Wednesday, 10 August 2011

So, I'm sick.

I don't even know how this can possibly happen.

I use hand sanitiser once every half hour, I use my jumper sleeve whenever I touch door handles or other contaminated surfaces, I refuse to borrow pens, I shower frequently, I don't share food, I never touch anyone or let anyone touch me and I run as far away as possible from anyone who dares to do so much as whisper, "man, I feel sick".

If you think about it, it's basically impossible.

But, that's not my point. My point is that if there is one aspect of my OCD that is bothering me the most at the moment, it is my fear of contamination, and so, being sick is kind of... terrifying?

Currently, my psychiatrist and I are working towards using cognitive behaviour therapy to try and control some of my OCD habits. These include: shutting doors three times, shutting my wardrobe door three times, turning of taps three times, taking three sips of water, washing parts of my body three times whilst showering... You get it, for some reason, my brain likes threes. I'm also trying to fight my fear of contamination. The first step for doing this, for me, was to try and stay put when I am around one of my friends at school that happens to be sick. Normally, I would somehow figure out a socially acceptable way to leave the conversation as quickly as possible and then retreat to the bathrooms, to the comfort of my hand sanitiser and my own solitude. This time, however, when the time came where the dreaded phrase, "I think I'm getting sick" was spoken, I put my foot down. Ignoring all of the flashing images of sickness and death that came inside my mind, I got over the dirty feeling and wave of anxiety that had came over me, put on a fake smile and said, "aw, that's no good."

At the time, it was an incredible achievement. Now, however, as I sit here with tissues strewn all around my bedroom floor, I see that this particular experience didn't allow me to progress in my battle with OCD, rather it set me back. It showed me that my fears of contamination were not irrational, and that I am totally in my right mind to run away from sickness, rather than just dealing with being around it.

You win some, you lose some, but this particular 'some' wasn't in my best interests.


  1. Oh, I so identify with you about this issue. Being sick can certainly be scary especially when we go to all the trouble to sterilize ourselves. My therapist always tells me it just goes to show I am wasting my time with the sterilization process. He said I should think that rather I would rather be sick once in a while rather than make my life miserable with all the sanitizing.

    By the way, my brain likes 3's as well :-)

  2. That's a really helpful way to think about it. I just feel sometimes that it is so much easier just to whip out the sanitiser, and stop the thoughts!

  3. As easy as it is to whip out the sanitizer to stop the thoughts but how quickly do they return though? It really is only a short term fix and we all know its not a healthy fix either and I know that stopping it is easier said than done for an outsider and as a fellow sufferer I can completely relate to the sleeve to open doors and such and washing my hands until they bleed and just like OCD it has not done me any favours and has not helped in any way but just remember, they are just thoughts and we can stop them without giving into them.