In my recovery, I have learned that you get to a point where you just have to cut the crap out of your life. Stop doing things that enable you to take shortcuts with fighting anxiety.
For me, sure, I can get a friend to drive me to the whale house instead of taking the bus. Sure, I can carry a bottle of hand sanitizer and use it after touching each door handle. Sure, I can go into my bathroom and sanitize the toilet “again”. However, after a phone conversation with my dad, he helped me realize that these are just things that are fueling my anxiety. I want to continue to move forward in my recovery.
So, let’s tackle these three problems.
The bus. The bus has always been a huge anxiety of mine. I am very lucky that where I live I have very easy access to the bus, and I can use it to go anywhere I need to. As you know, I have a huge germ phobia. Now, have you ever seen those bus seats? They’re disgusting. When I do ride the bus, I stand up and look back at my seat several times to make sure it’s clean enough. Now let’s think about it logically, hundreds if not thousands of people ride those buses every day. I watch people get on, and they just sit down on any random seat. They don’t analyze the seats to pick the cleanest one, they just sit. They don’t think about what germs are on the seat or where the stain comes from. This would be a good challenge for me - to think rationally and realize that no one else worries about the seats and no one else gets sick from them. So. One thing I am going to be working on is riding those buses and using them to go where I need to go. I will remind myself that everyone else takes the buses and doesn’t worry about it.
Hand Sanitizer. I have been carrying bottles of hand sanitizer for the past few years now regardless of how many times I’ve been told that it’s bad for me. I touch a door handle, I use the sanitizer. I want to use my phone, out comes the sanitizer. I want to eat something, sanitizer. This is another area of my life that I want to challenge. My dad suggested I just simply not carry the sanitizer with me. That’s going to be kind of strange because I always have it with me. However, if that’s what it’s going to take then I’m going to try it. I’m ruining my hands with the amount of sanitizer I use. It is become automatic for me to use. It is my safety blanket. I need to change that. I ran out of sanitizer totally anyway, so now is a better time than any to start. I’ll keep you posted.
The Toilet. I think about my toilet probably far more than anyone on the planet. I come home from being out and I use the toilet, then the first thing I do is sanitize it completely. Sometimes depending on my anxiety, I’ll sanitize it two or three times until my head say’s it’s clean enough. For instance, I am fighting a strong urge to go sanitize my toilet right now. [So, this website is helping me in many different ways.] Because of my extreme fear of getting sick, I have to make sure the toilet is just right. I’ll spend 20 minutes wiping it down, even if it’s completely clean. I have to keep doing this until it clicks in my head and my thoughts tell me that it’s okay to use. So even this very moment I am fighting. I just have to accept that I cleaned it twice already tonight and it doesn’t need any more. So, I’m gonna keep working on that.
There’s three things that I’m going to be working on to continue in my recovery. I’ll post updates here to let you know how I’m doing. If you’ve got some tips or want to share what you’re working on in your life, feel free to comment!