We had a neighbor once who would level with me about cleaners.

She would tell me that bleach was the only thing that really sanitized things properly. Bleach. That was it.

Previously, I had been hesitant about using bleach, probably because on my mission I tried to bleach some of my more well used underwear (garments), and they ended up looking more orange than white. 

Back to bleach

However, my contamination OCD opened the bleach door back up. I started with some “color safe” bleach and then bit the bullet, overcame my fear, and started using normal bleach for various disinfecting, mostly relating to underwear (primarily to my son’s underwear). I also habitually throw bleach in when we wash the family’s undies together and our white towels. You know, for good measure. And yes, yes, I know, I should probably stop doing that because it’s my OCD that really wants me to do it…. but still. These are the things that I feel could use some good cleaning. OCD or not.

So. Back to the sketch.

I had to go to the bathroom. It happens. A lot. To everyone. But for me, going to the bathroom is usually a traumatic or at least stressful experience. Every. Single. Time. So I went. It took a long time, because, ahem. I was thorough wiping, as I am, because of my OCD. I washed my hands and got ready to try and move on with my day but then noticed some stains on my white shirt. They were brown. Cue OCD. What was it? Could it be poop? Did I eat anything brown? Did I do any cleaning that could have resulted in those stains? How long have they been there? Are they poop?!

The moment of truth

This moment is really the critical one in an OCD episode. This is the tipping point. What will I do? Will I remain uncomfortable, do nothing, and wear the shirt for the rest of the day? Will I engage in a compulsion? At what level will I engage? Will I throw the shirt out? Wipe it with a disinfectant wipe? Bleach it? How far will I go?

As I’ve mentioned, I haven’t been doing so hot this week. I used a disinfectant wipe to clean it. I may have sprayed it too. And I ended up bleaching and washing it. Granted, the shirt was plain white. I figured the bleach wouldn’t ruin or discolor it (though if it turns out orange, I’ll have learned my lesson…though in that case I would probably throw it out, which would kind of defeat my mini victory of not throwing it out in the first place).


I am ashamed of my many lapses lately, including this “bleaching the t-shirt” fiasco. I guess being ashamed is only good if it encourages us to try harder to win these battles in the future. There’s not much use in being ashamed and then failing more and more and more because you’ve given up hope. So hopefully I can use this as a jumpstart to try and be better.

I guess it’s up to me.

Have you had any relapses lately? How do you maintain a positive attitude?