Sorry about not writing yesterday. I visited a friend and by the time I got back home I had a million things to do and little time to accomplish them. Today's post is going to be two examples of how my OCD effects me in my life. Two more extreme stories of how I deal with OCD everyday.
The Hamburger Patty.........
We went to my mother's house on Monday. My grandma lives with her in a really cute basement apartment under my mom's house. We helped them with some yard work and our kids played in the yard. They had a blast, as usual. We had a very nice time. My mother's husband, whom I care about deeply, grilled out some hamburgers and hot dogs for us. I was starving by the time they were finished. Starving.
I sat down with the family. Grandma said Grace and we made our hamburgers. I had tomato, pickles, cheese, mustard, and ketchup on mine. It looked mouth watering and I took a huge bite. The flavors delightfully swirled in my mouth as I looked down to the hamburger and realized....the patty was raw. My hamburger patty was less than done. In fact, it was so not done I was afraid if I listened really carefully I would be able to hear it moo back at me. Now to some people this isn't an issue. I am not some people. I held the bite in my mouth and slowly chewed as panic washed over me. I was willing myself to choke it down or at least let the bite roll down the back of my throat. My first reaction was to spew it over the table and freak out but my mother's husband was sitting directly across from me. To not eat the burger would have been rude enough as he had slaved away at the grill for an hour. To spit it across the room and cover him with raw patty, chewed food, and my spittle would have been a tragedy. I tried to resemble normal as my mind was reeling. My OCD in full force and was now naming all of the diseases and sicknesses eating raw meat could give you. Not only could it give me but as an OCD sufferer it was telling me what it would give me, because you know that is exactly how OCD works. Not could but would. My first battle was to swallow the bite. My second would be what to do with said raw burger. There weren't many options and by now my family was watching me physically flinch as I tried to play it off. Still slowly chewing and freaking out at the same time. Now that they were looking at me I couldn't simply spit it into a napkin. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings or seem rude. At the same time after I managed to swallow the offending piece there was no way in hell I was gong to take another bite. Luckily, my husband of twelve years saw my reaction to the first bite and knew what was going on. He offered to trade burgers with me and the crisis was averted. Sigh.... I love that man. As it turned out I had picked the only hamburger patty that was raw. Just my luck I guess.
The Woman with One Shoe.........
Rewind to yesterday, we needed to get some odds and ends at the store. We had just come from the food isle to the soap isle because I was out of dish liquid and we needed more cat food. As I walked across where the isles meet I noticed a crusty, well worn, house shoe in the middle of the isle. I thought it strange that there would be such a thing just lying by a promotion of school supplies or some such thing. As an OCD sufferer I tend to notice things out of place....It can either be a gift or a curse depending on the situation. As we kept walking down a few isles, I noticed a older lady in a motorized wheelchair. The kind of scooter like thing the stores let the elderly and handicapped use. She was missing a shoe and was teetering dangerously over as she was trying to reach the fabric softener. She was trying to put her barefoot on the ground but then thought better of it and was leaning as far as she could to reach the item she wanted on the shelf. She was nowhere near grasping even the air in front of said item. Now, I don't like touching dirty things. I don't like especially touching other people's dirty crusted shoes. But this woman obviously needed some help. I heard the OCD talking to me about what diseases may be on this crusty house shoe but I ignored them. I wasn't sure what freaked me out more the thought that woman was about to put her bare, possibly germ infested foot on the ground or the thought that she was about to place her bare foot on the germ infested floor. Either way, I could not stand there and watch this woman struggle and flail around like a fish out water and possibly end up tumping the wheelchair scooter over on herself. So I reached down and picked up the shoe and took it to her. Trying my best to touch as little of the shoe as possible. My OCD started and I could feel the germs on my skin. I actually thought that my fingers were going to disintegrate like ashes and fall to the floor there for a second. I talked to her and placed the shoe by her foot. She attempted to stick her foot in the shoe but was unable to manage it so I actually picked up the shoe again and placed on her foot. Her foot, people. Then I asked which softener she was trying to reach for grabbed it and placed it in her cart attached to the chair. She thanked me and I left to do the shopping we had originally came for. I did, however pull out my hospital grade antibacterial gel and use it on my hands....twice. The OCD was still bothering me all night long but I would have done the same thing if faced with the same situation.
What is interesting is that both times my OCD acted up but both times I had different reactions to it. The first time I could not have gone through eating the burger because the anxiety was too great to overcome. The second experience I was able to do it simply because someone needed my help, therefore I could ignore or drown out the thoughts long enough to do what she needed done. Both times the anxiety and issues that derive from OCD plagued me for a few hours after the situations but I still managed to function when needed too. I find the fact that I can override my OCD in dire situations when someone needs my help but not just because my food is raw interesting but also a little confusing and possibly a little frustrating. I can react differently in the moment but I have the same dread and anxiety after the moment has passed in both situations. Strange.
So I guess the moral of the story is that apparently sometimes I can push through my germ-a-phobe ways and my OCD to some extent and sometimes I am knocked to the floor by it. I just never know which situation will affect me which way until I go through it. But I refuse to be scared by this and stop trying. I refuse to give up on myself. I refuse to believe that I can not achieve something just because I have OCD. I refuse. I do believe the more I try the more I will able to do. Baby steps and if you happen to be eating a hamburger anytime soon, check to make sure it's done all the way first.....you just never know what could be lurking in there. Bacteria, diseases, worms, an angry miniature group of ticked off leprechauns carrying torches and sharpened toothpicks.......What? Just because angry leprechauns have never been found in meat before doesn't mean they aren't there. It just means we haven't found them yet.