My doctor told me at my last appointment that he hasn’t ever used hand sanitizer. For real? Maybe he is lying or maybe he is at the other extreme from where I usually live. But never? I think I told him something to the effect of “Good job! You’ve probably saved so much money.”
Money and jokes aside, I came home from my appointment with a lot of assignments (including to not use any hand sanitizer). We discussed how OCD makes you see danger everywhere, or at least in places that aren’t actually dangerous. We talked statistics and how unlikely it is that my fears would actually come true. We talked exposures, avoidance, and my favorite reminder: “what would you have done before?” Do that. Get back to what you were like before the OCD took over.
Mostly he gave me specific goals regarding how much toilet paper I get to use and encouraged me to keep track of my life and obsessions/worries/compulsions. This tracking and recording of my behavior actually helps me a great deal, and I high recommend it. I tally up how many times I wash my hands. I write down how many toilet paper wipes I use. I jot notes down about when I wanted to wash my hands or why I was freaked out about something and what I wanted to do versus what I actually did.
Writing down these things may seems excessive and silly, but it keeps me accountable. It makes me remember what I worry about on a day to day basis. It forces me to pause and not automatically go into compulsion mode. I think, okay, do I want to write this down? Do I want to have to tell Dr. Bob about it? Is there anything I could do that maybe isn’t as extreme but could still calm me down? Should I let myself calm down or stay in the anxiety?
So far I’d say I’m doing better than I was before my appointment. I need to take things one day at a time and focus on succeeding that particular day. I’ve found that to be a lot easier than just “trying to get better” in general.