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  1. I just thought I would let you know how I got on seeing my uncle. I have to be honest it was very anxiety provoking and he gave both my nephews some money which in my head was contaminated. My mum looked after it for them which made me believe anything she then went on and touched after handling the money was then contaminated. Unfortunately these thoughts have remained in my head since, but I really tried my hardest to resist the temptation to clean everything. The one compulsion I couldn't stop was hand washing after I touched something I believed to be contaminated. But.. I am taking this as a small amount of progress as I wasn't obsessively cleaning everything which I really thought I would be doing. Yes, my anxiety levels have been very high but I keep trying to tell myself this is a good thing, because instead of acting on lots of compulsions, I am hopefully learning to tolerate uncertainty and with time my anxiety levels will lesson (fingers crossed!). I know I have only taken baby steps, and the biggest test will be visiting my uncle at his house or him visiting us which to be honest still fills me with absolute dread. I have also purchased a book to help me try and deal with my anxiety. Trying to resist compulsions whilst also dealing with intrusive thoughts has really shown me that I need to start learning techniques to help me cope with my anxiety, not just my OCD. I feel like I have zero motivation at the moment and my mood is very low. It's strange because on Saturday I was having an ok day and then I woke up yesterday feeling so incredibly flat and can't seem to pick myself up. There wasn't a particular trigger either, I just feel like my head is so heavy and feel so tired. I also keep hearing from my sister about all the fun amazing things she's doing with her life and instead of feeling happy for her, I feel bitter, because I want a life, one that isn't filled with OCD, anxiety, worry, fear.... Anyways, sorry for babbling on, it's just nice being able to talk openly on here.
  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to offer me so much help, advice and guidance. You have been such a great support and I will take on board everything you have kindly shared with me. It means a lot to feel understood. Thank you!
  3. @determination987 @C3PO @ocdjonesy @Lynz Thank you everyone, it really does help to talk about things and read all the wonderful help and advice you have to offer. I will take everything on board and hopefully I can face tomorrow and try and enjoy the week with my nephews. The trouble is being two young boys I am constantly worrying about their level of hygiene and not washing their hands properly! But... I will try hard to resist engaging in too many compulsions and understand that by doing this, I will feel a lot of anxiety and discomfort, but hopefully over time it will lesson and like you said @C3PO , I should look at this as a starting point in my journey to recovery. I will update you on how I get on but it probably won't be until the following week and this coming week is going to be a pretty busy time with my nephews. Thank you all so much again, you guys are the best!
  4. I hope this is ok to share. I read it online and found it very emotional. I think it sums up perfectly how so many of us feel. Dear loved ones, I know it can be challenging to try to look at things through the eyes of someone who has OCD, like I do. We may often appear illogical, unreasonable, or demanding. You might see our behaviors as absurd, and you may question our ability to reason. I understand this. I know it looks that way from the outside. Struggling with this disorder can be difficult, and that can make us seem rigid and strain our relationships. Please know that this is not intentional. We don’t want to hurt anyone. In fact, that’s often precisely what we are trying to avoid. I know you cannot walk in my shoes or see the world through my eyes. That’s okay; I wouldn’t expect that. OCD has not been your cross to bear. I would not wish this on anyone else. I know you struggle in your own ways with your own battles. I can’t know what that’s like for you. All I can do is be here for you and try to support you as best I can. That’s all I want from you as well, your love and support—especially when I am feeling at my worst. What I need you to know I need you to know that I need you. When I pull away or become avoidant, I am not distancing myself from you. I am trying to find solace in my mind. I am searching for any form of peace possible. My brain is exhausted. It may not look like I’ve completed much; it may even seem as if I haven’t been very productive today. If only you could see all that I have done internally, and all of the energy that it has taken. I know that on the outside, I may look fine. Please understand that I have become very good at hiding. I’ve had to. The world has not always been so kind about mental illness. It’s still sometimes misunderstood and stigmatized, so I often keep my struggles to myself. I also don’t want to be a burden, and I don’t want to be a source of stress for those that I love, so I stay quiet. I fight alone. I want to be strong and brave, but some days I can barely get out of bed. I count it a victory if I am able to cook dinner or clean the house or finish that pile of laundry. I am not lazy—when I cook dinner, I might be flooded with thoughts of accidentally poisoning all of the people I care about, and it may take me three hours to prepare the food to my safety standards. Cleaning the house can be overwhelming: what if I get cleaning liquid chemicals on my hands and it spreads to other areas of the home? What if my child then touches those contaminated areas and gets sick? What if the laundry has germs on it, and I somehow spread that to innocent people when I go to the grocery store? What if a pair of underwear still somehow had semen on it, and it causes someone else to get pregnant? What if on the way home from the store, I hear something and think I hit someone? I might go back and check several times, but I cannot be certain that I haven’t just committed a crime. You see, these what if’s constantly flood our minds. Before you have even gotten home from work, I have envisioned hundreds of horrific or disgusting images or thoughts in my mind, along with the worst possible outcomes for each one. I have considered that you will cut me out of your life, that you will realize I am a monster. I have pictured myself unloveable and alone for the rest of my life. I am in a constant state of fear. These things feel like they will be the end of us—images flood our heads about being in prison or going to hell for perceived miscalculations or accidents. Often, it just feels like it is all too much. Too much to think, too much to feel, too much to fight against. I know I seem distant, and in some ways I am, but it’s not because I want to be. I would rather be in the moment with you, enjoying what you are enjoying and participating in your experiences alongside you. But it doesn’t always feel possible. What I wish you could understand When I am in the midst of a debilitating OCD episode, I promise that I am not trying to be challenging or controlling. I hate the way that this illness sometimes makes me feel and how it can sometimes overtake my logic. I want just as badly—actually, probably even more than you do—to stop behaving in a way that OCD demands. I am frequently walking around in a fog, rarely living in the moment. Every minute can be filled with doubt and even terror. I am consumed by guilt, shame, fear, and those dreaded what if’s. If I could change this all, please know that I would in a heartbeat. I often question who I am at my core, unable to trust the person I logically know that I am. It is scary. I am frustrated and angry at myself. I internalize everything. I constantly feel “bad” or “wrong,” convinced I am a misfit. Believe it or not, I do see you. I see your needs and desires. I hear you and understand the pain that this illness has brought into not only my life, but into yours as well. Please know that if I could, I would stop doing compulsions and would get rid of all of the intrusive thoughts I have. I would love to stop doing these strange things that make no sense and only bring temporary solace. I want to focus on you and our time together. I feel myself constantly being pulled away into concerns about unimaginable things and your safety, along with the safety of everyone I care the most about. Sincerely, Every person struggling with OCD
  5. Thank you so much for this and I 100% understand what you are saying. I went into my therapy sessions last year thinking that by just simply talking about all my problems, they would be able to "fix" me somehow, but I soon found out this wasn't the case. Like you said, it is hard work and I wasn't prepared for that and all the discomfort and anxiety that would come with it. I wasn't aware of all the changes you have to make and only you can do this, nobody else. I think for me there were a few different reason why my online therapy sessions didn't work out and looking back, maybe I was one of them because it was incredibly overwhelming. I know I have to stop avoiding the discomfort and your words make perfect sense. I have a huge trigger event on Monday, meeting my uncle who has medical issues and I believe everything he touches will be contaminated. I know I will want to obsessively clean everything, like I have done previously, but I don't know if I can go cold turkey and just stop all my compulsions. I know if I say to myself I will only clean a little bit that won't work because I know once I start I just cannot stop! I just don't know what do because all options are hugely anxiety provoking!! I fear if I do nothing though, I will not be able to free myself from the feeling of disgust and discomfort knowing the contamination is spreading further and further if I don't try and stop it and I fear these feelings will never go away! But... if I don't try and resist, I will never get better and I REALLY want to start overcoming this. I just wish it wasn't so bloody hard!!
  6. @Lynz @ocdjonesy Thank you for sharing this info on emollient creams and I really hope I didn't offend anyone by saying their hands must still be dirty. It is just the way my crazy brain thinks! If a product says it kills up to 99.9% bacteria it makes me think that anything that doesn't say that must not remove germs and bacteria. I totally understand what you both are saying though and it does help to know these creams are used in hospitals. Unfortunately though, the eczema isn't my only trigger sadly. He has another medical problem that involves toileting issues and over the years this has become more and more of a trigger for me. Covid obviously meant we couldn't visit each other and however much I feel bad for saying it, this was good for me because it meant I could avoid any major triggering situations. The trouble is the more I've avoided situations involving him, the bigger the issue has become.
  7. Thank you for your caring reply, you don't know how much someone saying to me "You've got this" actually means to me. I don't have anyone to talk to openly and honestly about my OCD and anxiety, I don't think anybody can fully understand until they are going through it themselves. I have found this forum to be a blessing, people just get you and know the difficulties and struggles we pretty much have to face on a daily basis. I think self compassion is something I definitely need to work on. I put myself down a lot and think "why me". My sister is the complete opposite, super confident, happy and enjoying life. She has a family, a career, all things I can only dream of. You are so right about once the compulsions start they very quickly spiral out of control. That's part of what I'm dreading, everything that follows after seeing my Uncle. I know we do compulsions to bring us some temporary relief from our anxiety, but boy are they mentally and physically exhausting!! After a big trigger, my contamination fears can go on for such a long time, sometimes over a year later I can still believe something to be contaminated.. how crazy is that! I would love to think that I can get through Monday and not engage in any compulsions afterwards but I just can't see that happening. But I know if I just allow myself to do a very small amount of cleaning there is no way I would be able to stop at that. I just don't know what to do! Thank you so much again for all your helpful advice, it really is very much appreciated.
  8. Thank you for your reply. I totally understand what you are saying about taps etc never being 100% clean and this just adds to my contamination fears. My way of dealing with it is to keep cleaning them daily or use a tissue or just one finger to touch them. I know this is all wrong and is just maintaining the problem. I really hope to one day be able to break this vicious cycle
  9. I have a big contamination trigger coming up for me early next week and I am absolutely dreading it!!! I have not had to face my fears for quite some time and I can't stop worrying about it. I am meeting my uncle on Monday with my nephews and I have not seen him since last October when my contamination issues were hugely triggered. Unfortunately my uncle is one of my main triggers. I won't go into details but he has medical issues, one of which is eczema on his hands so he can only use a special moisturiser to wash instead of anti bacterial hand wash. In my head this can only mean that his hands must contain germs and bacteria because when he uses the bathroom he is not able to wash his hands properly and my contamination fears are based a lot around toilet germs and feeling disgusted by them! I fear anything my uncle touches will be contaminated, including money he is planning to give to my nephews. I will then feel my nephews have been contaminated and anything they then go on and touch will become contaminated, including the car, and then when we get home, my house will start to feel contaminated. I will then want to obsessively start cleaning everything, knowing I won't be able to get everything clean because of re-contamination and my anxiety levels will go the extreme! I know it sounds crazy but I just know that that one day will spoil the whole week I get to spend with my nephews, just like it has done many times before. My online therapy sessions I did last year were not really helpful and we never really worked much on exposure therapy to do with my main triggers. We just started off small and never really progressed any further because my sessions came to an end. I guess what I'm asking is, what should I do to lesson my anxiety? The compulsions themselves cause me so much anxiety but the thought of not doing them will cause me even greater anxiety. I guess I know what I should do (not act on any compulsions) but this just fills me with SO much dread... any advice and guidance will be very much appreciated. Thank you.
  10. Thank you for being so kind and understanding, it really means so much to me. I guess I went into therapy thinking that by the end of it I will be "cured" but felt so heavily disappointed when this wasn't the case. I kind of felt like a failure, but from reading on here I now understand that there isn't any quick fix and therapy does not always work first time. I am currently reading Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by David Veale. To be honest I was enjoying reading it up until I felt there was lots of work to be done... it just overwhelmed me and I had to take a step back. I do understand though that I have to put in the hard graft if I want to see any improvements. I think the thought of exposing myself to my fears and trying not to carry out any compulsions just scares the hell out of me. I have a day coming up next week which I am absolutely dreading as I know it will massively set off my contamination issues! I was actually thinking of starting another post relating to this and asking for some help and guidance! I will take a look at the book you are reading. I think instead of just focusing solely on my OCD I also need to concentrate on getting help for my worrying and anxiety. I'm sorry to hear you are still suffering, but so pleased you have started a new therapy. I know I must do the same! I have also wondered about medication but I have never actually spoke to a doctor yet about my condition. The last time I went with a minor medical issue I just got the impression they were so stressed out and busy. I fear if I go and tell them I feel so anxious all the time they will probably just say to me "everyone is stressed these days". I guess I am just yet to find a doctor that actually cares and who I feel I could properly open up to about my problems. I really like your way of looking at it... accepting that we have a chemical imbalance in our brains and that it's not out fault. I will definitely remember this, thank you so much for your help and support, it is very much appreciated. X
  11. Thank you for your reply, it helps when you feel someone understands you, it makes you feel a little less lonely. I don't have anyone I can really talk to about my OCD and all the issues that come with it. My parents know a very small amount, but whenever I try and open up a little more about my struggles, they just don't understand and don't know what to say so the subject usually gets changed very quickly. I think if I were tell them what my brain goes through on a daily basis they would feel like they don't even know me. Sadly also I no longer have any close friends as my condition has meant I have pulled away over the years. I started online CBT therapy last year but it just didn't work for me. I found typing online very time consuming and I never felt I had any kind of connection with my therapist. It hugely put me off wanting to try again as I finished my sessions feeling very deflated and felt that maybe I was just beyond help. I have recently started working through a CBT book for OCD and have found it very overwhelming. I am only about 1/5th of the way through and there is already so much work they want you to do. I was hoping to be eased in gently but it just seems so full on at the moment. Maybe I am just not currently in the right headspace, I just feel so hugely anxious all the time and my OCD is just taking over everything. One minute I can feel a little in control and the next I feel like I'm drowning. It is crazy how something so small as going to the cinema has set me off on this downward spiral. I actually went again with my Dad yesterday which sadly was probably too soon for me as you guessed it, my anxiety was sky high and my thoughts just wouldn't die down however much I tried to just let them me. I think I again put way too much pressure on myself, I so wanted to just relax and enjoy the film but I knew by brain wasn't going to let me and I was right. I left feeling so ashamed and disappointed in myself. Today I'm having an incredibly low day, feeling like by brain is just never going to let me enjoy anything. I feel so tired, I just wish I could shut my brain off from thinking all the time, especially about such silly crazy things! I know I need to ask for some help again, I just don't know where to start. May I ask how got help for your OCD and Emetophobia and did it work first time for you? Sorry for babbling on so much, but thank you for listening.
  12. Hi, thank you so much for your reply. I was worried no-one was going to because they read my post and thought I sounded completely mad!! It's very reassuring that you think it's definately my OCD causing me this much anxiety, it just really confused me because I have been to the cinema many times before without this happening. Is this what they call rumination OCD or just intrusive/unwanted thoughts? I was reading tips on how to stop ruminating and the first one was to distract yourself, such as watching a movie ironically! The trouble I found was, I desperately wanted to watch the movie, but the harder I tried to concentrate and remove the stupid thought in my head, the more the thought stuck around!! It was like it was impossible to not fixate on it, like my brain wouldn't allow me to move on from it, and my anxiety just kept rising! I also suffer from Emetophobia, so that is another issue I have to control when going to the cinema. I don't fear others bring sick, I have a huge phobia of myself being sick in front of people. I have never actually been sick at a cinema, but the worry is still very much there and the fear of ruining the film for other people. Oh how I hate OCD and Emetophobia, to be controlled daily by your own ridiculous thoughts is so exhausting.
  13. Is this OCD or have I developed something else?? I'm so confused and feel like I'm going a bit crazy! Apologies if this is a bit long, I just wanted to share my whole experience with you. I've been to the cinema a few times recently. On one occasion there was a large man sat in front of me and his head blocked a little bit of the screen. I found this rather distracting and my focus would keep going to his head throughout the entire film. The next time I went, a similar thing happened and I was again distracted my a taller man a few rows in front. This time I kept worrying about the person I went with, thinking they couldn't see the screen properly. Afterwards they told me they had shortly forgot about the taller man and it didn't distract them from enjoying the film. I was the complete opposite and I just couldn't stop thinking about this man throughout the whole film. Before I went to the cinema again, I was getting increasingly anxious leading up to it, thinking I am never going to be able to enjoy the film because my brain will not be able to stop focusing on something distracting... and I was right, but this time it was the jeans I was wearing, for some reason I just could not get comfortable and I just couldn't steer my focus away from that (crazy I know!) I knew this was getting ridiculous now, but I just didn't know how to stop it. I went to the cinema again yesterday and again was super anxious beforehand thinking of all the stupid things that my mind could start fixating on. Just as the film started I thought, wow I may actually be alright this time, but nope, all of a sudden I had an uncomfortable feeling that the people behind me could see me. I normally sit right at the back but this time I was in the second row from the back, so I wasn't used to having people behind me. I tried to look round a couple of times, but this made it worse as I then started to worry that they may have seen me looking at them and they would think I was a right weirdo! I just couldn't stop thinking about these people and did or didn't they see me looking at them! Obviously the more I tried to not think and just relax and enjoy the film which I desperately wanted to, the worse it got and my anxiety was sky high pretty much throughout the whole film. I feel so incredibly disappointed in myself and every time I go it is just getting worse and worse! It is like I know it is going to happen and it can be over the most crazy and stupid little things, but once my brain is fixated on it there is nothing I can do to distract it! I should say I have suffered with OCD for many years, both intrusive thoughts and contamination and have always been an over thinker and over analyse pretty much everything. I also suffer from anxiety. But, for some reason, I have never had this issue before and am wondering if this is another form of OCD or possibly an extension to my intrusive thoughts.. one's things for sure, it is stressing me out big time, which I guess is just making things worse!
  14. Since I finished my online CBT sessions, I felt rather demoralised that I hadn't made the progress I had hoped for and for the past month or so had kind of given up trying to help myself, thinking maybe I was beyond help and would be stuck with this for life. The progress I had made in regards to my unwanted/intrusive thoughts started to slip away and they began to rear their ugly heads again. This is the last thing I wanted, so I know I have to step up and believe that I can change! I just got so incredibly disappointed after my online therapy sessions that I couldn't tackle my contamination OCD, in fact, I feel like i made no progress whatsoever, it was and still is in control of me! I know from previously talking on here that face to face CBT therapy may be a better option for me so I may have to get myself onto one of these long waiting lists if I want to try and get better, which I desperately do! I was also advised to maybe talk about some of the problems I am having on here to see if anyone can possibly offer some advice, so here goes.... In regards to my contamination OCD, it probably started about 10 years a go and I believe certain events may have triggered it. One being my nephews and one being my uncle. When my nephews were born I remember their nappies being changed on the carpet floor and then hands not being washed afterwards, just rinsed under water as if that would clean them! My mind would go into overdrive thinking germs were being spread around and it was out of my control. Everything felt like it was contaminated. My uncle also has health problems which means he has 'toilet issues' and there have been some occasions that have totally grossed me out!! I know it is not his fault but I feel this has massively contributed to me having a fear of germs/bacteria. I won't go into all the details, but I started to dread him coming to stay with us. This gradually got worse and worse and I started believing he would contaminate everything he touched with germs and after he went home I would obsessively try and clean everything. I would feel anxious, uncomfortable and stressed in my own home for quite some time. I made excuses not to go to his house as in my head it was all contaminated. I feel awful saying this, but for the past couple of years Covid meant he couldn't come up and stay with us and that was a huge relief to me. Now things are pretty much back to normal Covid wise, I have more than ever before an absolute fear and dread of him coming up or having to go down to his house. I can't bear the thought of everything becoming contaminated again and then trying to obsessively clean everything, which is impossible and I just end up feeling so mentally and physically exhausted. I even believe that things from months/years ago can remain contaminated and if I touch them I will be responsible for re-contaminating everything all over again. I know it all sounds pretty crazy, but my uncle is my main trigger and I just don't know how to change that. Soon there will come a time when he visits and the thought makes me feel physically sick. I feel like such a horrible person for feeling this way because my uncle is actually a really nice person. My online therapist couldn't understand why I feel the way I do, she just kept asking me "but what would be so bad if things were contamination". She couldn't really understand why I didn't have a fear of the germs making me or my family ill and because we struggled to find a root cause I think she found me a puzzling case. I remember someone telling me once you can't habituate feelings of disgust but sadly we never got to discuss this any further. I would love to explore this a little more as I definitely feel like disgust plays a huge role in my contamination OCD. I also suffer from Emetophobia, again not a fear or getting ill or others being ill, just a huge phobia of vomiting in public that affects my life greatly. I know the two can be linked and I would love to one day be free from both of these debilitating conditions... Anyway, so sorry for babbling on, I will shut up now! Thanks for listening...
  15. Thank you for sharing all this helpful info. I have to admit it feels pretty scary thinking about the possibility of starting from the very beginning again. It took me a long time before I plucked up the courage to ask for help in the first place and I kinda feel a bit like I'm back at square one again! But like snowbear said, I just need to take some time to regroup, re focus and start again!
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