Yesterday I grabbed a big handful of napkins out of a dispenser and had to stick my hand in a bit to get them out. I felt a sensation on my hand, it may have been one of my nails hitting my hand, but of course I thought "hiv infected needle poke". I lifted up the napkins (a ritual compulsion I know!) and saw what I thought was a line of white napkin dust, but in my mind it could have been a syringe. I did not study it excessively and then I left. I was so anxious about it. Not having 100% certainty about what happened and what I saw. The place is 2 hours away so of course I am not returning to check yet again.
So, the big thing I always struggle with when this happens is accepting the uncertainty, and fighting the urge to see PEP treatment for every single poke and stab I get out there in the world, which happens alot.
I just want to learn how to get past this. Any suggestions for treatment or ERP that I can do to stop myself from thinking every jab is a HIV needle??? I am driving myself and my husband beserk!
It isn't good to take PEP unless you have had a true exposure. Hopefully you have not been relying on that.
You said you have done extensive CBT with ERP but the first thing you do is go to your husband for reassurance. The first thing you should be doing is relying on yourself...using self-coaching, breathing, etc. to get you through it. The reassurance seeking only makes us feel good for a short time and then we are right back at it.
Let me ask you this, how many times have you thought somebody poked you with a needle and that you got HIV?
I have never taken PEP it is just when I get these awful triggers I wish I could do that. Going to my husband is a big no no and I have had a rough time breaking myself of the habit.
I don't know why I am fixated on thinking there is a needle out there in the environment that is going to stick me. I am afraid of not being able to control everything and for some reason HIV needles have lodged in my brain so to speak!
Yes, we OCD people do like to be in control. I think you need to fall back on past experiences in that all the other times you have thought there was a needle there never was so you need to do that self-coaching..."there never was a needle and there never will be a needle..now move on" or my favorite "WHATEVER, ENOUGH, NOW MOVE ON." And then I breath my way back to calmness. You need to rely on you. Next time you want to run to your husband, stop yourself, do your self-coaching and breathing. Break that habit.
Thank you so much. I was able to overcome driving OCD by not giving into rituals and it worked. I hope I can do the same for this. It is just that I imagine so many scenarios, like the people before me using the napkin dispenser must have been hiv pos drug users who planted a needle there..... silly I know.
yeah, LOL my husband thinks I should become a fiction author!! Thank you so much for listening and responding. I met with my therapist yesterday. I have this app on my phone that she designed called Live OCD Free and I am really really going to try to practice my erp and when I get triggered to use the tools she gave me.
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