Saturday, June 23, 2012

What a Difference 15 Years Makes

Somedays I feel like I haven't made much progress on my OCD in the last 15 years. But then Thursday happens, and I feel better.

Back in 1997, in my first full year of OCD, I was walking in downtown Seattle and stepped on something that I think was blood. It wasn't a lot, and it's not like I could even see it on the bottom of my shoe later in the day. But when I got home, I took those shoes off and I never wore them again. I kept them around for a while, but I could never bring myself to wear them. Years passed, and eventually I threw them away.

Fast forward to Thursday. It was a beautiful day, and I had an expiring REI gift certificate. So I decided to walk to REI after work; it's about a 30 minute walk from my office. About ten minutes into the walk, I looked down at my feet and saw what could only be blood. As someone with HIV fears, I often think red things may be blood, but lately I've become much more realistic in my blood versus red paint vs spilled red smoothie assessments. And this was blood. A fair amount, maybe 100 drops? It was still wet. And I was standing in the edge of it. My heart was racing. But I kept walking. In the same direction, apparently, as the bleeding person, because the drops continued when I did, growing heavier at the stoplight, then continuing along the path.

I didn't see a bleeding person anywhere, and I do hope they were okay.

So, what choice did I have but to keep walking? I thought back to 1997 and remembered the shoes. I looked down at these shoes. I love these shoes. I kept walking. I made my purchase at REI, walked back to the office. Walked through my cubicle in my shoes. Rode my bike home, parked my shoes in their normal space.

The next morning, oh, did I want to wear a different pair. Let these get "decontaminated" for a few days. That's the road to throwing out a perfectly good pair of shoes. So I wore them again on Friday. And didn't think about them again all day. Awesome!


  1. Ann, that IS awesome! I really fear blood and HIV too. I cannot tell you how many pairs of shoes I have thrown out over the years for various reasons. What a waste. Ugh. That was really great that you forced yourself to wear the shoes again. I sure know how hard that was. You have really done a good thing for yourself.

  2. Awesome indeed! I love how you gave us an inside view of your thoughts during all of this. And just to be able to see your progress over times is amazing.

  3. WOW!!!! That is really incredibly awesome, and gives a lot of hope to people who are still stuck in their own 1997. Kudos to you, big time!

  4. That is truly unbelivable!! I don't think I'm strong enough to do that. You should be very proud of yourself.