People with OCD are fantastic actors. We look normal. We blend into most any situation. We hide our symptoms as often as we can the best that we can and most of the time no one has any idea there is something broken in our minds.
For instance, I may be in an elevator with a group of people. There may seem to be too many people on the elevator but I have to be on it too. I don't outwardly freak out but inside my OCD is freaking out," What if we are exceeding the weight limit? What if this whole things comes tumbling down?" and God forbid, someone sneeze or cough in the elevator with me in it. However, all you see in this situation is me with a fake smile plastered all over my face. You see a polite, normal person. You see a woman, a mother, an individual. What you don't see is that this woman, mother, and individual is screaming inside of her mind.
I have been out of hand sanitizer for two weeks now. I have been out of the house three times. It has been unbelievably hard. My first test was going to the doctors office. I had to sign in with some mechanical machine with a stylus, I damn well know everyone and their dog's have touched. I had to touch door knobs and chairs and elevator buttons (things I usually avoid by using my sleeve instead of my fingers). I searched for any hand sanitzer in the office with desperation and found nothing. Sure, I looked calm on the outside but on the inside I was screaming. I was totally freaked out. The Price is Right was on the office television. The beeps of the wheel turned into a long annoying sound of dings and pings. The audience clapping became a loud obnoxious murmur. The sounds of the people in the doctors office became a background noise. A cough, a sneeze, some woman in tight pants and an animal print shirt continued to clear her throat and make annoying sniffing sounds while she read something on her cell phone....and then my brain took over. Everything faded away and the silence came. I no longer heard or tasted or smelled. The only sense left in my body was feeling the germs. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw my saving grace, a wall with a hand sanitizer pump on it. Hallelujah! I walked quickly over to it and pumped the glorious germ killing miracle gel all over my hands. Relief!
Then a few days later I went to the grocery store. Again this is where I would have used my hand sanitizer at anytime I would feel the start of the OCD contamination and germ fears but I did not have my fall back hand sanitizer. I seemed happy on the outside but on the inside my mind was reeling." Don't touch the cart, don't touch the counter, Leave the package of raw meat alone, germs, germs, germs, germs...tainted, tainted, tainted...dirty, dirty, dirty...."
I was so worried and anxious through the whole experience that I totally forgot to buy hand santizer for myself. I made it through and made it home without touching my face with my tainted hands, and then promptly washed my hands as soon as I walked through the door....Relief!
I need to get more sanitizer but I am kinda stoked I was able to get through both of my major triggers without my trusty hand sanitizer and still made it through with out an outward, ugly,extreme breakdown in public. Which is exciting because a few years ago I am not sure that would have been possible.