Monday, June 20, 2011

The Attack of the Killer Garbage Can.

Over the past week I've been getting rid of one more compulsion. It's been around for almost the whole 5 yrs since i started 'handwashing' brand of ocd. It was so benign for me that i never worried about it. It was one of those things that allowed me to function in my daily life while i battled the 'big ones'.

When i saw my counsellor a week ago she asked if i wanted to get rid of the small compulsions or did i want to just live with them. Earlier in my therapy i was quite happy to say i'll live with them. Now i don't want to. But as soon as i said that to her i knew i was in trouble! See, SHE doesn't have to do anything if i want to get rid of my ocd compulsions. Saying YES means I have to do more yucky work. Because the only way to get rid of the compulsion is to DO IT over and over until it doesnt bug me anymore. UG.

I chose the one that i can 'logically' see isn't really dirty. And that one is to put garbage in a garbage can with a lid without washing my hands after. We have a pop-up can with a lid that goes down very slowly. Bought when i had ocd as a ocd-ok garbage can. Except my ocd was so bad that i was still scared of the garbage. I mean: what if the 'air' being compressed when the lid goes down shoots garbage-contaminated molecules in the air that then touch my hand that put the garbage in the can. I had already worked thru being able to drop something in an open can closer and closer (but still far enuf away to feel ok to me) That sort of happened naturally. But closed garbage cans still bugged me.

So i either piled the garbage on the kitchen counter for my husband to take care of as he cleaned the kitchen up or i washed my hands each time i put something in the can. Oh yes, and made sure that everyone else who deposited garbage also washed up afterwards. So the pluses in getting rid of this problem was less handwashing for me, less garbage lying around the kitchen counters and less bugging of the rest of my family. So i decided to go for it.

One foot on the garbage pedal, one hand over the can and the rest of me leaning as FAR away from the can as possible. Open the can, drop the item and jump away from the can like it was going to explode. Whew. It was done. Not quite like it was supposed to be, i suppose but a good start. No handwashing afterward. So far so good. Did it this way for awhile. Slowly got a little closer to the can and didn't jump away so spastically afterwards. Then the can was getting full. Back to the drop and jump. Don't want to get too near to the garbage. Now the can is nearly full and i refuse to put anything bigger than a small flat object in it. Garbage day is tomorrow. So then i get to start again.

Not perfect this week, but a good start. I have 2 more weeks before i have to tell my progress to my counsellor. So i'll have to work on the 'full-can' garbage. I guess i could push the garbage down and then wash my hands but i didn't feel like it this week. It was just easier to leave the garbage on the counter again or dump it in the bathroom garbage which doesn't have a lid and i just have to pitch it in.

When i asked my husband if he noticed anything this week (like no big piles of garbage on the counters, he said no. I guess out of sight out of mind. Oh well. Maybe next week.

I see people opening garbage lids and dumping stuff in at public places and go EW. I can't remember if i did that years ago myself before this brand of ocd hit me. I might have. I did use one of Mcdonalds pull handles to throw garbage in without washing up afterwards.

Other pluses this week: i am finally able to touch kd's backpack for school and the stuff in it without having to wash up afterwards. I would throw her papers onto the living room floor, pretend i hadn't touched them at all , wash up and then look at them. At the same time i wasn't making my daughter wash her hands after bringing it home. She was rebelling against the handwashing, so i backed off. Unfortunately, now that i have no problem touching the bag i won't be needin g to worry about it as school is done in a week!

Also let both daughter and husband touch the 2 doors that i think are 'yucky': the back screen door and the garage door without getting them to wash up. I just sat with the yuckies until they went away- not too long- thinking about how then I"LL be able to use the doors too!...maybe

Now if i could just get myself to exercise! (not an ocd thing just an avoidance thing :)

1 comment:

  1. Karin - congrats!!! I am inspired by your motivation!!!