OCD Exposures

Not sure what to write about today…So, here’s this:

As a method of reducing my OCD behaviors, my anxiety therapist has started me on germs and contamination exposures. I made a hierarchy of what things bother me from least to most.

Germs and Contamination

  1. Using a communal blanket
  2. Wearing clothing after someone else has worn it (i.e. like if I lent a sweatshirt to someone)
  3. Dirty tables in restaurants
  4. Touching things that I consider yucky (a used sponge, mine and other people’s dirty laundry, things that have landed on the bathroom floor, raw meat, etc.)
  5. Reaching into a trashcan for something
  6. Not washing my hands after using the toilet
  7. Not washing my hands (if I feel like they are dirty) before I eat
  8. Using food that has a broken seal (like fresh from the store, but the seal is torn or cracked or coming off, like on a yogurt)
  9. Touching the inside of the garbage can lid or having to push the flap in on a garbage can to throw things away
  10. Eating something that has fallen in the sink
  11. Drinking out of someone else’s glass
  12. Bumping my hands in public bathroom sinks or knobs or paper towel dispensers after I have washed my hands (I will have to re-wash my hands)
  13. Touching my face if I feel like my hands are contaminated (especially with sick people germs)
  14. Getting in close physical proximity to sick people
  15. Eating near sick people
  16. Breathing when sick people have coughed/sneezed/sniffled close to me
  17. Turning faucets on/off with bare hands esp. in public places
  18. Touching doorknobs (especially public bathroom or doctor’s office)

The most distressing things revolve around public sinks, doorknobs, sick people and trash cans.  These are the things that I use behaviors to avoid every single day, and multiple times a day.

So, now I am practicing “easier” exposures.  So I was sent home with my first exposure tasks and a form to rate my distress.

bans

She told me to use the SUD scale to rate my distress.

Subjective Units of Distress Scale

0   No distress at all. Feeling okay and calm.
1   Feeling little if any stress. Not quite fully calm.
2   Faint tension or mild stress.
3   Feeling slightly unpleasant or uncomfortable.
4   Growing distress or discomfort. Mildly agitated.
5   Verging on becoming very uncomfortable and distressed.
6   Very uncomfortable affecting my attention.
7   Emotionally painful becoming severe.
8   The emotional pain is taking over my attention.
9   The emotional discomfort is almost unbearable.
10 The emotional pain is overwhelming me–the worst possible

And so…It has been a long few days.

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