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Jumbo

Is this OCD?

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Hi guys,

Sadly yesterday evening my neighbour's flat was burgled! 

He foolishly left his door unlocked and was visited during the night and had some items stolen. Now obviously, I feel terrible for the poor guy, but at the same time I'm now terrified to touch my outside door handle. 

I worry that the thieving scumbag touched my door handle whilst looking for someone to burgle. I imagine he was trying all the doors down the cul-de-sac to find one that was unlocked (he struck gold with my poor neighbour.)

I feel the urge to clean the door handle with bleach as I'm now convinced it will be covered in blood and therefore contaminated.

Feel really sad as lately I have been making progress towards recovery.

Jumbo

 

Edited by Jumbo

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2 hours ago, Jumbo said:

I'm now convinced

I bet you can’t see any blood on it. Forget about your door handle and the tiny, tiny possibility of microscopic traces of blood or anything else on it. Move on. Focus on other things. 

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6 hours ago, Jumbo said:

I worry that the thieving scumbag touched my door handle whilst looking for someone to burgle.

Maybe he did.  Its not important.  The risk you are feeling is not rational, its OCD.  Treat it as OCD.  

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13 hours ago, DC82 said:

I bet you can’t see any blood on it. Forget about your door handle and the tiny, tiny possibility of microscopic traces of blood or anything else on it. Move on. Focus on other things. 

I daren't look at the handle  @DC82

If I do I'm bound to see dirt or something on it and instantly presume it's contaminated blood (a common trait of my OCD.)

I feel so sick right now, I really don't know what to do. My anxiety is through the roof. I've tried to distract myself but have had no success. I don't see how I can move on from this.

Jumbo 

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10 hours ago, dksea said:

Maybe he did.  Its not important.  The risk you are feeling is not rational, its OCD.  Treat it as OCD.  

@dksea, I keep telling myself

"You have OCD, a non OCD sufferer wouldn't be worried about this... forget it!"

But I just cannot shake off the anxiety and the thoughts of "what if" are unbearable!

I'm really in a bad situation because I will run out of food in a day or two, and going to the shop isn't an option as it would involve having to use the door handle.

I honestly do not know what to do.

Jumbo

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Hi Jumbo

 

Sorry to hear about your recent knock back but i agree with others:) This is OCD up to it's usual tricks again. Nothing to worry about contamination. 

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Thanks for the reply @iamwesker

The problem have right now is I just can't stop thinking ...

The burglar tried the handle to see if my door was unlocked...

The burglar most likely had blood/saliva or a cut on his hand...

The burglar will no doubt be a drug abuser and no doubt have Hep B, Hep C or HIV.

Now my door handle is contaminated.

To me, all those above scenarios seem very real and very rational. In most situations when I am triggered I can "see the OCD" and I'm able to apply common sense and logic to discredit the trigger and eventually move on. 

This time... I cannot.

Can anyone explain to me why my take on this situation is irrational? Why would my door handle be safe to touch? I simply cannot work it out for myself right now.

I'm truly at my wits end.

Thanks for reading

All the best

Jumbo

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The reason why you are thinking this way is because you have OCD pure and simple. Nothing more. All of this feels and seems so real but that's the nature of the OCD beast. Nothing will happen to you if you touch the door handle:) 

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Jumbo, you need to see this as an OCD issue and not something real. Look at the anxiety you are going through. That is not normal. Look at how your mind is focused on that door handle and blood. That's not normal.

Your mind has created these crazy scenarios, which you needlessly buy into. First and foremost, you DO NOT know if the burglar touched your door handle. You don't know and you will never know. This is where uncertainty comes in. Sufferers hate uncertainty, but only about specific things their mind invents.

To be honest, you do not know if someone with bloody HIV touched anything you come into contact with on a daily basis. You really don't. I don't either. But the risk is so incredibly low as to be laughable.

This whole thing is a make believe fantasy created by your mind. Do you think your neighbor is sitting in his house right now, petrified of touching his door handle? Of course not. And the burglar did touch his handle!

Only because you made a great stride last week, so I know you can do this stuff, my advice is to march out, grab that door handle and wipe your hand all over your shirt. Say screw it, to heck with any compulsions and get on with your night.

The temporary anxiety you feel from grabbing the door handle won't compare to the accumulated anxiety you've put yourself through today.

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Thanks @iamwesker

I appreciate your kind words and support, thanks mate. :)

29 minutes ago, iamwesker said:

Nothing will happen to you if you touch the door handle:) 

I really wished I could believe this... my mind is really going into overdrive on this one :wallbash:

Jumbo

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Thanks @PolarBear

I understand what you mean about uncertainty and have tried in the past to embrace it, its just...

I have to be certain my door handle isn't contaminated. I use it everday and the thought of touching it is making me really sick with anxiety.

Fortunately, I'm aware that HIV loses it's ability to infect within seconds once it has left the body, so to be honest HIV infection isn't a major concern to me in this scenario.

However, Hepatitis B & C can survive in dry blood on surfaces for weeks. That terrifies me!

Therefore I imagine I will need to wipe the handle with bleach at some point. I know it may seem unnecessary and dissapointing to hear but I need to do something. 

51 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

This whole thing is a make believe fantasy created by your mind. Do you think your neighbor is sitting in his house right now, petrified of touching his door handle? Of course not. And the burglar did touch his handle!

To be honest @PolarBear I don't know how he is dealing with it. He probably doesn't give a hoot...

He doesn't have contamination OCD, but if he did I imagine he would be going out of his mind, just like me.

Thanks again @PolarBear

Jumbo

Edited by Jumbo

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One note: you do not 'have to be certain'. That's your mind telling you that. It is erroneous. 

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2 hours ago, PolarBear said:

One note: you do not 'have to be certain'. That's your mind telling you that. It is erroneous. 

To be honest @PolarBear, If I was touching something that is in public use, that many people had touched over and over again, then yeah, I would need to accept a degree of uncertainty with that. 

But thats not the case here and I think it's quite reasonable to want 100% certainty that touching my own door handle will not give me a disease or virus.

A Burglar may or may not have touched my door... I'm not willing to take the chance he didn't.

I'm gonna have to clean it. 

Also, I imagine there are lots of non-OCD sufferers out there right now, who, because of COVID19 wouldn't hesitate to clean up if a stranger had touched their property. When it comes to protecting your loved ones, everybody wants to be 100% certain. Nothing wrong with that mate :;

All the best 

Jumbo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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I don't want to argue, but your above post is your OCD talking. The average person, even during Covid times, upon hearing that a neighbor was burglarized, and even if it was learned that the burglar gained entry through the front door, would not be thinking about their own door handle being touched, let alone that the burglar had some kind of disease, let alone that the burglar could have had blood on his hand, let alone that touching said handle would expose the average person to an infectious, blood borne disease.

How's that for a run-on sentence?

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11 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

How's that for a run-on sentence?

Quite magnificent. :57439eb60db27_thumbup:

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Bleach sounds a bit extreme! Tackle this Jumbo - get to that supermarket and let us know what goodies you buy.

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13 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

even if it was learned that the burglar gained entry through the front door, would not be thinking about their own door handle being touched

Another neighbour claims they heard someone trying to open their door earlier that evening. The general opinion is that the thief was an opportunist, looking for unlocked doors. My front door is only few inches from my neighbours door (we live in flats.)

So, sadly, it seems pretty likely that that thief will have tried my door.

25 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

let alone that the burglar had some kind of disease, let alone that the burglar could have had blood on his hand, let alone that touching said handle would expose the average person to an infectious, blood borne disease.

Most Burglars tend to be drug abusers and it is very common for them to be carriers of some form of Hepatitis. If the Burglar has even a tiny cut on their hand its possible they could have got it on my door handle. I realise this may sound like OCD talk to many, but sadly, to me it seems very real.

Believe me @PolarBear, I really don't want to be worried about this incident. Especially as I had been doing so well the last few weeks. But I can't shake off the "what ifs?" and It's driving me crazy!

Anyway, thanks again for all your advice @PolarBear 

Trust me, it's always appreciated.

Take care buddy

Jumbo

 

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25 minutes ago, daja said:

Bleach sounds a bit extreme! 

Sorry @daja, I know you're not fond of the stuff. 

Even if I cover the handle in bleach I doubt it will still feel clean. 

Oh mate, what a mess I'm in... :doh:

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1 hour ago, Jumbo said:

But thats not the case here and I think it's quite reasonable to want 100% certainty that touching my own door handle will not give me a disease or virus.

It's not reasonable.  It's not remotely reasonable.  There is LITERALLY no way to be 100% certain of this.  There is no way to be 100% certain of ANYTHING. In order to be 100% certain you'd have to violate the laws of physics and/or be God.  Its that simple.  You have never, not once in your entire life been able to be 100% certain of anything.  Never.  You could soak your door handle in bleach for a week.  You could still not be certain its not possible to catch something from it, not to mention while you were busy focusing on the door handle there are myriad other possible routes of exposure even if you never leave your house.  Your goal of 100% certainty is unachievable.  It always has been.  It always will be.  You are, of course, free to continue pursuing it.  None of us can choose for you how you live your life.  But if you do choose that, you will continue to become more and more restricted and the OCD will not get better, your life will not get better.  You know that because you are continuing to suffer now even after all this time of giving in and doing these compulsions.

Is it hard to resist them? Absolutely.  It sucks, its painful, sometimes it seems like just getting through a day is the hardest thing in the world.  I know, I've been there.  I have been in very dark places with my OCD too.  But you can get out of it.  I know it seems impossible to resist, but trust me its not.  Get help.  Make a plan.  Have goals and steps to get there.  Sometimes you will not be able to resist the compulsions, especially at first, yes we understand that.  But you need to start challenging these false stories OCD is causing you to believe.  Like the idea that 100% certainty is ever possible.  

 

2 hours ago, Jumbo said:

When it comes to protecting your loved ones, everybody wants to be 100% certain. Nothing wrong with that mate

Its reasonable to want to protect yourself and your loved ones, its impossible to be 100% certain.  It is wrong to try, because it ruins your life by consuming you and preventing you from ACTUALLY living it.

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Thanks @dksea

I appreciate your post.

If the neighbour who was burgled lived across the street I would most likely have dismissed the incident by now. But sadly he doesn't, and the door to his flat is only a few inches away from mine.

I simply can't stop worrying that the thief has touched it at some point (to see if my door was unlocked.)

What makes it all the more distressing, is that I have made some really significant moves toward recovery lately. And this has just sent me back to square one.

Of late, I try to look at anything that triggers me from the perspective of someone who doesn't have OCD. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. This time it doesn't.

I'm feeling pretty low mate. If I could take a pill, fall asleep and never wake up, I would. I know that is a horrible thing to say but I'm just so tired of this damn OCD.

Sorry for the negativity.

Jumbo

 

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7 hours ago, Jumbo said:

I simply can't stop worrying that the thief has touched it at some point (to see if my door was unlocked.)

Trust me, I understand that its hard, but I think you underestimate yourself when you say you can't stop worrying.  You know from past experience that worry can fade if you do the work.  Its not always easy but eventually it does fade.  Often what keeps us trapped are the more subtle compulsions like rumination, etc.

That being said, recovery is a process, and resisting compulsions doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Its not ideal, but sometimes we give in to compulsions because we don't have infinite strength or patience, we just need a break.  You should try to resist a compulsion as long as possible of course, but maybe you have done as much as you can this time.  If you really really are at the end of your mental rope right now, and you really feel like you need to clean the handle, maybe thats what you have to do this time, it happens.  IF you do make that choice, I would recommend you try and do as minimal of a cleaning as you possible can stand.  Maybe wipe the handle with some soap and water, but not bleach.  Or try and spend only say 5 minutes on cleaning rather than 50.  That sort of thing.
 

7 hours ago, Jumbo said:

What makes it all the more distressing, is that I have made some really significant moves toward recovery lately. And this has just sent me back to square one.

I know it feels disappointing to have a setback, but it doesn't mean you are back at square one either, so long as you don't give up.  You have gained experience since you first started on your OCD journey.  You can use that to help your situation.  You mention that you already try to judge situations by how a non-OCD person would do things, thats an improvement and probably not where you were when you first began.  Absolutely it is frustrating to face setbacks, and to be in a bad place, I definitely understand that, but recovery from OCD isn't about never having bad times or setbacks, its about reducing them, (how often/how strong),  and being able to recover more quickly when they do happen, and being able to handle them better when they do happen.
 

7 hours ago, Jumbo said:

I'm feeling pretty low mate. If I could take a pill, fall asleep and never wake up, I would. I know that is a horrible thing to say but I'm just so tired of this damn OCD.

You have every right to feel upset, OCD is hard, and wanting to not have to deal with it ever again is understandable.  Some days are worse than others, and thats normal too, it sucks, but its part of life.  Try and do your best to make it through each day.  Look for ways that you can make at least some good out of them.  Some days will suck, some won't be so bad, some will be good, some will be great.  Try to remember that feeling bad right now isn't permanent.

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Hey @dksea 

Thank you for that understanding and encouraging reply. It was inspiring and really what I neeed to hear.

57 minutes ago, dksea said:

Maybe wipe the handle with some soap and water, but not bleach.  Or try and spend only say 5 minutes on cleaning rather than 50.  That sort of thing.

Thats pretty much what I was planning on doing. To be honest, I was going to give the handle a very quick wipe with bleach and just leave it. It shouldn't take more than a few seconds... hopefully. Also, I'm going to make a point of not examining the handle for bloodstains before or after (so far I have resisted) as no doubt I will find a speck of dirt and instantly assume its blood.

I feel sad that I'm having to do this, especially as I was doing so well. But, sometimes compulsions are a necessary evil I guess. 

I need to remember overcoming OCD is a marathon, not a sprint. And setbacks will happen. Thank you for letting me know its ok to not be ok.

Take care my friend

All the best 

Jumbo

Edited by Jumbo

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Hi guys,

I've managed to resist cleaning my door handle... so far. However I need to go out on Monday and it is going to be necessary to give it a clean.

Now, so far, my plan is to wipe it with bleach and just leave it.

I really don't want to use bleach as I worry it wil cause the handle to rust, and no doubt, if I see rust on the handle, i'm bound to assume its blood (in my mind they look very similar.)

@dksea suggested using just soap and water (thanks @dksea). But to be honest, I don't think that will be enough to allay my fears.

I've wasted an almost entire week worrying about this and I need to move on.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading

Jumbo

 

 

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28 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

You can probably guess what my suggestion will be.

I sure can @PolarBear

And, trust me, I have tried so, so hard to just summon up the courage to just ignore the fear and touch the damn thing. But the fear is just too strong.

Right now, my OCD is the worst it has ever been... and I have suffered with it for over 25 years.

I've had tons of therapy, done a ton of meds and nothing has worked (the only thing that has ever helped was Cannabis, but I can no longer access it.)

The last year has been just too much. And, I have come to the realisation that, at the age of 48, my OCD or life is never going to improve.

Sorry for the rant....

But I really am at a loss.

Jumbo

 

Edited by Jumbo

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