Saturday, October 13, 2012

Classic OCD Moment

Last night was a classic. After 90 straight dry days, yesterday we had more than an inch of rain. Yikes! I knew it was coming and replaced my old wiper blades. Or did I? On my way home, in the dark and rain, my brand new driver side wiper blade flew off my car! Now, my OCD could have latched on to whether anyone was harmed as the blade flew behind me into the road, but it did not.

I managed to see well-ish out the right side of the windshield, and thank goodness my route home took me right by an auto parts store that was open until 9.

The nice clerk at the store installed the wipers, I gave him a nice tip, and all was well, right? Wrong! As soon as a drove away, I thought, did I give him $5 or was it actually a $1 bill? Ugh, a $1 tip would have been insulting. I ruminated, I opened my wallet to try to mentally remember what I'd seen and done. I watched TV, where I kept seeing that stupid ad for McDonalds' dollar meal that features, you guessed it, a $1 bill.

The best thing to have done would have been to have imagined that it WAS a $1 bill. That the clerk was mad, that I ruined his day, that he told all his friends about the stupid tip he got, blah, blah.

I couldn't quite bring myself to do that. Instead, I went with trying to accept the thought as it came through my brain, but not stew on it. I also distracted myself with some fun craft activities.

It wasn't perfect, but I actually found as the night went on that NOT ruminating about it led me to feel more confident that of course I'd tipped what I intended (and not in a reassurance kind of way).

But it also pointed out, yet again, that when you give OCD an inch, it will take EVERY opportunity to make you feel uncertain and waste time that could better be spent on just about anything else.


  1. Ann, What an adventure you had! I know exactly what you mean about worrying about how much money you gave someone. Good for you for not ruminating about it and not having to reassure yourself.

  2. I need to remember that "accepting the thought" method for when ERP seems too hard. That's a good idea.

    And I've worried about giving the wrong amount of money, too. Actually, it was one of those things I realized was OCD after reading about it in a book.

  3. Oh wow, that must have been a bit shocking to see your wiper blade go flying away while driving down the road!

    I've been in situations where I thought maybe I gave the wrong amount of money to a clerk and that I underpaid for whatever I bought, blah, blah, blah. Obviously, the clerk would mention it to me if I underpaid! I realize it's just OCD - but boy does it bring a lot of anxiety.

    You are so right - can't give in to OCD at all 'cause it will take that and more.