I am a War Already Won

(Revolution–Starfield)

…And with that, my OCD alert radar is on red…

I wish I had someone I could both trust fully and be around enough to mimic healthy germ behavior…I am not working much this break, but I worked yesterday. I don’t think I have worked my actual assigned job since May–possibly June. I was there for years before I could even eat my own lunch in the back room there, much less eat snacks or anything (social fears originally and then later in combination with germs), and it is kind of weird going back when the last time I was there I still could very rarely eat anything even if it was offered to me, and it makes me feel like I am not quite in my place…I love it, and the cookie I had yesterday from N was great, but I guess I just don’t know how to fit in now. Also, aside from the cookies and treats that were just out for eating like always (that I still am not ready to just take because of how long I didn’t eat anything, and breaking out of patterns is hard and I considered taking some on my own, but didn’t want it enough for the effort…), they were doing a cookie exchange. At first I felt a little left out that I wasn’t included, but when everyone started talking and I found out they’d been passing around more than just cookies lately, I didn’t feel nearly so left out. Apparently, they have also been passing around some nasty germs and almost everyone’s family has taken a turn with the germs, and on top of that flu and ILI are extremely high activity right now and the emergency rooms are seeing record numbers of people and apparently some other area hospitals have had to close their emergency rooms because they just don’t have anywhere to put any more patients, so everyone is also talking about how it is a miracle we don’t all have the flu.

I need to make it clear that I do not think the people I work with have OCD, but I do know that many of them are very germ-conscious…and even when I did have OCD some of the things they worried about regularly were things that usually didn’t bother me (like stripping upon arriving home from work/school due to the germs on clothing–for me, work was a problem, but not school…although I did do this when my friend got sick last year) (many things they could do were things I struggled with extremely…so it more than balanced out)…so it was a really good environment to hide the OCD because everyone was sanitizing the counters and registers, and N who I worked most closely with for a while would encourage hand washing after touching people’s paper prescriptions and after touching money (I think N was probably a bad influence on me when I was struggling with OCD because so many of the germs conscious things she did were things I hadn’t thought about, and some of the concepts rubbed off on me…)…

Anyway, so hearing them talk about sickness sort of turned on my germ radar…which in turn flipped the switch on my OCD radar. I can still eat without washing my hands, don’t sanitize the room when I go on break, and can even drive and touch my phone and everything without a problem or even washing my hands on my way out…but now I am aware of the germ danger. I know I am not doing any compulsions, and I know I am not really in distress, but it makes me nervous now to even be worried or thinking about germs, because it was so awful living with OCD, and I never want to experience that again (although I still do posit that living with OCD wasn’t as bad as living with some of the stuff I am dealing with now, but obviously sinking into OCD again isn’t going to fix things at school…)…I am , understandably, concerned when I start worrying at all about germs, because I have experienced first hand how short the path is from slightly worried about germs to exceedingly anxious and paralyzed by fear (and how long the path is the other direction)…I also know, however, that in the past if something was going to bother me, it would become a huge impossible obstacle immediately and over time I’d get over it, so if this started with not a big deal and especially if it has stayed there for 24 hours, then chances are that I will not find myself drowning in fear, but to me it is now of even more importance to keep tabs on any OCD-like behavior or thoughts, because I do NOT want to ever give OCD a chance to steal my life away again, so I want to catch it before havoc is wreaked…(although I suppose I may at some point need to be sure not to become the girl who cried wolf, but that is the least of my concerns right now).

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