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    Thread: Can't clean my house (?OCD)

    1. #1
      Member QuirkyLoner's Avatar
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      Question Can't clean my house (?OCD)

      I don't know if this is OCD or not, which is why I'm posting it here. I'm hoping somebody can tell me if it is.

      Okay, so, I've been diagnosed with some other mental illnesses (bipolar, mild borderline schizophrenia, some type of personality disorder, etc), but the one problem I have been struggling with all my life is a phobia of being contaminated with germs when I attempt basic house cleaning duties.

      Sometimes I'm able to force myself to do a few things, but the progress is slow, difficult & short-lived. For instance: about an hour ago, I tried to clean my very dirty countertop with a Lysol wet-wipe. I could feel the debris through the wipe, and I immediately became disgusted and had to stop.

      Basically, my daily life consists of trying to live around the dirt; I never go barefoot in the house, I only use disposable plates and cutlery, I wear flip-flops in the shower, etc.

      Germs aren't the only thing holding me back, though. I also suffer from extreme confusion; not knowing what to do first. I have specific rules about how the house should be cleaned (eg. bleach used everywhere until everything is spotless) that are so stringent, I cannot accomplish the task. There is an all or nothing mentality; it should be perfect or it's not worth the effort ("do it right or don't do it at all" is one of my life philosophies).

      Yet another piece in this elaborate puzzle is my disgust at the idea of soiling my cleaning tools, especially if they are new. I bought a new mop, a few weeks ago, and was very upset at the idea of 'ruining' it on these filthy floors. It's one of those very nice O-cedar roller mops, and I thought the pretty blue sponge was too nice to 'destroy' by using it on the filthy kitchen floor. I managed to use it in another room, but I can't help feeling it's been 'ruined' somehow. I have this problem will all new cleaning tools. It's very frustrating.

      Lastly, I believe I have a mild hoarding problem. I tend to collect boxes & plastic baggies. However, much of my stuff are things I simply don't know what to do with. I'm just very confused, most of the time. I don't have very good organizational skills, and my quality of life suffers because of this.

      Anyhow, it felt good to talk about this. It's always very hard for women to admit such a problem, as our sexist society looks down upon us when we're untidy. A man can live in a virtual garbage dump, and few will think less of him for it (if anything, they will pity him), but women are not allowed to be messy; it draws the ire of many.

      Hopefully, somebody can tell me if this sounds like OCD or not. Thanks in advance.
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    2. #2
      Super Moderator keepsafe's Avatar
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      Aww it must be awful for you to suffer with this on a daily basis, I also have rituals, especially about cleaning - must use bleach and disposable clothes otherwise it doesn;t feel clean. It sounds like some form of disorder but I can;t tell you which. Do you have therapy, I suggest it may be a good idea for you. I feel for you very much.

      KS
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      'You must be,Ē said the Cat. 'or you wouldnít have come here.'


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      Member QuirkyLoner's Avatar
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      I used to see a psychologist, but they always want to pump people with pills instead of using therapy. I'm anti-drug, so doctors are out of the question.

    4. #4
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      Askiff you can have a Home Help. I think that will be fromSocial Services, If you have seen your doc orpdoc about it then take a letter or medical certificare with yo. And have you had an assessment yet? If not ask for one.

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      Member QuirkyLoner's Avatar
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      I used to have a therapist who came to my home and talked to me, but she left the center to take a higher-paying job at a hospital. The place where she worked wanted to assign me a new therapist, but I declined. I was very used to my old therapist, and it's very hard for me adjust to new people.

      They do have a program where you can get what is called a "case manager" (somebody who provides aid for accomplishing various mundane tasks), but here's another freaky part of my obsession; I can't stand the idea of anybody else touching 'the dirt', either. LOL

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      Senior Member Angels's Avatar
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      well i dont really know a solution to this problem as im having a slight crisis at the moment too. my parents are ment to be redecorating my room but i have to clear it. my room is a complete mess simply because its a dump and i never have motivation to clean it, but when im cleaning up downstairs i tidy everything and become obsessed with tidying. im in my room now and i just dont know where to start. i hoard loads of stuff that i dont need but im just looking at it thinking... oh my god. im just so stressed! who knew cleaning could be such a problem. i understand the living around the dirt. i dont take care of my room but i hope that i can avoid it when my rooms decorated and nice again.
      i wish i just had a cleaner or something!!
      ><
      "And as the sun, that had been too afraid to show its face in this city, started to turn the black into grey, I smiled. Not out of happiness. But because I knew... that one day, I wouldn't have to do this anymore. One day, I could stop fighting. Because one day... I would win. One day, there will be no pain, no loss Because of me, because I fight. For you. One day, I will win."

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      Hi QL

      Just to share a different perspective on the germs problem.

      Having some germs in the house is not all bad. It actually can be good, in that your body builds up itís defense systems against them, makes your body more immune to sickness. If itís too clean, your body canít do this and you could get sick more often, (could, ok, just possibilities.)
      Having said that Ė donít go the other extreme and not clean at all.

      Do you use kitchen rubber gloves?
      I find that helpful Ė then I can clean anything, no matter how dirty and it doesnít touch my hands at all.
      Also, if you go back to glass /china plates, wear the rubber gloves when you wash them up, then you can have the washing up water at itís hottest, which kills germs better, and the gloves protect your hands from the hot water and germs. Nice and clean and re-usable.

      And that lovely blue mop? Itís meant to get dirty, remember thatís why you bought it. When it gets too black, you can buy a new one! Iím sure youíd rather have clean floors than a clean mop. And Iím sure youíve got lovelier things in the house to look at than either the mop or the floor!

      Whatís that wet-wipe? It sounds thin. Get a good old fashioned sponge, even a thick one, your rubber gloves, and hottest hot soapy water, and wipe over. Done! Rinse off under the tap if you donít want to rinse in the sink of water. Youíll be fine to re use the sponge for ages. If it helps give you peace of mind, get some ordinary disinfectant, and pour a little over the sponge to kill germs every now and then, and even to give the bench the once over if you want. Donít be too particular about doing it every day, be casual, donít let it get to you. Thereís more interesting things in this world to do than obsess over whether a floor or bench is clean enough or not. You could be missing out on a real life!

      Well it would be a step in the right direction, anyway.

      See how you go.

      Good luck.
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    8. #8
      Senior Member maxitab's Avatar
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      Hi quirky.

      I am not a doctor but what you describe is classic OCD type difficulties. There are some medications that help - help, not cure or take away. In addition, intensive therapy for OCD is a must, with a qualified practitioner. I would urge you to get a referal for this as soon as you are able.

      Though it is hard when your therapist moves on and you feel discomforted by it, which is worse, the getting used to a new therapist or living your life forever more like this?
      ďThe value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.Ē

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    9. #9

      Cool

      I know this is a bit late to add to the thread but just wanted to say I'm just like this too...right down to not wanting to dirty the cleaning tools - I have so many for different rooms/uses it's ridiculous...old ones for the 'first dirty clean' and then I'll use the new ones to do a nice 'clean clean' God forbid anyone use the wrong brush/cloth in the wrong place!

      I spend a fortune on cleaning tools but the house is still a mess because I can't clean it - I know, doesn't make sense. I hate germs, things have to be cleaned in a certain way, with certain tools and yet the house is a state...this is why I tried looking for people like me because it's just not right to detest germs and yet not be spotless. Does not make sense. I don't like the idea of bad smells or dust getting into my mouth or nose (?!?!) so I wear a mask too when I clean, and yet half the time there can be loads of dust sat on stuff (the books above my bed are dusty, so I'm asleep right underneath, but I won't 'dust' with a duster because it will send all the dust up in the air...so it has to be done with the vacuum attachment)

      I do have depression, which makes getting on with it hard in the first place, but then I can't clean if I don't have the right tool (or, the tool/cloth/bucket isn't properly clean from last time...which involves soaking in bleach for a day or two and then putting cloths etc in the washer on a high temp)

      I've had a couple of cleaners, but I have to thoroughly clean before I can let her come...I am mortified by people having to delve in and do the big horrible jobs for me, I've been heard to say 'look, please, don't do that, please!' when I'm paying them to clean for goodness sakes! One lady I had is known for being uber-clean...and yet I found myself squirming in horror when she used the same vacuum attachment for both the bathroom and bedroom floor

      When I do have a cleaning frenzy, it's really a frenzy...everything has to be spotless and orderly, sanitised with my steam cleaner (I don't use chemicals as I've recently started to have breathing difficulty when using bleach indoors, have to go outdoors in a bucket now). And then it goes back to being a tip.

      So, thanks for posting and letting me get this off my chest! I don't get it, so I don't expect anyone else to except those who are like it too. Bizarre.
      Last edited by vileda-lady; 30-07-11 at 19:46.
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    10. #10

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      Oh, it is so comforting to find that there are other people who have the same issues as I do, i.e., OCD keeps me from cleaning my house! I look around every day and get depressed at this mess, which started because of hoarding - acquired too many items, not enough space to put everything, now can't clean because there is stuff piled everywhere. Also the all-or-none issue of "if I can't clean the whole place at one time, I might as well not clean any of it", and "I'll never get all of this done, so why bother". I would love it if anyone can help me reframe these stuck-in-a-rut thought patterns that I can't seem to reason away. Also having an issue with not know where to start. Any help any of you can give me would me very much appreciated. Thank you.

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