Being OCD is an exhausting pastime. In reality it’s more like my 2nd job. Because I’m trying hard to not let it become my full-time job.
I can’t say for sure where this comes from – I don’t see my parents or my brother as being OCD at all (in fact I often wished they and the rest of the world flipping well could be). But socialization definitely has had a part to play in it. Looking back growing up, the little cultural nuances my parents made me do, though I did it grudgingly then, stuck.
“Don’t go into the toilet barefoot, shower before you go to bed, brush your teeth before (not after!) breakfast, eat with your right hand, keep the toilet door closed at all times” (the devil lives in this filthy place) – when I found myself living alone at 21, and celebrating f-r-e-e-d-o-m I couldn’t believe I was still doing all of these things – I couldn’t get my mother’s voice out of my head.
One thing I have realised is that OCD-ness goes with being a perfectionist and being (over) organised. This hit me as I was arranging our Tupperware by size & colour one evening. My husband announced that I was apparently not normal *rolls eyes*.
Perhaps it was 21 years of indoctrination but it’s become much more than just habit. I believe its right and subconsciously I judge the non-OCD (read filthy & disorganized) world. Not only that, I’ve since moved on from my 21 years of indoctrination and gone on to develop a few of my own ideals…
– No matter now delicious it smells, I don’t eat food off the street. Without running water on hand and a fridge plus being out in the sun all day it seems impossible for any of these food outlets to be clean. Abroad, especially in the East, my concerns are further fuelled by the nagging suspicion that that chicken is actually cat. Or worse, rat.
– Frequent hand washing with an antiseptic hand wash (I carry my own you may remember, from Crabtree & Evelyn). At home I love the Dettol No Touch Hand Wash for the bathrooms – and have one in the kitchen too. Now if could just figure out how to keep one at the office…
– At home for guests we have a stand with individual small white hand towels in our main bathroom – and a basket alongside to dispose.
– Weekly washing of makeup and hair brushes. I cannot believe how many women never ever do this #ohmygrossness
– Separate cleaning cloths for our helper to use in the bathroom and kitchen. Bathroom cloths are disposed every day after a single use.
– Not wearing shoes in the house but only slippers. Slippers are then washed when the maid comes in (twice a week) and a fresh pair is then worn on clean, washed floors.
– I look for detergents with “kills 99% of germs” claims. Otherwise bleach and boiling water.
– Besides the hair on my head (ok and my eyebrows and eyelashes), I don’t understand the need for any body hair. Ever. Breeding ground for germs. 3 words: laser hair removal.
– Toothbrushes are sprayed with Brushtox, a specially bought disinfectant for this purpose every 2 to 3 days.
– Cell phones, remote controls, tablets, pc mouse & purse disinfected weekly.
– After every wear, shoes are cleaned (inside and outside, not underneath) and then polished (if leather)
– Bank notes in my purse are arranged in descending order and all facing the same way (I like seeing the animal’s faces). I usually ask cashiers to give me clean, crisp notes when they give me change – I’m not down with dirty money.
– I carry the following in my handbag in case needed ( I was going to write in case of emergencies but let me not be dramatic):
- postage stamps (ok, I need to let this one go)
- a pre paid public phone card
- plasters (in an option of 4 different shapes/sizes)
- spare contact lenses
- disposable toilet seat covers & wipes
- mini stapler and staples,
- Dettol hand wipes (kills 99.9% of germs) and baby wipes.
Of course our helper, Flora has been adequately up skilled on all these tasks but most importantly in washing her hands often too. All the basins in our house have a choice of 4 hand washes at any given time – all from the same range, of course. I change the scent monthly to keep things interesting. My favourites are Crabtree & Evelyn’s La Source, Citron, Honey & Coriander & Gardeners the latter being what we’re using at the moment (left to right):
– Gel hand wash
– Gentle exfoliating hand wash
– Creamy hand wash
– Hand cream
– Dettol No Touch Hand Wash
The thing about being OCD is that there is always someone more OCD than you. Or, as my husband says, there’s always a new level of crazy to aspire to. He’s right. From chatting to other OCD people, I’ve found some new standards:
– Washing jeans after a single wear (hygiene, I was told, is more important than fading)
– Taking own pillows from home on vacation (why not own duvet too I asked?)
– Taking own towels from home on vacation (this is in addition to own pillows. God help their luggage).
– Using towels once only before washing (“think of the 1st and then the last place you use your towel to wipe when you step out the shower” I was told).
– Showering each time after using the toilet for a, erm, number 2. And (not the same person) leaving wherever you are to do a number 2 at home only.
– When changing the volume on the TV, it must be left on an even number.
I know you can you add to this list, c’mon indulge me!!!
Truth be told, I actually enjoy and pride myself at being OCD, it’s become my normal. Yes, it is never-ending work but my life feels better this way. Here’s hoping we get to “kills 100% of germs” quickly. In fact I was thinking it’d be cool if we got to “kills 120% of germs” so that someday detergent can kill future germs on particular surfaces so maybe I can relax then and be a little less OCD. Or maybe not….