Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shoes and dried vomit.

I just arrived in Washington DC and my hair immediately went from straight to FRIZZY. Holy moly! I need a shower…..and definitely a shower longer than 5 minutes. :) I am in DC for the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) convention, and I am excited! I think it's going to be great. My mom flies in tomorrow, which I'm even more excited about!

I’m pretty sure airports and flying are perfect breeding grounds for anxiety…..even for the general population. For OCDers, that anxiety quickly morphs into a chaotic mess of obsessions and compulsions. It’s like anxiety on crack. There are triggers everywhere, with everything. The airport is one of my least favorite places to frequent....unless it's just to people watch. :) Everything seems overly grimy and disgusting, and the hustle and bustle just enhances it all. Going through security nearly brings about a panic attack every single time! The only thing my brain focuses on is all the shoes!!! Shoes everywhere. People taking off their shoes and throwing them on top of their bags and jackets and purses like it’s no big deal at all. In reality, it’s……probably……no……big……deal. That’s hard to say, because I’m still trying to grasp onto that fact. With my OCD frame of reference, it seems terrible! It feels paralyzing just watching people grab their shoes and toss them onto their stuff. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do that. ……it’s something to work towards, I supposes. Ugh….even just typing that caused my stomach to drop and tense, and my heart to beat faster. I hate this feeling. My mind is spinning. I feel nauseous.

On a funnier note…..

I board the plane in LAX, walk back to my seat….as in the back of the plane, back. I pretty much have the worst seat. Back of the plane, middle seat. My favorite. Having only had three hours of sleep, I am thoroughly looking forward to a nap on the plane. As if I haven’t been triggered enough in the two hours I’ve been awake, I find my seat and as I’m about to sit down I notice that there is dried vomit coating both sided of my seat belt. Oh HELL no! The two gentlemen sitting on either side of me were obviously confused with my half sitting posture which turned into a northbound leap. Still holding my bags, I quickly maneuvered my way around the guy sitting in the aisle seat, and walked straight back to the galley where I calmly informed the stewardess that I needed to be reseated.

I was reseated. :)


  1. Hi! I just found your blog through Kristi. My OCD blog is at I just started it about a month ago. It is so hard to find OCD blogs for some reason, so I'm glad I found yours. Haven't had a chance to read yours since I am at work but I will this weekend.

  2. Oh wow! I have big shoes issues as well, that whole senario is anxiety provoking for me as well, shoes touch alot of contaminated stuff, ALOT! I read somewhere that like over 86% of ppls shoes have animal poop on them! And puke! on your seat!! Glad they reseated you, pwhef! Like beth said, it is hard to find ocd blogs or sites...I use a site I like called can blog on it, and chat directly with others with OCD, I have found it very helpful, there are alot of washers on there, people who understand this anxiety :)

  3. Dear Kristen,

    I hope you enjoy the IOCDF conference in Washington, D.C. These conferences have great information and speakers. If you get a chance check out the speaker Roy C. for Obsessive Compulsive Anonymous (OCA) a 12-step support group consisting of people with OCD working on recovery from it.

    OCA has been around for almost 25 years and is endorsed by many therapist including members on the board of IOCDF. If you like you can check out the website: Here you will finding a listing of meetings by state. Try to find a local one in your area and attend a few of the meetings.

    This will help you toward your goal of being OCD symptom free. The groups will help give you the emotional support you need to do the hardwork of therapy (exposure and response prevention) and maintain your recovery program.

    The program will teach you how to live in the moment and not in your head. It will also let you know you are not alone and you can lead a great life living in recovery and moderation.

    I thank you for being brave and courageous in participating in The OCD Project and working on recovery at Rogers facility. Thank you for helping people become more aware of OCD and learning they can do something about it.

    I believe you can have a great life living in recovery.

  4. Tell yourself that the only important thing in going through security is that you end up putting your OWN shoes on instead of someone else's. ;-) "Contamination" is everywhere if you're out in public and the more exposures you do, the easier it will be to ignore it. Your parrot says the airport and people's shoes are dirty. How would he know? Birds don't wear shoes... :-)

  5. How do you feel towards Dr. Tolin now, since the program has ended?

  6. Hey Kristin:

    It was nice meeting you, I have read through your blog and it brought tears to my eyes. We have had similar experiences. except "The Project". woah! I admire you for sticking with it, and you should be proud! I am glad it lead to RMH!
    OH!!!!! The bans I had quite a few my self. But it was an incredible feeling when the resists beat the submits!

    Take Care,

  7. From: Michael_from_CT.
    I would not get upset by Dr. Tolin's comments.
    Therapy is not an exact science and he took the approach that he thought would work the best.
    The important thing is that you are continueing your treatment and making progress and I am sure that is what what he would want for you.