1. Is there anything about your OCD that you'd miss if you woke up tomorrow and were suddenly cured?
Well, not if I were cured of my actual FEAR of getting sick. But if I were cured of my "germ awareness," I'd miss that, because I happen to think it's actually a really good thing to be as aware of germs as I am. That's part of why my disorder is going to be so hard to "cure"--simply because I think that it's right and good to be so aware an conscious of germs. I know germs ARE on the things I think they're on, and I think it's best to avoid them if possible, or wash after coming into contact with them. So to answer your question, hell no I wouldn't miss the terror at hearing someone cough 8 mile away, and the absolute panic with which I'm bestricken when I come to pick my child up from preschool and I hear one of her little friends let out a huge sneeze, I'm but I would miss being aware of certain germs so that I could avoid them and be as clean and healthy as possible. If I were TOTALLY cured of this, I would probably get sick more often with both colds, tummy bugs, and who the hell knows what else. Hope that makes sense.
2. Can you feel ANY effect from those medications? Are they helping at all?
Honest to God, no. Not with regard to the OCD/anxiety aspect, at all. I'm taking some meds to help with irritability/atypical depression, and I do notice a difference there. (Finally, I don't want to smack my oldest child into next week All The Time. I kid, I kid. Just kidding, I kid about kidding. OK I kid about that too. OK FINE I'm HALF KIDDING ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU JUST READ.) So the meds are working with my OMGRAGE issues, but not even remotely with my OMGOCD issues. I feel absolutely no relief with my anxiety, and that's after taking everything under the sun for it. Hard-core shit, like Klonopin, Xanax, Buspar, etc.
3. How do you feel about natural cleaners (like vinegar instead of bleach)?
Well, I'm undecided. I take that back. I'm not into it so much. I mean, if you're cleaning something the baby's gonna lick, I wouldn't use Lysol wipes. Although I would probably use Clorox "Anywhere Spray," which insists it's safe to use in the immediate proximity of food and children. (It's a super, super mild bleach mixture, basically, and bleach in certain dilute concentrations is extremely safe. Which is why I luuurve my some bleach. Harsh enough to kill shit, gentle enough to swim in and drink.) I always hear what a good disinfectant natural cleansers are, and I suppose vinegar is fairly harsh and kills certain things, but it's not murderous enough for me. For things like cleaning windows? Sure. But if my kid had another one of her poosplosions of semi-automatic ass spray, I wouldn't feel confident cleaning her "drawing weasel" with vinegar. It would be Lysol wipes, then Lysol spray, and some bleach thrown around here and there, all the way, baby.
4. Did you worry about using a lot of harsh cleansers while you were pregnant?
I definitely did worry. I used rubber gloves all the time, every time I cleaned with Clorox or Lysol wipes or Comet scrub, and I was worried about the amount of hand sani I used. (I was like, is the amount of alcohol-based hand sani soaking into my system to the point where I'm using the equivalent of taking a shot?) So I worried, but not enough to stop using it. ;) I didn't really use anything with fumes much, or if I did, I would spray it, hold my breath, turn on the fan, close the door, and run, run away.
5. Do you prefer original scent Purell or the green "with aloe" Purell? :)
Original all the way. In fact, I hate those stupid hand sanis with lotion added too. They don't feel astringent enough for me. I don't want to feel moisturized, I want to feel dry and tight and crisp and alcoholed. It's a mental thing. Although as far as scent alone goes, I like Germ-X the best. Smells delish. Well, so do Bath & Body Works hand sanis. But yeah, no added moisturizers for me. It makes me feel dirty and gross.
6. Do you use ketchup/mustard packets when you're at a restaurant? Or do you disinfect them first?
I never really encounter those so much. Just regular bottles of ketchup and mustard sitting on the restaurant table. Oh well, I guess you're right, those packets do some with burgers at McDonalds. Yeah, if I do use packets, I'd def hand sani afterward. Packets of Splenda or sugar are bad enough. Those feel dirty to me too. And I guess I do encounter packets of hot sauce (fire sauce, specifically, because I'm a fire sauce kind of girl) when we go to Taco Bell--I use those and either Clorox-wipe them first, or use them them I hand-sani or wash. Usually because it's the cashier, not the food handler, who adds those to my bag of food, and That's Just Gross.
7. Cloth napkins at restaurants - stressful?
NOT UNTIL YOU MENTIONED IT GODDDD. But yeah, not especially. I suppose they should unnerve someone like me, but...I guess I deal all right with them. Lord I hope they use bleach though. Or color-safe bleach, whatevz. Probably they don't, but it's another one of those things I desperately don't want to give much thought to, lest I develop yet another "issue." Funny enough, I have far, far more of a problem with rolled up PAPER napkins, the kind they roll your silverware in and then secure with a rolly sticky paper thingy. Those, I feel, are super gross, from the napkin itself to the silverware they've diddled and doddled with. Because there's no way they wash their hands first. Ugh. They roll up our silverware at the restaurant we go to every week for trivia night, and I feel like those napkins and that silverware is just foul. I DON'T WANT ROLLED-UP SILVERWARE. DON'T TOUCH MY NAPKIN.
Excellent questions, ches. Feel free to ask more in our next installment, or any time you wish. :) xoxo.
Janice, the Not So Special Mother, asks:
1. What about people who want to shake hands? Do you go all Doc Holiday and say "Forgive me if I don't shake hands" or just suffer and wash up after?
Oh God, how I hate, hate, hate shaking hands. Hate it with the fiery fires of hell. I will do it, though. I'm not ballsy enough to be all Howie Mandel and be like, "How about a fist bump instead?" I shake hands, but then my hand literally feels hot with the burning burning germs until I have the opportunity to wash at my earliest convenience, and I don't touch my face or mouth or food or child or anything with my right hand until I can wash. So yeah, I just suffer and wash up later. Maybe after I rise to internet fame and fortune, I will be able to pull a "forgive me if I don't shake hands, dahhling," but for now I just have to deal with it. But it's awful.
2. Also, how about touch screens in public? ATM's or order screens or whatever? Those are totally disgusting.
You are completely right. They are gross. Although everything you touch in person is gross. Pay phones, doorknobs, menus, ATM buttons (touchscreens or not), handrails, everything. But with touchscreens, I use my knuckles. I don't know why it feels safer to me, but it does. I knock the buttons super fast and hard with my knuckles instead of pressing them all juicylike with my fingertips. And yes, I use massive quantities of hand sani afterward, and then go home and wash. ;)
Thank you Janice! Good ones!
1. Did you nurse your babies? Did you have to sanitize your breast before latching your baby on? How did you handle nursing in public? I would think that nursing would actually make it easier to handle germs then with bottle, were bacteria creeps in every nook and cranny.
I did nurse my babies. Because I had terrible terrible nursing issues and never produced enough, I ended up exclusively pumping and supplementing, so I only ever nursed in public a few times, and that was with Maya, my firstborn. I nursed at the mall once, and then at a family holiday party another time. I would wash my hands first (like I did any time I nursed or, more accurately, attempted to nurse) and just take her somewhere private or through a blanket over my chest and nurse. Yes, nursing was somewhat easier than putting together a bottle of formula and worrying that the parts are touching a dirty table or something. Although exclusively pumping made everything hell on earth, having to plan around pumping sessions or even bring my pump with me, then worrying about storing the milk, etc. Basically, there was nothing easy about feeding my babies, ever. Argh.
2. How did you manage potty training with your oldest daughter? Did she have any poo accidents you had to deal with? (My friend had to throw her daughter's panties out when she pooed her pants at Boston Pizza, she WAS NOT carrying those filthy things around with her.)
Potty training went very smoothly and easily. Maya was potty-trained within a week. We just stayed at home, kept her naked from the waist down, and had her sit on the potty every 20 minute or something. It all went very easily. Cleaning her little Bjorn potty has been a super gross-out factor to me. I mentioned that here. But, yes, she has had accidents, even *shudder* poopy ones. There was the epic, epic diarrhea all over creation accident, which I documented, and there have been a couple other times when she has pooped in her panties, one time so bad I threw those things away, causing massive outrage on Maya's part. But I was NOT washing those or dealing with them. She has constipation issues and lets things go waaaay too long, so accidents are becoming more frequent now, and I kind of don't know what to do. :/
The one part of potty training that SUCKS is that she uses public restrooms. When we're at a restaurant and she has to use one, I use like 800 toilet seat covers staggered all over the whole damn toilet, tell her 799 times "Don't touch ANYTHING," and have a mild panic attack.
1. Do you worry about MRSA? That is the kind of stuff I worry about most for me and my kids, more than random colds or just the grossness of what other people have touched.
I do worry about it, although not nearly as much as I worry about colds, flu, and other sickness. I'm not sure why. I know it's odd that I'd be more worried about my baby coming down with a cold than a flesh-eating antibiotic-resistant infection, but it's true. The one exception to this is that my husband has a recurring infection in his leg (he has some kind of weird pocket or crypt under the flesh there that just gets repeatedly infected), and I worry my ass off that he's going to get MRSA in it. As it is, he's gotten ridiculously bad infections in his leg before, and they've had to treat it with like three different extremely strong antibiotics and lance it and drain it and pack it full of iodine-soaked packing strips, etc. Wow, way more than you wanted to know. But to answer your question, yes, it is then that I worry terribly about MRSA. But if my kids get a scratch or a skinned knee, no, I don't panic. But if someone coughs in my general direction? PANIC CITY.
Thea over at The Lint Trap asks:
Once your baby is no longer a baby do you think your OCD will improve since a lot of it seems to stem from worry over her getting sick?
I think so, to some extent. Part of my fear is just that she's so little, so young, and doesn't know how to deal with getting sick. She can't clear her nose or throat very well. It's scary and dangerous. I worry about Maya when she gets a cold, but it's nothing like the worry I feel for the baby. I think that will simmer down as the baby gets older. But I don't see myself changing my habits (both normal and very extreme) as she grows, unless I've found effective treatment and I no longer obsess or compulse. Still, I look forward to the day when my little one catching colds isn't such a terrible fear for me.
Thanks, Thea. Thanks in fact to all y'alls for participating in the 1st Annual Ask Me Shit Convention. xoxoxoxo!