Monday, July 12, 2010

The Garbage Cans and Me

It's astonishing how much OCD activity my garbage cans cause. Partly it's the obvious stuff: it's garbage after all! But I get extra layers, too. Will the garbage guy have a cold and leave germs on the can? On a blustery day, will the cans roll down the street so that they get really dirty, or other people touch them?

Will i forget to put the can out, and then have to worry about having too much the next week? During these three weeks of construction, will the garbage truck be able to go down our street? If not, will my house smell like a cesspool of used cat litter? (I've gone so far as to plan how to take a little each day to garbage cans at the park, this before the construction even started!) Will the cans get contaminated by construction yuck?

Yes, I know! It's nuts! Just when I feel like I'm really getting somewhere, I'll spend a whole day (week?!) fretting about my garbage cans! It's long been a goal to 1) just put out the cans every week like a "normal" person and 2) spend no time contemplating the inner workings of garbage pickups.

I'm getting better, but as always. . . still some distance to go.


  1. Oh OCD! Isn't it bizarre how it can leave us worrying about whether or not we have contaminated things like trash cans? Trash cans!? I know I have certainly worried about that exact thing before. You step back and it seems absurd and almost comical - and yet it really does bother you! Like I said, oh silly OCD...

  2. Heh. Before contamination OCD, the only thing that worried me about garbage cans was the chance of touching something gross (wet, sticky) that would stink and require washing. Now? Ugh. I worry what has been in them, who touches them, so on and so on. So I can relate!

  3. I made it through step 1- the can is out!

  4. I came upon this because I need help for my father. he is obsessed with garbage/fresh air. he takes out the garbage from every single room atleast 3 times a day. He feels incomplete without filling up a few large black garbage bags, throwing out brand new items, expensive clothes, etc casually. He will start a fight if someone questions this and he has become hard to live with. He refuses to see that he has an issue, so of course he doesn't want help for this. What can i do?

  5. hi Anonymous,
    well, I'm not really qualified to give clinical advice. I can't even say for sure that it's OCD- could be something else going on. The International OCD Foundation website has information about people who can provide treatment for OCD. So you might want to contact one of these people near you. But I have to say, it's EXTREMELY difficult if someone doesn't see that they have a problem. Good luck to you.