Once upon a time, when I decided I was too sleepy to remain awake any longer, I would turn off the lights and TV, walk to my room, hop into bed and snuggle in for the night. Sometimes I would fall asleep reading a book if I didn't feel sleepy just yet. And I never imagined I would long for that simplicity.
Now, bedtime happens between 2AM and 8AM. It involves a ritual where I must clean under my fingernails with a 50/50 bleach/water solution and a toothbrush, wash my face, wash my neck, wash my arms, clean the bandage on my possibly diseased and thus encased in a bandage thumb, then wash my hands. I can't dry with paper towels, because that has bit me in the ass too many times to count. Paper towels are littered with paper-ish things, like random color variations and speckles. My ocd doesn't like it. So I air dry. And I could accomplish all of that fairly fast, except for the fact that there is uncertainty, and I almost always screw something up. On a great night, I can accomplish the ritual without any additional cleaning (floor for dirty water splatters, etc.) and be done in about 15-30 minutes. On a terrible night, I can end up tearfully completing this nightmare ritual in as many as 5 hours. Some of those nights I've just said f%#k it, made a ton of coffee, and just stayed up.
The worst part of this isn't even the painful loss of sleep. Having kids means I can't sleep all day, because they're up pretty early, and their needs are not optional. The worst part is how ill-equipped sleep deprivation leaves me to cope with stress and take those necessary risks.
I often wonder how other people prepare for bed. Prior to ocd, I would go into my master bathroom, wash my face with a yummy-scented face wash, brush my teeth, grab a book, and climb into bed. I was usually in my pajamas from the second I got home. I never washed before that, either, and now I wouldn't dream of not scouring myself and dumping my contaminated clothes in the wash bin before changing.
For that matter, how often does the average person (or even the person with the flavor of ocd that isn't germaphobic) wash their hands? I remember sometimes looking at my manicured nails (you could not pay me a million dollars to get me to go to a nails salon and let people poke and prod at me with instruments used on God knows how many people now), thinking, yuck! I have a bunch of crud under there and really ought to invest in a nail brush. Eh, screw it. I'm showering later anyhow. What I would not give to feel that way again, filthy or not!
Anyway, some positives for today:
- Had a healthy breakfast and a multi-vitamin.
- Didn't wash myself and everything I touched a billion times before being able to sit down and eat said breakfast.
- Got to bed last night with a very short washing ritual. Resisted the urge to re-do several things.