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The Raw Truth of Contamination OCD

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I see germs everywhere. I see everything as being “contaminated.” I feel like I have glasses on called obsessive-compulsive disorder. Looking through the lenses of OCD is terrifying. I don’t remember exactly when my OCD started. But I can tell you that it has gradually gotten worse. It is like a little monster and not like the cute ones in children’s movies. It is scary and constantly with me. It is screaming at me 24/7, “Don’t touch that, it’s contaminated,” or “you better wash your hands, you’re going to get sick if you don’t.”

My OCD revolves around germs. I have an extreme fear of getting sick, but more specifically throwing up. It’s not just uncomfortable for me, but my whole life revolves around “preventing” throwing up. Just writing those two words makes my stomach turn. I wash my hands about 100 times a day. Yes, that is being a little dramatic, but it is close to it.

I rarely eat a meal without washing my hands. I wash any raw fruits or veggies under hot water for at least 30 seconds, scrubbing them. I wash my hands over and over if I don’t feel like they are “clean” enough. I wash my hands before I touch anything that is “clean.” For example, I wash my hands before folding clean laundry or emptying a clean dishwasher. If I go on vacation, when I get home I wash all of my clothes even if I didn’t even wear them. I put my duffel bag in the washer because I think it is “contaminated” from traveling. I can’t touch door knobs. I use my sleeve to open them. I wash my hands constantly, I touch anything and the little monster following me is telling me to wash my hands.

My hands are raw. They are dry, cracked and they hurt. OCD hurts and it is very painful. Along with washing my hands, OCD has other faces as well. I keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. It depends on the day, but I can go through a bottle in a week or two. If I go shopping, after I leave the store I have to sanitize because I touched my wallet or money and my brain tells me that both of those things are “contaminated.” I can’t touch a cart to go grocery shopping because those are “contaminated.” I go to a restaurant and look through a menu and all I think about is getting food poisoning. I think that if the food isn’t cooked right, I will get sick. I don’t like other people preparing food for me either.

Anger is also a major part of OCD. I have a lot of anger regarding my OCD. I get upset when I see people not washing their hands. My brain tells me that now they are contaminated and they might get me sick if they touch me. That brings me to another point. I don’t like when people touch me because they might get me sick and that kills me because I love affection.

This is a very nasty and debilitating mental illness. It affects every aspect of my life in every way possible. OCD takes away the joy of life and makes it miserable. It’s controlling and won’t back down. I know all of this sounds “crazy” because when most people think of OCD, they think of counting, checking or organizing. But OCD involving contamination is also very real.

OCD is scary and talking about it is even scarier because it is not fully understood. My message is that you are not alone. OCD may make you think you are alone or “crazy,” but I can promise you are neither. OCD is a monster that is raw, painful and absolutely controlling.

OCD is very real and you are never alone.

Getty Image via verbaska_studio

Originally published: July 5, 2019
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