Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Couple Decisions That I'm Proud Of

I very very frequently try to "stage manage" my life: Oh, what if I schedule that meeting for next week and the people are sick. Maybe I should try to make the meeting be by phone instead. Or maybe try to get it over with today. Or maybe I can call them and see if they sound sick before scheduling.

Exhausting, not all that useful, and certainly not good for getting over OCD. Twice this week I almost did that and then stopped myself. First was a meeting at work. I simply replied, by email, "whenever is best for you is fine for me."

Second thing was donating money for a friend's wedding present. I first starting thinking about germs I might be exposed to if the organizer had a card for me to sign. But I just got up anyway and dropped off my money at the most logical time to do it.

If I can start doing this on a regular basis, simply letting life happen as it happens, this will be a HUGE step forward.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


No, just kidding. We got about an inch and a half. Even I can drive in that. No snow day, either. Boohoo. Working up for a couple of good exposures tomorrow. I should probably plan some for the weekend as well.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Doing Better

The snow uncertainty is still there. The sick worker uncertainty is still there. But as all those self help books like to say, you can't stay amped up on anxiety forever. Something's going to happen, and I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Tough Day

Today I came to the disheartening realization that some (although not all) of the reason that it feels like I'm doing pretty well, is that I haven't been faced with much that's scary lately. Now part of that is that "scary" has been recalibrated. But still. Today it feels like the scary is piling on, and I'm not doing as well. Now, none of these "scary" things is objectively so bad, but that doesn't matter, right?

One of my coworkers just described her husband's big bad illness, then said, oh, and I'm starting to get it, too. Yay, thanks for being here to breathe on us! Then there's snow in the forecast, and my dad's saying things like, it's okay, you can drive me home if it's too bad. Umm, what? Even my mom who grew up in Buffalo can't make it up their street, and I'm going to? Hahahaha.

Anyway, so all that's going on is sick people and possible snow to mess up the schedule. It's nothing big, but I'm ruminating up a storm (no pun intended). I am going to work on turning this into a positive, a way to practice mindfulness.

Also, on my "to do" list for the year was "get sick and mess something up." So perhaps this will be my chance.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Day at the Science Museum

Yesterday I went with my sister and her kids to the science museum. While it's not officially a children's museum, the vast majority of people there had kids with them. It was packed, just full of germy children. I had one of those ironic, "washing leads to more germs" moments OCD seems to cause so frequently. I did okay touching displays- it's a very hands on museum- but after about an hour, I washed my hands with the sanitizer they had in some of the rooms. And oops, I washed off the hand stamp that let us move from exhibit to exhibit. Had to stop and get a new one from the the very nice older gentleman who had the gnarliest fingernails I've ever seen- fungus. I have some, um, issues, with nail fungus. Of course he very kindly pulled up my sleeve so as to stamp my hand high enough to not wash it off again. So there I was, "contaminated." I did sort of okay at the time. Kept going, but was very very aware of my arm. I did wash my hands again before leaving the museum. But I did not later change the shirt that he had touched, and when I washed, I probably didn't wash as high as he had touched on my arm. It's the next day, I still haven't showered and my arm is now causing me no problems at all.

Another good experience there: we were in a room with about a zillion little rubber balls that you could shoot around via air tubes (hard to explain, but fun...) Anyway, at one point, about 20 of these balls that had been touched by who knows how many people, bounced off the top of my head. It gave me some pause, but my sister and I were so involved with helping my nieces with our own project, that I barely thought about it. Again, still haven't washed my hair, and it's not causing me any anxiety. It was interesting to see how thoroughly keeping myself occupied could ward off OCD fears.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Immunity Through Germs- Hollywood Style

I'd never watched the show Raising Hope before this week, and chances are good I won't again. But this week I happened to read an episode description, and it included something about germophobia, so I tuned in.

I missed the first five minutes, but the show apparently involves 4 generations of a family, with an infant daughter, Hope. Not sure how, but our family ends up with a black light dealy that shows germs. And they're EVERYWHERE! Poor Hope! They freak out, and clean all heck out of their cluttered home. Result: no more germs! Yay! Then grandma walks into the room, and ACK, she's a germ machine. What to do?? They move her out to the greenhouse to live. During their cleaning, however, they discovered a cache of home movies. They watch and see grandma (back when she was still just mom) and grandpa are totally gross: sneezing all over, licking serving spoons, dropping silverware on the floor and picking it back up and using it (something I saw my dad do just last week, by the way).

Anyway, conclusion: hey wait a minute, we're all really healthy, and it's probably because of all the germs we were exposed to along the way. Let's let grandma come back into the house, too.

My mom is always telling me this very thing. It's probably even true. My nieces are germy as heck and after getting sick a lot as toddlers, I can't remember the last time they were sick. I was raised by my germy mom, and I'm awfully healthy, even now as I wash less and less. I mentioned watching the show to my mom and she said, I taped it and I was going to save it for you. I should have known.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Social Events

So my next focus is to ramp up my social events. I've got a few specific things in mind. Every time I think of them, my OCD says, NO! SCARY! So this will take some effort. At the same time, there are tons of things that my non-OCD self is really eager to join or try. So once I get past the scary, it should be great!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Boring Week

Not much to report. I guess that's actually a good thing, since half of my workplace is sick. I did avoid going into one sick person's office today, but other than that, I have been about as calm as I can remember about sick people in a long while. I guess I should stop in that sick lady's office to chat tomorrow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Three Steps Forward (and one step back)

Yesterday evening was great! I went to a scary social event that I'd all but decided I wasn't going to. There were people I knew were sick, plus someone whose kid might have strep. I went, I shook people's hands, ate food with those hands, and stayed the whole time. I introduced myself to at least 3 people I'd never met before.

When I got back to my car, I did not use the hand sanitizer I had there, and I went grocery shopping on my way home. It felt great!

My one step back? At the second store I shopped at, the clerk had a cold sore. I did okay for a bit, even ran my hand through my hair. But when I got home, I found I was very particular about what I touched- even wiped down my phone.

So, not perfect. But still a good OCD night. And it was fun, too.