In panic because more washing woes, anxieties

9 July 2014 - 20:45

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Hi there, I feel I just can't win, I am so very tired, I have hardly left the house in weeks trying to deal with washing and rewashing because of contamination fears - first from the sewer lid being opened, then another neighbour and the clouds of dust and bits he has made when breaking things up to go in the bins, which have blown over the fence when the washing has been out. When I put washing out I have been on edge all the time listening out for noises from the neighbours. I had just about managed to get most of the rewashing done, and felt I could just about cope again. But now I realise I have made a stupid mistake and have to start all over again, I put some bleach down the sink, and the sink drain sometimes does not drain away and foam will rise up above the grid and has in the past blown around the garden and has blown onto the washing and today has been very windy here, usually if I do something like that I will check the drain but today I didn't and I am just so tired I didn’t think about it until about an hour ago. Although I couldn't see any sign of foam on top of the grid, I am now in panic about contamination again, I had done 3 loads of washing, dried and iron, some has been on the table, some has been put in cupboard with other things, the ironing board and the airers all need cleaning, I have worn a couple of things - where do I start ,where does it all end. I am so very very tired.

9 July 2014 - 22:35

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I am trying to tell myself that any bacteria from the drain would have been sapped by the bleach and any bleach foam would of evaporated - so why I am scared again - I feel as though I am in a living nightmare and have been for weeks and weeks.

10 July 2014 - 8:02

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I just can't think straight, I spent most of last night cleaning, only to put a machine load of clean washing on a surface I had not cleaned.  I am so tired and exhausted, when will it end, I am rewashing and rewashing. I know things can never be perfectly clean and so on, I just like to get to an almost.

This post has been thanked 1 time. 11 July 2014 - 15:39

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Dear enough,

Yes, it is so exhausting, isn't it? It can feel like we're on a treadmill, running hard just to keep up and never moving forwards. I don't know about you but I've noticed with myself that I not only fear contamination but I also fear the fear of contamination. When something gets contaminated I get as anxious about the anxiety it will cause me as I am about the contamination. This multiplies my anxiety and makes it necessary to fight on two fronts at once.

What are you trying at the moment to reduce your urges to rewash things?

Goofy

11 July 2014 - 16:02

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Hi Goofy, yes I am the same I also fear the fear of contamination, and as you say I get also anxious about the anxiety the fear causes.   I am in a very anxious state at present because I am so depressed and so very very tired with all the washing.   I don't know what to do to reduce my fears and urge to rewash, I can't think straight, I keep thinking if I can just clear this latest "mountain" of washing I made following a non-existent panic over bleach foam, I could then work on moving forward.

This post has been thanked 1 time. 11 July 2014 - 16:51

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Hi Enough,

I am very sorry you are feeling so low at the moment. I wish I could lift the burden off your shoulders for you. Would it be practical for you to leave all the washing and cleaning until Sunday and just spend all of tomorrow doing something relaxing and enjoyable? Having recharged your batteries you might then feel more energetic to tackle the laundry on Sunday and you might also feel more able to have a go at resisting one of your compulsive urges. Nothing too ambitious at first, just give a black eye to one of your milder urges. After tasting a little bit of success, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it gets better for you soon.

11 July 2014 - 18:17

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Hi Goofy, Thanks for you kind words, has really helped. I felt so alone and depressed today, trapped my own mistake - I panicked when I thought I had contaminated everything with bacteria from the drain, but I know it could not of happened but by then I had taken the clothes out of the wardrobe and thrown them on the kitchen floor.!!!! I just can't think straight at the moment.

I am going to try to do one more load of washing today, then tomorrow  I will do something creative - make something.

This post has been thanked 1 time. 11 July 2014 - 20:36

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Hi enough,

Like you I used to panic if I thought that I'd contaminated the washing after I'd washed it and would immediately put it back in the machine. It became a never ending cycle of washing with no respite. I had to do the washing every single day and it was exhausting so I can empathise with you. Then my therapist said if I thought when I felt myself starting to panic thinking that I'd contaminated the washing, to stop and take a step back without doing anything. That I was to try to stay with the thought and leave it for as long as possible to try and let the anxiety reduce. It was difficult but slowly I was able to leave it longer and longer before giving in to the thoughts and rewashing the clothes. Then it got to the point where I could just acknowledge the thoughts without having to rewash the load of washing.

I was also told to make a conscious decision to have at least one day off a week where I didn't do any washing and instead did what Goofy advised that is do something that I enjoyed that was nothing to do with my OCD. Initially I was with a struggle able to take one day off a week and it made all the difference. When I first tried it I felt really guilty, but now I'm able to acknowledge that I'm entitled to time off without guilt. It gives you the opportunity to recharge your batteries and to also realise that there is more to life than pandering to our OCD.

Be kind to yourself and don't get angry or upset with yourself if things don't always go as well as you would like when dealing with the OCD. We all have our bad days but there is always tomorrow to get back on track.

Pamper yourself this weekend and have fun

This post has been thanked 1 time. 13 July 2014 - 16:13

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Hi enough

I can identify with the phrase you use: 'listening out for noises from the neighbours'.  I had this in the context of checking as to whether my neighbour had securely locked the communal front door at night. I was concerned about the fear of a nighttime break-in and you are concerned with the threat of contamination spreading from your neighbour's property to your washing. This 'hyper vigilance' - this active process of listening out - is very exhausting and stressful. It drains us - as we listen out to hear if certain things are done/not done. My therapist suggested that I confront my worst fears about a break-in and not check. I faced the fear.  I also used the technique suggested by Truddles - leaving it longer and longer until I checked the door. It was successful combination. 

13 July 2014 - 22:21

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Hi Goofy, Truddles, Check, thanks for your advice and support. I did have a laundry free day, I did some gardening, I know that made a bit more washing and cleaning up  but that’s OK. And no washing again today as the neighbours have all been out in their gardens!!!!  I do try to use the thought technique, it is in the first moments of panic that's the hardest.

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