Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Progress (Cake Involved Yet Again!)

I've mentioned before that my workplace has a monthly birthday celebration with cake. I've been eating it for a while, but I may not have mentioned that I often cut my own piece after everyone else is done, and I usually provide my own fork.

Today, I didn't do that. I watched the woman cutting the cake touch the face of each piece with the entire surface of her hand, and I ate it anyway. I used the plate and fork that were handed to me, despite knowing that 1) if they weren't run through a dishwasher, then they probably weren't cleaned well or 2) if they were run through our dishwasher, that the janitor unloads those dishwashers.

I'm feeling a little nervous about it all, but the cake was good! No one else seems to give it a second thought, and I'm trying to be "normal" after all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Sure It's Just a Coincidence

Yesterday, L says to me, "I have this spot on my back where something bit me. It's driving me crazy!" Of course, I go straight to "I brought him bedbugs." This ignores the fact that he spent 6 hours outside on Saturday helping a friend do yard work. But I will admit it's brought me some stress.

On the "plus" side, I've hauled so much stuff from my aunt's apartment to my home, that if there were any bugs, it's too late to prevent them now. So I'll carry on.
Oooh, now I feel all itchy!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Can Do This, Right?

I have one random line written down this week in my calendar. It says "to become the person I want to be." There's a lot of work for me between here and there. Most of it involving doing exposures without compulsions. My boss is going on a trip in about a week. This is usually where I'd do my best to avoid exposures to colds before then in order to avoid "ruining" her vacation. I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to do that this time.

My best friend from high school is coming into town on Wednesday for a few weeks. My instinct is to avoid her (and the new baby she's bringing with her), since people get sick on planes a lot. I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to do that this time.

And I have two family birthday parties this week. After scanning my brain for ways to get out of them, well, you know the drill.

So, let's see how it goes.

I'm still on high alert as far as bedbugs go, but I haven't done anything much as a result.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Doing Exposures

We got into the apartment today. Everywhere I looked, I felt like there were possible bedbug sources. It made for a not all that fun day. On the other hand, I didn't do any compulsions either. I came home, bringing home quite a few things from the apartment. I'm still wearing the same outfit I wore while I was there, and I plan to take my "contaminated" car to L's house tomorrow.

I'm not feeling great about any of these things, but I did them. At some point, you just have to go for it, so I guess I am.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Down in the Dumps

My aunt died on Sunday. I've done some grieving, and it feels okay. Unfortunately, my OCD has taken advantage of the situation, and I'm not doing very well at fighting back. At all.

My aunt left behind an apartment of belongings, of course. And we were planning to clean it this week. Until the landlord locked us out. For some reason, even having a death certificate and a will is not yet enough to get us access. This, unfortunately, has given me time to fret. And to accidentally read an article about bedbugs. First I was convinced she has bedbugs. Then that passed, and now I'm convinced that if we get a truck to move her furniture, mostly to my sister's house, that the truck will give her bedbugs.

And then of course I'm convinced I'll get them, and then I'll give them to the boyfriend, and he'll hate me forever, plus die young because he'll be exposed to pesticides in treating them. And God forbid my mom should ever get bedbugs. Her house is the most cluttered house I've seen this side of Hoarders. I can't even imagine. The fact that we're locked out, possibly for 30 days, means that I get to sit and worry. Since I'm totally ruminating and looking up information online, the fear is not subsiding.

I know I'll get through this, but right now it all feels really really awful.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I realized this week that my rumination is REALLY bad. I'm doing a bazillion exposures every week. Some by design, some because I haven't told the boyfriend about my OCD and he's not much of a hand washer.

But I'm worrying worrying worrying a LOT. It seems like there's always something coming up that's really scary and i "have to" fixate on it. So I do. To the point that realized I've set aside a lot of my fun free time activities. I rarely knit outside of the lunch group, I rarely read, I don't even watch my TV.

Some of that is extra time cleaning, with my aunt, or with L, but some of it has transferred to worry time. So my goal for this week is to spend at least an hour every evening either knitting, reading, or just watching a tv show. Will report back.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stressful Week

Doing okay. My aunt is not. She is now in the hospice system, is in a respite care situation for the weekend, and will hopefully move to another care facility on Monday. My mom had been staying with her at night, but last night, my aunt was unable to get back to bed from the bathroom, even with my mom's help. It ultimately took several firemen to do so, and my mom realized we can't do it ourselves any longer.

I've been able to step up more than I've expected, although my role has still been minimal. I'm not sure what the next week, or even the next few days will bring. It's not surprising that I'm pretty terrible with uncertainty, but there's nothing to be done but wait, and so I will.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moving On

As expected, as soon as I got something new to worry about, I moved on from the last paranoid event. Now just back to standard contamination stuff. Fun! At least I feel like I can better utilize ERP on the standard stuff. We're moving back into the rainy season. Wet contaminated stuff!

Today I babysat my sister's kids. Oh, my! They have a new kitten. I watched the kitten drink out of their water glasses and troop across every surface available (she doesn't have access to the kitchen yet, but I'm sure the kitchen counters are coming soon enough), and my niece demonstrated how the kitty drinks water by licking her wet hand repeatedly, a hand that was actually black from some unknown dirt at the time.

I've stated before that I'm pretty sure my sister's kids wash their hands a literal zero times a day. Given that, I thought I did pretty well tonight. And I remind myself that the kids are pretty healthy, so all those germs aren't doing much harm at all.

OCD and Paranoia

The worst manifestation of my OCD is that I get really paranoid about people harming me. About once a week, I do something or have some encounter where I end up fearing that someone is going to track me down and do me harm, often including that someone will be so mad that they will kill me. So far, it hasn't happened. :) As always with OCD, once some time passes, I can look back and think, "that was ridiculous." But at the time, it feels real, and not just possible but likely.

This is one of the places that I really think medication could reset my brain.

I recently completed a phone survey for a service provider, one in which I was not anonymous. I was a little bit negative (although not a lot). As soon as I hung up the phone, I thought, oh no! he's going to lose his job, and then he will track me down and kill me. Even as I can see that it's silly, I'm also running everything I said over in my head and trying to decide how negative it was. As always, ugh.

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Step Forward, a Little Bit Back

For more than a year, I've been meaning to get my furnace serviced. It had been five years since the last service. While I don't think it really needs to be done each year, 5 years is a long time. But I HATE having people in my home, plus my basement was grim. Last night, I did a basic clean of the basement. It's still a cluttered mess, but not humiliatingly so.

And today I called and made an appointment for the furnace service. Great news, but what's the "little bit back"? Well, I called to get an appointment for today, because it's sunny, and I wanted it DONE. The better "fighting OCD" approach would have been to wait until a rainy week, or to call and get an appointment a week out, so I'd have to worry about it.

But given how long I'd put this off, I'm pleased I did it. I also let the guy clomp through my whole house, instead of directing him to the side door as I often do. I'm feeling a bit icked out, but I know it will pass.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back Down to Earth

Well, that's not quite true. I'm continuing to make some really good progress, peeing my way through the public restrooms of Oregon.

But for mostly good, and partly bad, L really seems to like to spend time at my house. It's killing me! I'll think, whew, done for another week, and he'll be like, how about I head up to your house after work on Wednesday? Which is great in theory, but then my anxiety kicks in. Today is Wednesday, of course.

On the plus side, every time he comes over, I try to pick one big wreck in the house to clean. Someday, he'll actually be able to see all of the house.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Kind of Amazing Weekend

Yesterday L and I went to the beach. It was great! I managed two public bathrooms, with a bit of anxiety, but nothing too strong. I didn't take my shoes off on the beach, which may have been a little odd, but I think it was an okay choice. Mostly, I just didn't spend too much of the day worrying, which was so nice. The weather was gorgeous, despite a forecast that called for clouds.

I packed all the lunch food, with really almost no stress. That was great! Then after we stopped to buy drinks at a gas station right before lunch, I didn't bother to wash my hands before eating. That was tougher, but not so bad.

Then, today, oh my goodness! I went to visit my aunt in the hospital. I had planned to take the bus, in order to keep the hospital germs out of my car, but I decided to heck with that! I drove, I used the bathroom at the hospital, I drove home, and I didn't even change my clothes when I got home. I feel some anxiety, but as always, it's faded fairly quickly.

Thursday I was an OCD wreck, but let's just celebrate success today, shall we? That'll be a story for another day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Trying to Work On Exposures

I think I've been giving myself a pass, what with the scary relationship stuff. But I'm realizing I need to make choices to continue exposures throughout my life. Today I called to get the second half of my toenail prescription. I wanted to have them call it in to the local grocery store pharmacy, which seems less scary to me, but instead I requested the scary clinic pharmacy. I'm already regretting it, but that's the way it works.

This weekend we're going to the beach for a day. There will definitely be at least one public bathroom stop there. And I'm in charge of lunch, and I plan to pack lots of raw finger food type stuff- the scariest food of all.

I've seen myself fall back again on the "just stay healthy until" X date, and then it's okay to get sick excuse again. My brother in law left on an important trip today, and as always, I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn't ruin it. That's the wrong approach for sure!

I finally watched another episode of Obsessed. Will report back soon.