One of the more difficult or annoying things about my OCD of days gone by (and sort of still) was how it affected my shopping.
In general, I would feel like I needed to buy anything that I touched. Fresh produce? Yes. Vitamins? Sure. Carton of eggs? Absolutely. I used to hate when the cashiers would open the carton of eggs and find a broken one and ask if I wanted a new carton. Sure I would, but my OCD was like “No way! You touched that box! Your germs are on it! Keep the eggs!” So even if I checked it myself and saw a broken egg, I would often still buy that carton just because. Not any more, but definitely in the past.
In addition to grocery store woes, I also hesitated trying on clothes. I hated it. I would try to buy online or usually buy any clothing that I tried on, even if it didn’t fit quite right. It was (and still is) a great victory for me to try something on (especially pants or skirts) and NOT buy it. I guess the OCD told me that I had made the clothing dirty or worth less just by virtue of trying it on, so I needed to buy it as recompense. I also have a problem returning things that I have bought and taken home, but that’s a whole different story. Let’s just say that I’ve had some clothes just hanging out in my closet or dresser having gone unappreciated because they were the wrong size or didn’t fit right.
There was one time, though, wherein I tried on something at Anthropologie in Nevada. I don’t really recall what it was, but Anthropologie is definitely one of those stores where you don’t want to be willy nilly buying clothes just because you touched them or tried them on. Because that place isn’t cheap, you know? You also don’t want to be buying something without trying it on because that could be a costly mistake too. So you’re kind of put in a pickle.
Anyway, I must have tried something on, and I can’t even remember if I bought anything or not…but I don’t think I did. At least not the clothes I tried on (so good for me!). However, after going back to my parents’ house, I saw a piece of thread on my clothes. My anxiety went on overdrive. I hadn’t bought whatever piece of clothing that thread belonged to, but I had carried home that thread. Basically, I decided that I had stolen the thread and owed Anthropologie. It was terrible. I couldn’t believe that I had been so careless. What was I going to do?
I think my grand scheme involved going back to Anthropologie and having my husband bring the thread to the register, explain the situation, and leave. Somehow I convinced him to do it; these were the days before treatment when he didn’t know that he shouldn’t assist or support me in my compulsions.
They probably thought he was a bit off, and knowing that they would think that is why I had him do it instead of doing it myself! I already knew something was wrong and that most people wouldn’t ever have brought back a random piece of thread, but I couldn’t stop or help myself. What Anthropologie probably considered garbage caused me to engage in an obsessive-compulsive ritual and took time and energy from me and my family.