Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun with Exposure

For years I haven't used carts or baskets at the grocery store. For the last few months, I've been using the small baskets. The last frontier is to use a grocery cart that has a place in the front for a germy kid to sit. If you'd told me 6 months ago that I would have used that cart without disinfecting it or me, I'm not sure I would have believed it. Yesterday I went to a fabric store and I used the cart. I even put my fabric right where the germy kid would have been.

I tried to up the ante by using the store's restroom. It was an objectively yucky bathroom, and I just couldn't do it. I did touch the yucky door handle with my bare hand on my way out, though.

When I do tough exposures, I try to rate my anxiety on a 1-10 scale, and then watch it fall. After touching the bathroom door and then picking out my fabric, I was at about a 9. It fell by the time I left the store. While waiting for the bus (oh, did I mention I took the bus, the busiest bus in the system, to go to the store?), I ran my hands through my hair and up and down my arms, to really "contaminate" myself. My anxiety still only jumped back to a 7 at that point.

It jumped back up a little more on the bus, as this bus was full of little kids, and it was crowded.

But I did it.

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