This morning I left the house by taxi, it was parked just outside, as I came out the front door, I shut the front door, while looking at it, and hearing the Yale lock click shut, I then walked towards the taxi and got in, and he drove away! But everything had happened way too fast! I thought, is the front door locked? Is it open? I didn’t check, I really should tell the driver to stop and reverse, so that I can check, it would be all my fault, if when I got back burglars had got in because I’d left the door open. Did I really see myself look at the door and see it close? Or was that from another time when I’d looked and watch myself pull the door towards me and close it. My mind was in turmoil, and I was getting further and further away from the possibility of an open front door, left open with my sleeping Husband inside!!!! I really hated this situation! Five minutes had now gone by, I was unable to relax and go on my phone to play games, I still wanted the driver to turn around so I could check that I’d locked the door, oh why did I leave SO quickly? Why didn’t I do it slowly, and double checked that it was really locked?
Now I was ten minutes away, and I just had to leave the house to its fate! I am sure I wouldn’t have been so careless and left the front door open, as I am usually really careful. So, I got my phone out and played Words With Friends and tried to relax……… Usually when I leave the house either to walk to Town or walk to my car, most of the time I have to walk back to the front door or look at it to see that it is closed. Usually I have to check it once, checking it twice is very rare.
There is something else that I’ve done for decades, and that is when I go to bed, and I am all snug and comfy I’ve been in bed for up to ten minutes, I will think to myself, did I check the cooker, that the gas isn’t on?? Were all the buttons facing upward? I don’t remember checking it, although I make myself check each cooker button, looking at each one and touching, gently each nob, so I can see and feel that they are all upright. Life is too short, for me not to be able to get up out of bed and check that they are all upright, meaning no gas is escaping, for if I died in my sleep, I’d regret I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed and go downstairs to check! If Paul is in bed too, he’ll say, “Where you going?” I’ll reply, “To check I’ve turned off the cooker, or to make sure they are all upright.” How some people live that long and never ever check is beyond me! How can they sleep at night!!!! Don’t get me wrong, but sometimes, I think, have I checked the cooker? And have a mini conversation in my head, yes, I remember checking it, or did I? Sometimes, I’ll be SO tired, I just fall asleep, other times I just risk death and refuse to get up again, but nine times out of ten, I have to get up once the thought has entered my head! And like a reoccurring nightmare, when I get up out of bed putting slippers and dressing gown back on, as soon as I touch the first cooker nob, I remember clearly that I did in fact check them all several times before I went to bed!
I wish I wasn’t like this, why am I so over cautious, there is no logic. I’ve never been burgled, nor have I ever been in a gas explosion, so where did this nonsense come from? The answer is, I just don’t know.
Many years ago, before I got married, at my place of work, a Nurse came and talked to all of us about O.C.D. I didn’t know what it was, none of us did, he said, “There are many different types but I am going to talk about just two,” I believe the two he talked about saved my life! The first one was the fear of spiders and the second was hand washing! I tried to not draw attention to myself, and pretend neither didn’t apply to me, when in fact they were BIG things in my life. These two things completely consumed me, I know my fears were not normal, it was over the top, but I didn’t know what to do to stop, there was nobody to stop me, really no one knew. With the spider, It was the worst thing I could see inside a building, in the bedroom, in the bath, running fast on the carpet in the living room, or high up on the wall, back then they had to be killed!!! Because if it wasn’t killed, I’d see it again and again, and if it got away, for months on end, I’d look at the place where I’d last seen it! As if it would reappear again just for me, coming from under the sofa or from under the bed and boy did I hate killing them! It was like I felt it. I could never ever get close enough to it to put a glass over it and slide a paper underneath, in my view anyone who can do that, isn’t frightened of spiders!!! One of the lowest points of my single life was seeing a huge spider in my flat, I didn’t have a phone yet installed, so I rushed out to the phone box to phone one of my brothers so one of them could come over and get it, but no one was in at my Mum’s so with fear and trembling I came back alone into my once safe place – haven to a fearful place of uncertainty. It was an awful night, I felt SO alone, with no one to help me, the weeks and months that past, didn’t ease the fear I still had when I walked in from work or when I was already in, although I didn’t see it again, the fear kept me on high alert! Never relaxing.
The Nurse did talk about a ‘cure’ like going into a room full of spiders, knowing they are in there, well that would never ever happen in my lifetime!!! Or having a spider person put a spider into your hand, well that wouldn’t happen either!!! Never say never! Paul before we got married had amongst many other things including four large snakes, had fifty, yes fifty tarantulas, and the Goliath one he held it in both hands and said “You should touch its furry belly,” I thought if he does something stupid and throw it at me, the wedding is off! I touched its tummy for one second! Then about five years ago someone at work for their birthday had a man come in with items for us all to touch and hold, including snakes and spiders! I chose not to hold the snake but I did have a tarantula put into my hand, for by now, I’d realize it was OK to have a professional whose job it was to go around and introducing people to things like this so I had my photo took with the massive spider in my hand, it was on my hand for about five seconds. For from that time many years ago when that Nurse came to our work place, I’d tried not to be SO over the top with spiders, and that day five years ago showed me I’d made progress.
The second thing the Nurse has spoken about was excessive hand washing! Now this was a BIG thing for me, I DO know where it came from my Mum was a Nurse, and drilled into me how important it was from a very young age to wash my hands! But as I got older and ‘wiser’ my knowledge of germs and dirt around me increased and by the time the Nurse spoke to us, I wasn’t touching any handles or taps at home or outside in the loo! Everything was with paper towels or loo paper, it was just one hundred percent impossible to touch the handles, taps or doors without paper in my hand. In addition to this, I’d wash my hands about five hundred times a day! If I was honest. I never sat on the loo seat at home or outside either, unless I was ill and then loo paper lined the seat.
It was a scary world inside my head, but I was ‘coping’ I didn’t thing it was not normal, I was just trying to keep me safe and what’s wrong with that? If I went to the main door at work, I had to wash my hands, there was no way on earth I’d forget, even if I didn’t do it straight away, then of course the kitchen paper to turn the tap off. If I answered the phone at work, before I had a bag of crisp, I had to wash my hands, anyone who had a cold sore on their mouth would freak me out! So, I’d put bleach in a mug or where no bleach boiling water filling it to the brim or better still bringing a flask where possible. Sometimes if I washed my hands and by accident a spot of my finger touched the tap, I’d have to wash my hands straight away again, as it wasn’t ‘right’ in my head, shaking hands with People at Church was awful! But I was in ‘outside’ mode so I’d give them a good scrub when I got home. The loo thing did bother me, but I didn’t know what to do I knew I was getting worse but, in my mind, I wasn’t getting worse but better at keeping my hands clean after I’d washed them. For as you know not everyone washes their hands when they go to the loo, I have watched them, as they come out of the cubicle and to my horror simply look at their hair or make up in the mirror and leave the loo. So, these People make the loo handles dirty, and everything else inside the loo.
My Brothers would come home and go straight to the bread and make a sandwich without washing their hands, I’d tell them how dirty theirs hands were but they didn’t care. It wasn’t until they became Nurses themselves did, they realize and then as young adults did, they washed their hands before touching food.
I once burnt my Managers bum, by putting neat bleach on the loo seat at work! It wasn’t quite dry when she went in after I’d cleaned it, hence she banned bleach from the building from that day! That stressed me out!
Like I mentioned earlier, none of us had heard of O.C.D. and I’ll never know how close to insanity I came! This Nurse saved my life, he gave us examples of how to stop the over the top hand washing, like going one whole DAY without washing your hands, that must be impossible!!!!!! Or just washing you hands when you went to the loo which makes sense, but no tissues etc. I had to ask, “How can you go all day without washing your hands?” He said, “It has to be drastic,” But for example if eating a sandwich, hold the edge and not eat that bit, that would be a step in the right direction. But a conscious effort had to be made not to wash your hands for one full day. I decide to do it! I knew it wouldn’t be easy, most things aren’t, mind set is STONG, but it was now or never, I wasn’t going to get another opportunity like this again. I did go one day without washing my hands except for when I’d been to the loo, it was disgusting holding on the handle to get out! My hands were proper filthy when I got home!
I truly believe this Nurse stopped me ending up in hospital.
I did cut down from washing my hands five hundred times a day to one hundred times when I am at work or less (ninety nine times) and when I’m turning off any tap at work or in a public loo I still use a paper towel but never for opening the loo door or getting out of the loo room, I just use my bare hands, but I would of course wash my hands before I ate. No one at work notices I wash my hand one hundred times, but most of the people at work do not ever wash their hands, the workers with the false nails don’t wash their hands for it would not be good for the expensive nails they have bought, hence I could never have false nails, as I’d ruin them quickly! I see people I work with go to the chippy and come back and eat straight from the bag, without washing their hands I couldn’t do that, some of them are fit and healthy some have colds often! At work I have my own plate, dish, knife, fork, spoon and flask! All in gadget form! So, the knife, fork and spoon are a fab set and the dish is also my plate, all from TKMaxx. None are ever left at work and all are washed by me, dried and put back in my bag.
My daughter Meghan washes her hands when she comes inside, my son never washes his hands! He used to, but he worked for an awful man who said, they could not have a break, they had to eat and work at the same time and they were outside, so he got used to eating with flirty hands.
I do have in every handbag a small sanitizer, I used to use it often but I don’t so much now, but it’s there should I feel the need to use it. I know that there are some serious cases of O.C.D. for I watch programmes on TV about them, and I know that how I am now is mild compared to their issues.