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Contamination OCD

5

5000stars

New member
Joined
Aug 7, 2020
Messages
1
Location
California
Hello,

In the summer of 2017, I hung out with a couple of friends, and we were drinking. I ended up becoming pretty drunk, and I ended up messaging some stranger on a dating app. The person ended up coming over, and we hooked up. By this time, most of the alcohol had already worn off, but I knew I wasn't in the correct state of mind when I invited them over. I remember feeling instantly guilty for inviting this person over. Still, I have always been an extremely guilt-ridden individual so much that the thought of me telling this person that I had changed my mind made me feel guilty. Fast forward to the next morning; I remember waking up and feeling extremely depressed about what I did. I forgot to mention I am a guy, and I hooked up with another guy. I was not "out" to anyone, not my friends, and especially not my family. I remember waking up and seeing my mom and felt horrible. I was so upset with myself for giving in and allowing myself to do this. This was my first time hooking up with someone. I was so hard on myself that this is where my intrusive thoughts began. I started telling myself that I was probably going to get some type of sexually transmitted disease (STD) now, and I started to self-diagnosis myself via the internet. Instantly I remember believing that I had some type of STD, and I was going to pass it on to my family. (I still lived at home with my family) This is when I feel down a rabbit hole and began questioning everything. I was convinced I was going to get AIDS and pass it onto my family. This is where my life changed. I started to wash everything obsessively. It started with my hands, and it got as far as to what every I touched I was leaving a trail of AIDS waiting for my family to contract. I know how ridiculous this all sounds, but this is what was going through my head. I stopped hanging out with friends; I stopped wanting to interact with my family; I was a mess. I was washing my hands so much that they would bleed, which was even worse because then I was afraid my open wounds and blood were infecting others. I was afraid that anything I touched would become contaminated, and I was fearful that my family would contract my "AIDS" that I was convinced I had. I stopped touching doorknobs (would use some type of barrier such as a paper towel to open doors if I needed to) I stopped sitting on my sofa, stopped opening the refrigerator, stopped petting my dog, and stopped cooking food. I would do anything in my power not to touch things. It got so bad that I started to believe I could transmit AIDS through my breath. I would hold my breath while walking by my family members, and eventually, I would hold my breath while walking through my house. My room was my safe space. I've learned that with whatever I have, I would create these rules for myself. For example, my room was safe. I was allowed to breathe freely; I was allowed to touch things; I was allowed to be "normal," but I did not let anyone into my safe space. I mentioned it above, but I stopped cooking and stopped opening my fridge. The only time I would is if the food was made for me. I lost so much weight during this time because I let fear control me. I also limited myself to only one bathroom break a day because I feared the restroom so much that I was convinced that if anyone was going to contract a disease from me, it would be from sharing a toilet, or using the same shower as me. After my one time a day bathroom break, I would clean the whole bathroom. I would mop the floor, wipe down the toilet, spray disinfectant everywhere, and if I messed something or accidentally touched something, I would start over. This because problematic because I would have people waiting for me to be done cleaning so they could use the restroom, which would result in me having an anxiety attack. I dreaded using the bathroom; It got so bad that I started driving to stores and fast-food restaurants just to use their restrooms. See, this is another thing about my situation. These worries of contamination only applied when I was hope or out with my family. The thought of me transmitting anything to my family disgusted me. It made me feel like trash knowing that I could have possibly transmitted this life-changing disease to someone in my family because I did a selfish, stupid act of hooking up with a stranger. So, using the restroom somewhere public didn't bother me. Typing this out, it seems too ridiculous. I would get in my car and drive somewhere to use the bathroom rather than my own personal bathroom. I suffered for almost two years. I was too afraid to go and see a doctor. I was afraid of someone knowing my secret and knowing what I did. As time passed on, I started to become extremely conscious of germs. Still, to this day, I feel like I can see germs. I can see contamination happening before my eyes, and I'm not sure if that will go away. My germ issue is another reason why I couldn't go to the doctor; I started to believe that I would bring home dirty germs and transmit them into my clean house. I knew that a lot of this would go away if I would just get tested for HIV/AIDS, but that isn't as easy as it sounds. I was still under my parent's insurance, and to get tested would complete out me. One day, I mustered up enough strength to go to my local Planned Parenthood and get tested. I ended up lying about not having insurance just to get tested. I just needed some peace of mind. I had been dealing with this whole situation alone, and that's a lot for a person. The results were negative, thankfully, but I was still dealing with intrusive thoughts. I let myself believe that I needed more than one test to be one hundred percent sure I was clean. I remember reading countless articles that just ended, making my situation worse. I read that HIV/AIDS incubation period can range anywhere from 3-8 months and rare cases longer. I was also reading about people becoming asymptotic but still being able to transmit the disease. I wasn't even sure if a lot of this information was valid at the time, but I let my mind believe it. So even after my first negative HIV/AIDS test, I was still convinced I had it. The contamination compulsions continued. I lost a couple of good friends; I didn't talk to my family; I spent so much money on gloves, disinfectant wipes, bleach sprays, etc. It was horrible. The only reason I'm still alive today is because of my mom. There were plenty of times where I felt like giving up. She was the only one in my family to know, and I will forever be grateful for her care and compassion. I know she did not understand any of my compulsions, but she allowed me to do what I needed to feel some ease. I ended up getting tested two more times an,d the results were negative for both. I have since then been able to live a more comfortable life, use the restroom without the need to clean the whole bathroom, and cook myself food, but there are still a lot of things that I cannot do. I've made a lot of the "rules" in my head become my normal an,d I have to remind myself that this is not how people live. I still have a hard time touching doorknobs (I still to this day will not touch my doorknob without 1. a paper towel or some time of barrier or 2. without immediately washing my hands afterward. I still obsessively wash my hands until they are red and stinging. I will not share food with others; I will not eat food without washing my hands first. I have to wipe down the toilet after every use; I have to wipe down the sink after every use, I will not let anyone in my room or my car. I will not sit on my bed unless I have showered first. I will not sit on our sofa or couches or at the dinner table unless I have showered. I will not touch anything in my house unless I have washed my hands. There are parts of my room that I will not touch because I still believe they are drity, I will not touch my window, my blinds, my walls, my bed frame or anything in my closet without gloves or without immediately washing my hands after. I don't know what I should do, should I see a doctor? I feel like my life is kind of normal now, but I still deal with those random issues that stop me from just living life without constantly feeling contamination.
 
Tawny

Tawny

Well-known member
Forum Guide
Joined
Nov 10, 2019
Messages
2,940
Location
England
:welcome:
I'm so sad to hear what you have been feeling like. People hook up with others, there is nothing wrong with that, but clearly it didn't feel right for you at that time. We all do things we regret.

I would speak to your doctor and see if there is any way they can help.

Have you spoken to anyone else?
 
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