Contamination ocd: I need help with... - My OCD Community

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Contamination ocd

Blue_Red profile image

I need help with controlling my contamination ocd. I am so anxious from visiting a friend who has had cat urine in his home. The carpet has been removed, though I still have the fear. Any suggestions to relieve the anxiety? I gave into the ocd and took shower, wiped my phone, purse and steering wheel because I was so out of control feeling.

17 Replies

I can relate to how you feel. Sometimes you just have to tell yourself that it is out of your control and unfortunately there is cat urine, dog poop, etc everywhere 🤷

Blue_Red profile image
Blue_Red in reply to LuvSun

Is there anything that has helped you challenge your ocd with contamination? I am looking for a therapist who specializes in CBT, ERT, and ACT. Have you had this therapy?

LuvSun profile image
LuvSun in reply to Blue_Red

I have had some counseling in the past. Never stuck with it because I realized that the actual therapy has to be done by myself and I know what I have to do with ERP and other therapies. There are a lot of good self help books available. For me I just try and see what other people are doing as far as contamination fears even though it feels dirty to me. I’ve challenged a few fears but admit I have a long way to go if I really want to conquer the OCD. This forum has helped me a lot. You can get better if you really put your mind to it. There is so much help available.

Hello there. I used to have contamination OCD. What helped me overcome it was the following. Whenever I feel urged to clean more than needed I'd just do the opposite and I don't clean even if it was hard to resist cleaning. That way I didn't feed OCD what it wanted and it backed off later on. What also helped me partially was understanding that no matter how much I clean, nothing will ever be perfectly clean. It's not something I can be certain of.

Blue_Red profile image
Blue_Red in reply to JoeS00

I even have thoughts when I am cleaning, that I am spreading the contamination. I change rags in between. My brain go's crazy. Any suggestions?

JoeS00 profile image
JoeS00 in reply to Blue_Red

Remember that in the end they are thoughts. With OCD your brain is wired to these intrusive thoughts. It's always about not giving in to these thoughts although it's not easy I know. If you feel like you need to change rags don't do it first of all. You should start by resisting doing compulsions so that your OCD will start to bother you less. Feel free to dm me if you want to talk about it.

Thank you for sharing this, Blue_Red because I relate to this soooooo much. I'm sorry you deal with it too. This whole thread is super helpful to read knowing I'm not alone and seeing what some people are working on.

"it is not something I can be certain of"...wise and powerful words there, JoeS00. That is the hardest part but the important piece in retraining how to think. Thank you for your posts here .They are super helpful

Thank you:)

alexandraisobsessed profile image
alexandraisobsessedIOCDF Advocate

Hey Blue_Red, I have contamination as a theme and I totally relate to all of this. Have you seen an OCD specialist and learned how to do Exposure Response Prevention and sit with the discomfort?

I have done exposures, though I don't continue to do them because I become so fearful that I am going to make all my belongings dirty.

alexandraisobsessed profile image
alexandraisobsessedIOCDF Advocate in reply to Blue_Red

I know that feeling well. It sounds like you’re on a good path with searching for a therapist who will be a good fit and help you work on your exposures.

I was so fearful of everything that my therapist had me work on very basic ritual prevention first. So, he would have me track how often I did something like wash my hands. Then, when I was able to reduce that substantially we very slowly worked our way through “easier” exposures until we got to a very distressing one.

The baby steps really helped build my confidence and kept me from getting overwhelmed.

I hope this helps some,

Any success stories to share ?

alexandraisobsessed profile image
alexandraisobsessedIOCDF Advocate in reply to Blue_Red

Let’s see… from when I first began ERP (about 8-9 years ago) to now I’ve made a lot of progress.

When I first started seeing my therapist I was terrified to be anywhere I considered dirty or contaminated which was most places outside of my home. I used an unreal amount of sanitizer. I got to the point where I could easily go hours without decontaminating and I wasn’t taking multiple showers in a day.

If I get very stressed I can still have setbacks, but now I can identify when I’m triggered and get myself back to baseline.

It did take time for me to see real progress. I had lots of moments where I felt like maybe therapy wasn’t working or I’d never get better, but I slowly noticed I was having more good days than bad.

You can do this.

I have been there and know how hard that moment is when you feel like you have to do so much. I'm struggling too and you're not alone. It is so hard to be UNCERTAIN ... so scary...but that is what I think it comes down to. Sending you thoughts of strength!

Thank you! Have you had any luck with ACT and exposures? I am in the process of looking for a new therapist. One that won't make me kiss a public toilet, because that's not going to ever happen lol

Hi, no I haven't gotten in depth that much I suppose. I've been with a therapist for a few years and we came to my ocd diagnosis a few months ago. My therapist is not an ocd specialist but I have such a good rapport that I feel good for now. I have considered seeing a specialist though if I'm not making much progress.. I used an amazing workbook called The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It was a good start to learn more about ocd. That's as far as I've gotten, and I do journaling.

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