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  1. Hi Belanna, I hope cleaning the floor went ok.. Maybe you could start a hierarchy specifically around cleaning tasks and try to allow your parents to take on as much as possible as part of the exposure?
  2. I actually signed in here after a long time away because I'm having a **** morning with household cleaning I used to have a terrible time consistently though and my place was horrible. Piles and piles of things i couldn't deal with--laundry, garbage, dishes...It was an absolute disaster. Anyhow it did get a lot better with the help of meds and CBT techniques. Took a while but I am currently at a place where my place is OK. it's sort of sloppy in a good way. I've found a middle ground. However once in a while I have freak out days like today where i feel so distressed by contamination fears. So then I come here and connect with others who understand. I hope things get better for you Belanna--did you start the meds you were thinking of? That will hopefully give you some extra strength to do the CBT techniques.
  3. Hi malina, Trying to stay engaged with therapy once one stops seeing a therapist, (or stops very focused work on a book in my case), remains to be my main issue as well. Being motivated because one's ocd is really interfering with normal life is one thing, but when we move beyond that, it is, as you know, important to keep up the progress... Staying accountable to somebody really helps. It's like taking music lessons from a teacher vs learning on our own. Knowing you have to show up at a lesson and demonstrate what you've been told to practice can work really well. But when we have no option but to continue on our own, we must really stay vigilant to stay on top of things. This is my ongoing challenge. I find coming here somewhat helpful. But honestly I'm not doing much to stay engaged. Sometimes I try to get out my OCD book to keep me focussed but that doesn't last long either! But i would imagine that would be a good idea. To sit down at a scheduled time each week with a self-help book for OCD, set goals for the coming week, and check off each day you complete them...Ok having written that, I will try to do that myself! It's good that you'll at least be continuing to see your therapist once a month. Maybe you can set goals together for the month ahead and at least you know you'll have to report back once a month on how you did. That sounds like a great goal. I find using the SMART goal idea really good too. Keeping the goals very specific--so instead of: "trying to stay home more when my partner is out" having it more set like " I will stay home one evening each week on my own" or whatever would be a reasonable goal. Anyways, again, something I'm not doing great at myself but it has helped in the past. You've been doing really well with all this. Keep at it!
  4. I can so relate to your situation. I was there about 6 or 7 years ago when I was going through my worst ever with contamination OCD. I had that exact same over-reaction to non-events and complete confusion. It's a terrible feeling. Your room is fine, the bathroom is fine, the coat is fine, the clothes next to the coat are fine. You don't need to do anything to help your room become more clean or "safe" than it already is. And as polar bear said " So, yes, the more you try to clean, the worse the feeling will get. Stopping the cleaning will help slow the anxiety even if it doesn't feel like that immediately. Eating and sleeping is essential. I know I couldn't eat or sleep much when I was in that state, because i was so busy cleaning everything. But it does make a big difference. Is your plan to go back onto meds? Are they SSRI's? That really helped me and allowed me to get back to CBT and be able to apply what is taught there. Wishing you well.
  5. Yes I really need to start using other stalls etc. I did use a different stall the other day but more because the one I usually use wasn't clean. So not the right reason but it did feel challenging to use a different one and my anxiety did go up which is what I need to aim for to continue progress. Yes exactly I've become habituated to the one I've been using so I need to try some others! That is really great. i'm so glad for you that you are getting on with CBT and making some progress with it! Have you finished drawing up your hierarchies that you were working on Belanna? I've had some various challenging situations this past week contamination-wise and I'm fairly happy with how I've been handling it. All this work really does pay off when we see how life gets easier in the long-term. I haven't had the chance to use public washrooms for the past couple of days but will get back to it soon.
  6. All really good advice here and I don't have anything to add. Just want to say that yes we all do need support no matter our age. I like people's ideas of moving into opening up slowly (and selectively) if that feels more comfortable. I don't share the details of all of my intrusive thoughts with my family. I save that stuff for my health professionals that I came to trust over time ( and even then I may not share everything all the time). But my family was key in giving me crucial support that I needed. They've seen me through terrible times with this illness and I don't feel they ever completely understood all the ins and outs of the disorder, but they were/are there and did what they could to help me get the proper help I needed. Wishing you all the best
  7. Hey malina, That's amazing you travelled abroad for 3 days by yourself! So great! A big congrats to you! Nice to have that big success and then to keep building on it as you are doing in choosing to challenge yourself to work from home. Keep up the great work. I hope we can support each other to keep making more gains in our recovery! Awesome! yes let's do this! I didn't use a public washroom yesterday as I was nowhere near one, but today got back to it. I'm trying to not get used to just using the same one, but when i went to use a different one, something triggered me and i ended up going to the one I normally use...oh well. My anxiety levels went to about 20 but it did come down quickly afterward.
  8. That is so good to hear you're back doing CBT! I know for me I had 2 different themes. One involved checking, the other was contamination so washing/cleaning and avoiding. I did 2 separate hierarchies for these. Then I chose to work on contamination first as it was the one that was most interfering at the time. Also when I started out with contamination, I did do further breakdowns of compulsions I was doing for each task, and how to start eliminating the compulsions from easiest to hardest. This was when taking a shower took me 7 hours, taking the garbage out took me about 3 hours etc. So I just broke each of those down into all the compulsions I was doing and worked on eliminating them.
  9. @BigDave That is a really good start. i agree with Dksea that a further breakdown would be helpful. I found it very helpful once I was able to draw up a hierarchy that went up in increments of 10 so there's not such a big leap. I wouldn't write those off necessarily. Might be a good place to start and see if it easy for you.
  10. Yes I remember when I was first just trying to get to the point where I could just wash my hands in a public bathroom. Once I was stuck there washing and washing and the cleaning person came in and gave me the strangest look. haha Well I used the public one again today and made myself do just one round of soap. I've been noticing I've been taking longer washing my hands at home too so I'm getting that back down to just one round of soap too. My other thing I need to do is use different public bathrooms as I know I've just decided this is a particularly good one. Mostly clean, often no one else in there. Excellent. Yes let's keep at it!
  11. Yes I do also agree about going to the doctor for sure. I just thought you meant your usual compulsions were getting harder to manage while you've been sick. That happens to me.
  12. That's great! Every step we take toward defeating OCD is a step in the right direction. And it's really good to decide to do something like that on a daily basis. I just about came home without using a public washroom again, but when I thought about posting that I hadn't achieved it, it made me go out of my way to do it. My anxiety was pretty much nil as the toilet looked reasonably clean. Funny though, I avoided one stall that I thought looked obviously messy and yet someone else just went on in with apparently not a thought about it! My other issue in public washrooms is I tend to over-wash my hands, wanting to use 3 rounds of soap. That makes me extra tense then when someone else comes in while I'm washing as I'm aware it would look very excessive and strange. I did get away with just using 2 rounds of soap even though it made me a bit nervous doing that as I needed to pick up groceries right after and like to think my hands are clean for that...anyhow got it all done! I remember how anxious just using a public toilet at all used to be so it's nice to note how this is getting better!
  13. Hi vivi Sorry to hear you're feeling so unwell! I find compulsions harder to challenge with any extra stress in my life. A physical illness is an extra stress, so maybe that's also making it harder to manage your compulsions. When I see that stress is making my OCD temporarily worse, I just try my best to keep the compulsions limited but also try not to beat myself up about it, knowing that once the extra stress goes, I will go back to better management of the ocd. People do get sick. It's a part of being human. No amount of compulsions will stop a person from getting sick, so the ocd part of your brain trying to blame your lack of compulsions for getting sick is faulty thinking. Rest up and get well soon. Wishing you well!
  14. Thanks for your vote of confidence Belanna!
  15. Hi Belanna, I think that's a good step to know that it is faulty thinking and that it is your ocd that is having you do compulsions around this rather than rational concerns. I also have contamination issues around doctor offices and hospitals and am still in the place where i need to change and shower after each visit. Some things that help me in challenging the thinking is observing other people (when I observe other people in my family going to the doctor and then coming home not changing/showering that is a good thing to remind myself that that is what normal behavior would be.) Of course when we do erp, we don't want to constantly try to reassure ourselves that our fears are irrational. We need to learn to sit with the possibility and uncertainty and the anxiety we feel around that, not do our compulsions even though we feel anxious, and get on with our day. . We do that in little doses working our way up our hierarchy of fear. As you know it isn't always possible to just jump to a higher spot on our hierarchy and not do the compulsions, so the other really good steps toward overcoming this is to be consistently challenging your contamination fears through working on a hierarchy, starting with the easier stuff first but working on that daily. Little by little we learn how to deal with the anxiety.
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