Phew. So I’m still cutting back my dose of fluoxetine and surviving, although my body decided to give into the stress, lack of sleep, and poorer nutrition and went and got a cold. Sickness + me = bad things for my OCD usually, let alone as I’m trying to wean off of my medication.
Initially I thought it was strep throat. My son’s teacher had been out sick with strep on Friday, and I felt a sore throat creeping up on me. I drank lemon water, lots of tea, and tried to not think about it (which means I thought about it a lot). However, I didn’t let it stop me. I still went out, and I tried to do little exposures of touching things or not engaging in a compulsion if I accidentally touched something (for instance, if I accidentally brushed against or touched food on a plate I would have taken and eaten it in days past, whereas this weekend I just left it there).
In other words, rather than quarantining myself “just in case,” I have tried to carry on with my life. The sore throat phase moved on to a normal cold, so that’s (not) fun. I still have a lot to do, so I’m doing what “normal people” do and living my life (aided by cold medicine and a general feeling of being out of it). The OCD would like me to disengage from my life, but this is a critical time for me to try and overcome those feelings and (while not being unreasonable or exposing people to serious illness) keep going. If we all only engaged in life outside of ourselves when we felt 100%, I doubt that any of us would be very social at all!
This may seem weird to you. You might be thinking, “If you are sick, by all means stay home and don’t get other people sick.” I agree with this, obviously. But OCD encourages a person to take things to the extreme: like, stay home for an entire week or however long the contagious period might be for your illness. Sanitize everything you touch. Don’t just wash sheets, throw them away. Etc. I’m trying to fight that extreme stance by maybe leaning a little bit more to the lenient side than a “normal” person would. It’s not like I’m trying to infect everyone with a cold by rubbing snotty tissues on the handle of grocery carts. Of course not. That’s just weird. But I am trying to live my life as me, with a little cold. I think that’s okay.