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jennielouises

OCD-UK Member
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About jennielouises

  • Birthday January 13

Previous Fields

  • OCD Status
    Sufferer
  • Type of OCD
    Contamination

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    West Sussex

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  1. I know how you feel. In my role I’m actually responsible for reading the WHO and HSE guidance and creating the guidance for employees. I’m good with where to draw the line at work but I’m struggling at home. I know the guidance is to just wash you hands a lot and avoid touching your face. But then I’d be stressed and anxious all the time. At least this way I have a safe space but I find it hard to control what germs come into my safe space. Especially as I don’t want it to drive a wedge between me and my husband. Before the pandemic I would have challenged my thoughts about the contamination and just let everything get “dirty” and waited for the anxiety to reduce. So I also was pretty much in control. But now it’s taking over
  2. Thank you. Both really helpful. I know I need to do it but it’s like there is a brick wall stopping me. I thought if I could work out exactly why I don’t feel like I can tolerate being unclean or germs being in my house then I could get passed that brick wall. If I could work out why I feel the outside world is so dangerous and an unclean place and why I think washing would help me. I know it’s linked to my emotions but the last therapist told me I just need to put my big girl pants on and get on with it. In some ways it’s like my security blanket even though it causes me distress in other ways
  3. The issue is I don’t really know what I’m afraid of. I don’t know what the thoughts behind my ocd are. I’m not afraid of getting ill or a loved one coming to harm. The only reason I have an issue with germs is if I’m ill, it will make me uncomfortable and my house dirty. I just can’t stand being uncomfortable or dirty. I’ve read break free from ocd but the behavioural experiments don’t help me work this out. One example is going to the shops and trying clothes on. The experiment would be to come home and not feel like I have to scrub from head to toe. Breaking free from ocd then tells you to look at the specific predictions and how much you believe it. But mine are that I will be unclean and the dirt will spread all over my house and be everywhere. Which I just can’t tolerate. Not that something will happen to me or someone. I believe this nearly 100% so I can’t really question it. Another example is cleaning the toilet and not wanting to scrub from head to toe. My prediction is that the toilet water could have splashed on me and I would then touch that part of me and spread it round my house. I won’t be able to control my environment and everything will be as unclean as public spaces. But again I believe that nearly 100%. I know about theory a and b, and black and white thinking but I just can’t tolerate not knowing for sure that I’m clean. I guess maybe that’s the thought? I also know that to get better I need to challenge my thoughts but I truly believe in them and the only thought is I can’t be dirty. Therapists have worked with me in the past to challenge my behaviours and I’ve done some but challenging them means making myself uncomfortable and unclean on purpose and I just can’t do that. My ocd mostly manifests itself with avoiding situations that will make me uncomfortable so it’s hard to do it on purpose. I’m not sure what to do to be honest. None of this is specific to Covid19 by the way. I felt like that before and realise I don’t actually feel any worse since covid19 as I felt bad anyway! Just right now I have an excuse not to leave the house and I feel so happy and clean!
  4. OCD: 'I spent 20 years preparing for the coronavirus pandemic' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-52564434 An article that I feel truly represents how I feel during this pandemic. Especially this hit... ‘Anecdotally, many people with pre-existing anxiety or germ issues have said they are experiencing less worry during the pandemic. Maybe because other people have adopted their worldview, are taking the same precautions, and are also now learning to manage high stress on a regular basis. This is true for me, to some extent. But the pandemic has also thrown up - or revived - some unique challenges for me. Public health warnings have reinforced the fact that germs are easily transferred from person to person, even as we pass each other in the street. Hand-washing guidance has made me wonder how often I've left the sink without truly being clean. And groceries have presented one of the great re-emerging problems of my life.’
  5. Ok I’ve decided to tackle it in two stages like cbt taught me. 1. I’ll use everything in the kitchen that’s been here for over 72 hours and learn to live with the anxiety of where’s it’s spread 2. I’ll touch hubbies phone and be ok with it 3. I’ll touch the things that have been here less than 72 hours. That’s going to be the hardest thing
  6. Thank you. That helps. I wish I could feel comfortable just accepting that
  7. Yes that’s exactly how I am with cleaning. It’s never enough. I’ve had cbt but many years ago but that focused on walking through bits slowly and sitting with the anxiety. But I need to get on top of this quicker than that. I know what you mean but it’s like my ocd has a stronger voice than my rational, common sense! It doesn’t help that my parents and sisters are cleaning all their shopping too (I know that’s not rational but it’s no wonder I have ocd!). BelAnna hubby won’t do that. He’s like the complete opposite of someone with ocd! I’ve managed to fight to get him to wash his hands when he comes in! He does wash the bags the shopping is in etc just not the shopping. I know I’m being irrational with the kitchen etc. The weird thing is I’m not scared of catching covid 19 in particular. I just feel like it’s confirmed that germs are everywhere! It’s not about getting sick. It’s about keeping things clean. So I have a hard time applying cbt when there is some truth to there being germs on things. I can’t get past the black and white thinking that it isn’t completely clean so therefore it’s dirty
  8. Emmy husband goes out to get the shopping at the moment. I badly wanted everything to be cleaned before put away but I knew from here that was an ocd reaction not a rational one. So he didn’t do that. But instead I just started avoiding the new food items for 72 hours. Then it got worse and the contamination spread. Mostly as my husband isn’t decontaminating his phone and he’s touching all the food, then the kitchen cabinet handles, the drawers, the fridge etc, the crockery and other food. So now everything in the kitchen is contaminated. As is his phone and it’s closing in on me. Even before covid I worried about shopping being unclean so always took one from near the back so it was unlikely to have been touched that much. But now we’re having a delivery and/or hubby gets the shop and he doesn’t do that. I can handle being contaminated outside but I can’t have it come into my safe space. My ocd is centred around keeping my home contamination free but also having the inability to actually clean away the contamination as I feel it spreads and I’ll never stop cleaning. It will be all over me and I literally feel like I need to clean the whole kitchen. Help!
  9. I’ve just read that article. Yes I definitely have mental contamination as I can feel dirty just walking past vomit on the street. but I do have contact contamination ocd as well. But I don’t fear I will get sick from the contact contamination, I just fear the contamination will spread everywhere and I won’t be able to get away from it. Like it will invade my world somehow. I still can’t find anything that quite explains that
  10. I had ocd before what happened at 14. I had issues with public toilets as well. I don’t know what amygdala is?
  11. Thank you both. I’m going to look at the book and the article. I’m familiar with cbt as I’ve used it for my other types of ocd and have had cbt therapy. Just no one really explained to me, like you have, the mental contamination 👍🏻
  12. Oh my goodness thank you. I had no idea there was such a thing as mental contamination but it makes so much sense. It’s always been linked to my emotions. I found the whole of our town centre “dirty” when I was younger as I had been dumped there and had an awful Saturday job in a shop that made me feel small and useless. I do think have some issues with the other type of contamination but the thought of it spreading all over me and it being mental contamination makes so much sense. Sometimes I’ll even feel like I have to touch my finger on something to clean it when I’m sitting using my phone! I haven’t even touched anything. Snowbear, I read something you wrote on someone else’s post about contamination trails. I do that too. Hmm interesting that the fear is that I won’t be safe or able to relax 🤔 I’ve struggled to find a therapist who has had experience of any contamination ocd that hasn’t been a fear of getting ill so I’ll have to do some research. Maybe I need to work on my social anxiety as the route of it?
  13. Does anyone else suffer with contamination ocd that isn’t linked to a particular feared outcome? I’m not afraid I’ll get I’ll or die, I’m not worried I’ll infect others or feel responsible for others. I just can’t tolerate feeling contaminated. I think my ocd stems from social anxiety and wanting to be perfect and fit in. My family all have traits of ocd so I pre-disposed to it and I guess I started doing the rituals to keep me safe. I’ve done it from an early age (mostly when I’d had to use a public toilet) but one of the first real memories I have is when I was 14 I was sick in the middle of the night. Suddenly my whole room was contaminated due to touching things when I had been sick (by tv remote for example) and I really struggled to feel like it was all clean again. I also avoid decontaminating things for fear that the dirt will spread all over me. I basically felt consumed by the dirt, couldn’t relax and couldn’t do anything about it without contaminating myself more (by cleaning). This is basically how I always feel about contamination. My home is like a protective box around me (especially my bed) and the only place I can relax. Therefore it needs to be clean. Yet my husband does the cleaning as I know I’ll never be able to stop cleaning and I’ll spend hours in the shower after. I get trapped between feeling contaminated but not able to do anything about it. I feel uncomfortable, dirty and unable to relax. But I don’t really think I have a particular feared outcome. It’s for that reason that I haven’t really been able to apply cbt techniques to it. All therapists think I’m afraid of germs (I use the word dirt instead to differentiate it) and getting sick or making someone else sick. But it’s not that. Anyone else like this? I know there is such a thing as just right ocd but mine doesn’t quite fit that or contamination ocd
  14. This post is really helpful. Thanks. Something I’m struggling with is cleaning things that aren’t my hands. So the government advice is the wash your hands for 20 seconds. But what about other things like whether I should disinfect my groceries? I’ve asked my family and they said yes but I get my ocd from them. My husband doesn’t think that’s necessary. The media (both traditional and social) tell me it is but that feels like ocd to me. It will also cause a lot of arguments with my husband
  15. Thanks polarbear well I did have a shower and put my clothes in the wash but I feel proud that I lived with the anxiety for 7 hours before doing it. That’s a step in the right direction
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