never tried a diet that was entirely free of glutamate either. What do you think? Would we all recover if we changed our diet (eliminating MSG, yeast extract, parmesan cheese, ketchup, soy sauce, etc.)?
  7. Sometimes compulsions themselves are triggers for me, so I do another compulsion in order to relieve the doubt-- even though it's a trigger. But what if the action is possibly what a normal person would do in a unique situation? In other words, you're not sure if the action is a compulsion. It may be an action you do compulsively, but maybe this time it is rational. So maybe you should do it just to be sure, but then you really don't want to because you know it would just trigger you, and start a never-ending cycle. What should you do in this situation? You have 2 options: 1) You could not do the action, thereby avoiding the trigger, and move on. 2) Do the action even though it's possibly compuslive AND it's a possible OCD trigger. If that's confusing, let me give you a very graphic example (sorry about this). This morning I had a lot of cramping, gas, and out-of-the-ordinary bowel movements. It wasn't quite diarhea or constipation, but it wasn't normal. I was on the toilet for a long time to make sure I was done. I was taking the morning shower and felt a particular feeling that I feel a few times a week. I'll try to describe it. It is when there is irritation in the bowels and anus, almost like you might need to go again. This is usually followed by body tension, and it goes away. Seconds later, you feel normal. When I feel that feeling I sometimes wonder, "Did I just **** myself? Is that why that irritated feeling went away?" So, I am in the shower , and I feel that feeling. Nothing too out of the ordinary. As always I think, "Did I just suddenly take a ****?" The compulsion I usually do is ruminating. Sometimes I will physically check, but I try not to do this one because it is a trigger in itself-- one of those things that would start that compulsive cycle. I consider going to the toilet to check, but I had a two reasons not to. 1) I often feel this and it turns out to be nothing. I often experience GI discomfort, and I am sensitive down there due to too much wiping. 2) Checking would involve irritating the anus even move, psych me out, and trigger my OCD. I wanted to move on with my day, so I did nothing. But should I have done something? On one hand, I avoided a trigger (avoidance), but on the other hand I chose not to do something that was likely a compulsion. So in this situation, or situations like this-- where you avoid an action (a possible trigger) because it is probably a compulsion, but you're not sure-- what should you do? 1) Not do the action (the trigger) in order to avoid triggering you and causing more compulsions. 2) Risk the trigger in order to relieve the doubt, because it may be a vailid response.
  8. When I try to explain it, it always sounds petty. I would like to be able to explain in a way that will help my friends and family understand why it is so debilitating. If I just try to explain how it feels, it just sounds like I need to toughen up and not get so anxious. OCD does deal with doing things that are not necessary, and fears that are not really valid, so I can see how someone (who does not experience it themselves) would find it more of a personality quirk than a serious disability. The fact that we are self-aware of it probably just adds to the confusion. How can we explain it in a way that gets the point across that it is a serious disorder, while acknowledging that the content of the obsessions/compulsions are not serious issues?
  9. Nah you're good! Thanks for the response.
  10. Hi Jenny, How do you know it was infected? As for dry hands-- you need to apply a thick cream and wear gloves at night.
  11. I've asked non-sufferers this question and I usually get this response, "People do not understand because have no reason to understand or care." That doesn't really answer the question. It only seems to reaffirm how ignorant people are. As a white person I don't have a particularly good reason to understand racially-charged police brutality-- but I still read about it and care deeply about it. I can at least relate in some way to the injustice of it. This brings up another question-- Do people have it so easy that they can't even relate to any type of mental suffering? I think they can only compare it to having a bad day or being "in a mood" (and we all know OCD is a bit more complicated than that). I can think of so many examples of how people in my life have been completely clueless. This isn't the best example but it's a recent one. I was saying to a work acquaintance that I only got 3 hours of sleep, and says, "Oh yeah, late night down town..that's totally me every weekend. But gotta make sure to give yourself time to sleep." I had to explain that I give myself lots of time to sleep, but my thoughts cause me insomnia. This blew his mind that a person might actually be unable to sleep whenever they want to. To me this says his life has been so easy (as far as sleep is concerned) that he is completely unaware that this can be a struggle for some people. Is this something that (ideally) should change in our society? Or should we just accept it?
  12. My CBT continues to be successful and I'm washing my hands much less. Unfortunately my hands were so dry that they cracked and even bled on occasion. Should I be concerned about anything getting in my bloodstream? Our skin is the first barrier against infections, so says my dermatologist.
  13. Thank you. The feeling like I am on the right track is very beneficial. Feeling like I was "doing it wrong" was holding me back.
  14. Because I already get triggered every day, and because what I'm doing is actually working. It has taken so long to find the right approach that works for me. I don't want to start acting as if all the good work I am doing is somehow not enough. I already got the ball rolling, and I want to keep moving forward.
  15. Thanks to CBT, compulsions are finally starting to go away. For the most part, I'm not allowing myself to do compulsions. I accept the uncertainty, and suffer through the anxiety. I am feeling great about the path I'm on, even though it's exceedingly difficult. But I'm not intentionally exposing myself to anything. From what I've read, the important thing is to not do compulsions, and to really get the cognitive aspect. Is that a fair statement? Is it still technically ERP in this case? It involves practicing healthy responses to day-to-day exposure, but without seeking out the exposure.
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