Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm Not Really A Doctor, I Just Wash My Hands Like One

"You wash your hands like a doctor." Um, I didn't really know how to respond when someone said that to me in the ladies' room at church this morning. So, I unfortunately did what came naturally. I lied. I made up some lame excuse about how I had a stain on my hands that I was trying to get off. Nice. I hate lying. I know God doesn't like it either. I suppose it doesn't make a difference if I lie at the church building or not. Somehow though, that just seems worse. Like I should expect to be hit by a lightning bolt or something.

Honestly, if I was in the same situation again, I think I would lie again. Well, ok, I know I would. I mean, it's not like I'm going to say to a complete stranger, "Oh, well you see, I actually have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I struggle with contamination issues, so yes, I guess you could say I wash my hands like a doctor." Calling real doctors in white coats!

I guess the only remedy to this situation and to stop the lying, is to stop washing my hands like a doctor. A little easier said than done.

25 comments:

  1. The lies are the hardest thing for me to stop too! I hate that we hide in fear because OCD has such a stigma around it.

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    1. Oh, I know, Cara! The crazy thing is, is that I'm totally insane about being honest about every little thing (except for OCD). I was just commenting on someone else's blog that I even report the tiniest little things on my taxes (that I'm sure most people don't bother with) because I don't want to be dishonest. But you're right, it's the stigma that keeps us from being honest.

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  2. I've found that the easiest way to stop a conversation like that is to turn it back on them.
    "Why do you say that?" - then they have to qualify it, and it becomes a statement about how they think instead of how I think. And most people are self absorbed enough to want to talk about themselves, anyway.
    And you're not alone. I wash my hands like a doctor, too. :) Too bad I can't get paid for being one. lol

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    1. Shana, that is an EXCELLENT idea! I like that! Much better than lying. I will absolutely try that next time. Yeah, too bad I can't get paid like one either! ha ha

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  3. Oh... I get really uncomfortable when I know someone is watching me wash my hands. People have made comments like that to me through the years and like you, I just lie and say, I've got something on my hands.

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    1. Ugh. That's why I usually try to use the restroom when no one is in there. Like I'll go in the middle of church services instead of in between services, stuff like that. The worst though, is when you're in a restroom that has a giant line and all the ladies are standing there waiting and watching while you wash your hands. HATE that.

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  4. Hi there 71 & Sunny!
    I wonder what would have happened if blurting out honestly to the lady who said you wash your hands like a doctor ... "Oh, well you see, I actually have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I struggle with contamination issues, so yes, I guess you could say I wash my hands like a doctor."

    To me, that actually sounds like a kind response, a kind way of putting it. Especially because you mentioned what the struggle is about.
    *But then again, I am one who is inclined to offer a sense of acceptance because I suffer with mental illness. So, it might just be me who would appreciate the truth like this, unlike the next person who may not have any kind of sense to understand in the least bit.

    *But, I do picture the scenario, and wonder what the lady would have said to a 'shocker' of the truth after all? I have to hope that she would be stopped in her tracks, in a set of tracks with no judgment, and perhaps stumble for the next words she'd like to say to a response like that.

    Anyhoo...... I appreciate reading your stories here that you share. For truly you are quite an honest person after all.

    God Bless you!!
    Oh, P.S. - I really like Shana's comment too.

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    1. Thanks, Deanna, for your kind words. I have thought about responding honestly like that. I've also wondered how it would have turned out. Recently, I was in a store and without thinking, I mentioned I had a blog. The three salespeople around me were like, "Oh, what's your blog about?" I told them OCD. Literally, the temperature in the room changed. Someone made a joke that their co-worker could use my blog. Two of the sales people then walked away. Can you say awkward?

      I like Shana's comment too. : )

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  5. Oh my goodness Sunny..I can't tell you how many times I have lied in a public restroom. And I was in the exact same scenario as you, except she asked if I was a nurse, not a doctor. And I said YES because it seemed easier than trying to figure out a substance that I'd gotten into besides having gasoline splash on my hands..the last time I did that, they wanted to call the manager in to make sure my hands weren't burned. It makes me feel so awful for the lie..but I think God understands!

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    1. Ha ha ha - that is so funny, Krystal Lynn! "Why, yes, I am a nurse." Ha ha ha Unfortunately, that wouldn't have worked in my case, 'cause our church only has about 700 people. If I told her I was a doctor - that story sure would have made the rounds! ha ha ha I'm laughing so hard right now. Too funny. Well, actually I'm a neurosurgeon. Love that.

      Oh my, I can't believe they wanted to get the manager over your spilling some gas on your hands. Talk about a huge OCD mess! I'm assuming (from personal experience) that it was only a tiny amount of gas on your hands, but you were washing them like you dropped a gallon on them, and that's what the person watching you thought, hence why they wanted to call the manager. Yep, sounds like a tangled OCD mess. Been there, done that.

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  6. Sunny, I like both Shana's and Deanna's options, and I also think we can just agree with the person. "You wash your hands like a doctor." "Yes, I do." And leave it at that.

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    1. You know, Tina, that's a really good point. I don't know why I even feel like I owe anyone an explanation. I guess I'm just so oversensitive about it that I get defensive.

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  7. If it was me, Sunny, I'd probably make a joke. I could totally see myself saying something like, "No flu bug is taking ME down, thankyouverymuch!"

    Either that or I'd act like it was a compliment. "Why, thank you!"

    Or, if I was feeling particularly mischievous, I might say darkly, "Yeah, if you'd seen what the pastor picking his nose before he shook YOUR hand, you'd be scrubbing like this, too!" (OK, I probably wouldn't say that, but I'd sure amuse myself picturing the reaction!)

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    1. Oh, Jean, you may not have OCD, but you fit in PERFECTLY with us! That was laugh out loud funny. You know, of course, I'm gonna have to tell my pastor about your joke! (He knows all about my OCD and has been very supportive.) So funny. Thanks for that.

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  8. Great post, and I enjoyed reading the responses just as much as the post! I think part of the issue is when we are taken off-guard like that we kind of have a knee-jerk reaction. And we always feel we have to respond. Maybe just a nod and a smile would have been fine?

    I mentioned in public the other day that I was going to a conference this week, and was asked what kind of conference. I answered "OCD" and pretty much got the same reaction you did when you mentioned your blog. Ugh.

    Another important aspect of your post, I think, is it shows how OCD makes people act "the opposite" of who they are. You are an extremely honest person, and lying in general is so out of character for you... so lots to think about.

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    1. Thanks, Janet. Yes, the responses are really great. Yes, I just wrote to Tina, that I don't even know why I feel I owe anyone a response.

      I'm sorry you got a chilly response when you mentioned you were going to the conference. Ugh is right.

      I really do dislike the way I act sometimes because of anxiety. That deserves an "ugh" too.

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  9. The lies are always the hardest. I don't know how long I have been lying about my disorder, but I do it. It's just hard to admit that you are struggling with something you can't control I guess.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Gina. Yes, it is hard to admit having OCD. For me, I have a hard time admitting it because I'm afraid to look weird to other people.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Please visit again. : )

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  10. I think God understands when we react to something which is hard for us and inadvertently lie to protect our selves. He understands that we don't like lying and we do not mean to but on the spot situations sometimes cause us to do so to as I think to protect our selves. I know with my illness at times things slip out to protect myself in reply to questions and sometimes it can be a lie. I think its because I am caught on the spot and I feel vulnerable. Of course it is always after the fact I find what would have been a better answer :-)

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    1. I like to think that God understands the situation too. At least I hope He does. : )

      Some things are just so very, very hard to talk about, especially with strangers that may not understand. I mean, even some people who know and love me may not understand. You are right, these things make us very vulnerable.

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  11. Actually, it is really not necessary to remind the people always about it, if you're really aware of yourself, you must really do what is best, washing hands is so simple, right?
    _______________
    Ashley | Olympic 2012 Games

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  12. I remember rushing to finish washing my arm before other people got out of the bathroom stalls. Usually, nothing was actually said, but I worried about what people were thinking. One time, a closer friend thought she would "help" by firmly telling me to quit when I was part way through my ritual. There was not proper set up for good ERP then (and I didn't know about it then, either). Not the support and foundation of understanding (by both of us) necessary. So it hurt instead, though I tried not to let that show. She meant well.

    Yes, one of the best things about doing the ERP for me to stop washing half way up my arm was not worrying about what people would think when I washed in the bathroom.

    Actually, it seems a bit rude (unintentionally, I'm sure) for people to even ask about handwashing; it is none of their business, and what "good" answer can they possibly imagine? "Yes, I'm a doctor." "Then why are you scrubbing your hands like you're in the hospital instead of just at church?" Not that she'd say that (I hope not), but asking about thorough handwashing doesn't make sense to me in casual conversation.

    I try to find some amused satisfaction in people's surprised looks when I say blunt facts about my mental illness. Their shock serves to assure me that there is something medically wrong in my brain and I haven't just made it up. Maybe that's messed up thinking, too, but it's nicer than feeling worse about myself.

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    1. Hey Abigail! Yes, it's important to do ERPs under a mutual understanding of support and agreement. I think that is very critical to success. My husband and I have worked out an arrangement of how we do ERPs together. This way it doesn't harm our relationship.

      Oh, I definitely think the person in the ladies room was not trying to be rude. This person was younger and I'm sure it was just an honest question. But it sure caught me off guard.

      You know, it's weird, but there are lots of times when I think I've made up my OCD too. Really strange. But, I guess that's why they call it the doubting disease.

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  13. I too often suffer from the same problem and people commenting on it! At home I have a clock next to my sink so that I know when my "twenty seconds" according to the CDC are up... but when I am in a public place I have to count silently in my head those twenty seconds (which sometimes ends up counting to 40 just in case I accidentally count to 20 too fast). I also have to wash my hands half way up my arms as well. So my greatest problem is when someone try to talk to me while I am doing this b/c then I get all confused about the timing and I end up standing there longer washing my hands and arms. I hate washing my hands with others around b/c I always feel like they are judging me... I especially hate it when there is only one sink in a multiple stall bathroom! B/c then I feel that even though I'm only doing it for "20 seconds" that it is a lot longer... and then I get lost in thought and I'm not sure if its been twenty seconds or not... I really hate washing my hands lol

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    1. Brooke, I definitely feel your pain on this one! I always hated when someone interrupted me during a compulsion for the same reasons-I could never be sure if I did it right, or long enough, or whatever. So I would have to start all over again. But I would have to wait for the person to leave so I could do it without them knowing about it. It can be exhausting, yes?

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