Friday, April 27, 2012

Goal Check-In and Tackling Doubts

Do you ever get the feeling you've touched something when you haven't? Do you ever believe you've sabotaged yourself? One of the biggest ocd issues I struggle with is being unsure of my own actions and behaviors. Did I get this paper towel off of the roll, or was it a used one from the sink or counter? Did I really put soap in the dishwasher or washing machine? Did I use my hand instead of my covered arm to switch off the light? Did I reach over there and touch the garbage with my clean hands? I'm always convinced of these things, it seems. I ask for reassurance a lot about them.

Now that I am getting more comfortable with my daughter helping me with laundry (she's really good at it, too!), I am getting things done much faster and no one is running out of clean clothes. She had been asking for her own chores for a few months, but ocd kind of makes me feel like I have to do everything myself and I hadn't been able to allow her to help with anything. I finally asked her what she would most like to do, and she said laundry. Of course, it had to be the thing I fear the most, right? But it has turned out to be a very good thing for both of us. I love seeing her confident little smile as she carries the towels to the linen closet and sets them inside, folded a little less perfectly than my ocd would prefer, but wonderfully nonetheless. "Did I do a good job, mom?" she asks. And I tell her, "The best ever. Way better than I do!"

So currently, the biggest obstacle between me and the damn laundry is my doubt. My most debilitating, time-consuming ocd brainfart is that I become absolutely convinced that I either didn't set the washing machine on the full cycle, or I went out there, opened the door, stuck in a dirty hand toward the end of the wash cycle, and contaminated everyfreakingthing. My daughter always says, when I speak this brainfart aloud, "Mom, why on earth would you do that?" I have no idea why I would, but I sure am afraid I did - especially if I happen to be working with something "contaminated" while the stuff is in there.

It seems that just thinking about something, like what if I touched something in the washer near the end of the cycle with that blood I found on my hand from some unknown source? Then BAM, ocd turns what if I did into I must have done. When that happens, I typically tell myself that resistance to the thought is futile, the risk is just too big to take, and I immediately run out there and restart the effing machine. This is something I need to work on because it is an extremely strong compulsion I have an extremely difficult time talking myself out of or avoiding. I feel like it owns me, and it's gotten to the point where I will close the door to the laundry room, check the time so I know exactly when the machine should be done, and put something (like a big bag of cat food) in front of the door so I know I would have had to go through multiple obstacles to contaminate the clean laundry. I guess they call it "the doubting disease" for a reason, eh?

So, moving on. Goals progress for the week (even a shitty week). To review:

* Put away the holiday decorations. Done!
* Get living room how I want it. 90% Done!
* Read every day from my Kindle or a real book. Didn't do.
* Start taking better care of myself, including daily exercise and multivitamin. Improved.
* Go to bed at a reasonable time, regardless right now of where "bed" ends up being. Eh.
* Avoid taking the "comfortable" route as much as possible, with the awareness that doing so is what fuels ocd. I am in a fight for my life. Was improved, backslid.
* Do at least 3 loads of laundry per week, reasonably spaced so I am not freaking out and doing an all-nighter every Sunday so people have clothes for the week. Did it!
* Ask for reassurance less. I must say, "Did I just touch that?" or "Did you just touch me?" 500,000 times a damn day. I'm sure it annoys my family even more than it annoys me. Was improved, backslid.

On a cool note, I also tackled a goal from my "later" list of goals, and I have been sleeping in bed exclusively ever since I started again over a week ago. That's huge. I'm proud of that one.


  1. Great progress on the goals! You should be proud of yourself.

    OCD is the doubting disease. What I've learned is that I have to live with some doubt, because complete certainty just isn't possible.

  2. Good job!!! I'm so happy to see you've completed so many of your goals! =D laundry is huge for me too. I would always question if I put it on the right cycle and things of that nature. So much so that I started takin a picture of the washing machine on every load just so if I questioned myself I could go and look at the phone instead of restarting the washer again. Weird, but it worked most of the time. I need to set some household goals up for myself as well. I have so much stuff that needs to be done and "decontaminated" that I don't even know where to start or when I'll have time to do it. I have those same doubts that you mentioned in the first paragraph as well. I hate it. Especially when it comes to gross stuff in public. Sometimes I know I didn't touch whatever the nasty thing may be but my mind starts questioning it or I think that I did because I was within a certain distance of it or perhaps my clothing touched it. It's a horrible feeling. Like I walked by my trash can today (the one I throw all the super contaminated stuff in) and I swear my hand touched the can. I know I couldn't have possibly done this since I was standing and my arms aren't long enough to touch the can without bending over. But in my head I touched it so I had to throw what I had in my hand away and start washing. It really sucks. Anyway I don't mean to ramble I just totally get where you're coming from. So yeah ... I'm super happy to hear about all of your progress. Keep up the good work!

  3. Haha!!! I totally considered taking pictures of the laundry as well, but I knew it would just become another ritual. I have taken pictures of things in my drawer or closet to be sure no one had touched them, and pictures of wounds on my body to be sure it didn't change for the worse from one day to the next. The photos, if used correctly, can give me a good reality check. I need to be careful, though.