Having a hard time understanding how to i... - My OCD Community

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Having a hard time understanding how to implement ERP for my OCD.

canigetawitness profile image

I got the intrusive thought "What if you unknowingly ran into your kitchen, pumped soap in your hands & rubbed it on your TV". My compulsions now are trying to figure out if I did that, looking for potential soap rubbed on the TV.

How would you apply ERP to this scenerio? I'm confused about how it works to break the cycle.

10 Replies

I do have OCD and can understand the pain it causes, so I'm not trying to be flippant or make light of your anxiety. But as someone who does not struggle with this particular theme, I can honestly say that I don't know or care if there is soap on my TV. I think ERP in this situation would be to not inspect the TV or ruminate on whether you did or didn't do something to it. Accept the thought but don't give it importance. Watch a show to take your mind off it -- maybe a "soap" opera? :)

Again, I'm making fun of the OCD, not you. My own OCD has caused me to obsess over much more ridiculous things, like the time I was seriously worried a friend might have been hiding in the barn a hundred yards from my kitchen window, using binoculars and a professional lip-reader to discover that I was THINKING something negative about them.

Try to live with the uncertainty, and it should diminish over time. It won't feel good at first, but in the long run it will make you stronger and the intrusive thoughts weaker. Good luck!

Thank you. No offense taken, I think it's important to laugh at how ridiculous OCD is. I'll try to do what you said and just notice the thoughts and not do the compulsion.

I have OCD also and ERP can be exhausting. I'm very sympathetic. I know that ERP for situations where we worry about germs can involve touching things on the street, refraining from washing hands for a certain amount of time, etc.

If you can face it, you may want to actually rub some soap on your TV screen with a cloth and then see if you can refrain from cleaning it off for 5 minutes or 10 minutes, or whatever you think you can tolerate. Maybe try it twice a day, once in the AM and once in the PM. TV screens are just glass. Soap won't cause damage.

It's weird what our brain latches onto, isn't it? Today, my mom sent me something of hers to read and I wrote back and gave her lots of praise and one minor suggestion. Then I started obsessing about how that suggestion would crush her and damage her forever and my brain went immediately to how I'm the world's worst daughter. Ugh!!

I love the Marvin Gaye song "Can I get a Witness." Is that how you picked your name?

Hang in there! Mothfir, I haven't thought of lip-readers, but I have definitely worried about people being able to read my thoughts and have imagined my skull being transparent with evil thoughts floating around, visible to everyone, like an evil aquarium! Take care.

Thank you for the reply & advice. Soap on TV screens (which are actually mostly hard plastic) can damage the pixels and discolour the TV if the soap is dried onto it. So maybe just sitting with the thought and not doing the compulsion would be best?

I'm sorry your brain picked up on the info you sent your Mom . It is weird what our OCD can latch onto. I actually got the name from a Katy Perry song lol. It's called "Witness". And she says can I get a witness in it. I'll have to check out the Marvin Gaye song too. I like the saying.

Yes, sitting with the thought and not doing the compulsion sounds good. I always thought TV screens were glass. Maybe they were a million years ago, when I was a kid. I'll check out the Katy Perry song :-) Take care.

MothFir profile image
MothFir in reply to Elisheva99

OCD is certainly creative - we have to give it that!

Also, just for what it’s worth, here are some instructions for cleaning a modern TV:


I loved the subtitle - “Don’t Overthink It.”

My wife and I finally got a smart TV 5 or 6 years ago. Until then we had a hand-me-down that I remember my grandfather buying around 1979. You could wash it with anything.

Elisheva99 profile image
Elisheva99 in reply to MothFir

It is creative. It's like a constantly mutating virus. I remember we got our first color TV when I was 16. The first time I saw "The Wizard of Oz" in color, I was astounded.

When I have trouble coming up with an exposure for an obsession my therapist always tells me to lean into it, which is trying to tell myself that the thought maybe true and sitting with the anxiety it presents. I’m not a therapists though so this is just my experience but I hope it’s helpful.

"Maybe I did, maybe I didn't!"

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