So I’ve been weaning off my medication for about a month now, and I’m now taking about a fourth of what was my “normal” dose of fluoxetine. While I’d say I’ve been doing fairly well, I have been noticing things more—things that I used to worry about or have anxiety over that I “mellowed” out about while I was on the medication. I thought I’d take you through a somewhat typical day so you can see what it feels like having OCD as a constant companion.
Waking up (still in bed)
I must look at the phone to check: the time, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and my email. Maybe the weather. Maybe recheck some of those just to see if anything updated or changed while I was checking the others.
Getting out of bed
Look out the window just to…see. I started this one in Utah when I would check in winter to see if it snowed or not during the night. Just to see if I need to be stressed about driving? I don’t know. Then I usually take off my jammies before going to the bathroom to protect them from any toilet touching/contamination.
If I’m wearing my retainer, I try to remember to take that out first to avoid “having to” wash my hands more than necessary. Go to the bathroom. Wipe more than I need to, especially if it wasn’t just pee. Worry about getting bodily fluids on underwear. Wash hands with hot water and soap while (silently) singing “happy birthday.” Consciously tell myself NOT to double pump the soap or wash more than once. Put my contacts in.
Get into work out clothes and exercise. Try not to think about putting my hair or hands on the mat during the workout where my feet have touched (I used to worry about my hands touching where my feet did and getting “dirty” since my feet touch the dirty bathroom floor). Hope I have enough time to exercise for at least 30 minutes.
Remove dirty clothes/underwear carefully. Get into shower. Wash: upper body, face, hair (if doing hair), then lower half. Fight with myself over whether or not to “wash” my hands after washing my lower half. Get out of the shower. Use certain parts of the towel for my hair and body versus my privates.
Get ready and put on clothes, washing hands from makeup after putting on underwear. Put on outer layer of clothes.
Breakfast/getting kids off to school
Worry if kids complain of any stomach aches or colds. Medicate if necessary with cold medicine. Give kids vitamins and probiotic pill. Get breakfast and my son’s lunch ready. Wash hands. Eat. Take my pills (after eating so they don’t feel like they are “stuck” in my throat or taken with an empty belly). Take kid(s) to school.
During the day
If cleaning—do my chores and then wash hands only once if possible. If taking care of the bunnies: wear outside coat (dirty with rabbit fur and such) to clean the cage and hold bunnies. If shopping—go to the bathroom before. Worry about making it home in time to go pick up kids.
Also, throughout the day I check my email/instagram/facebook/twitter to make sure I’m up to date and not “missing” anything important.
After kids get home from school
Have the kids wash their hands once they get in the house. Snacks, room time, playing with kids, making dinner (if making raw meat, use gloves), wash hands.
Let my husband be in charge of baths (if I can). Read stories, put kids to bed. Read scriptures. Try to rest (TV watching, reading, games, whatever). Decide if I want to try and rewear pants for the next day. If so, put in a designated spot in the closet. Wash face, take out contacts, go to the bathroom (each time I go to the bathroom, I worry about getting bodily fluids on my underwear or clothes, freak out about any stray toilet paper flakes while I’m wiping, etc. I also have the battle over how many times to hand wash/pump the soap). Pray, bed.
How does your OCD affect your daily life?