I’ve been obsessively cleaning my glasses lately because I can’t stand there to be even a smudge on my lenses! The cleaning solution smells of rubbing alcohol which typically induces a sense of anxiety. It’s not a pleasant feeling and it’s rooted in a time when I was in hospitals and very sick. However, my urge to clean my glasses has overcome the anxiety I feel when I smell that alcohol. I seem to be handling it fairly well… the smell, not the OCD.
I went to an eye exam this weekend and when I sat down in the doctor’s room, I could smell the rubbing alcohol on all the instruments, which for some reason, I did not expect. I got that horrible feeling of anxiety and I was about to mention the issue to the nurse (assistant?), but didn’t. She asked me a few question and I answered them awkwardly. I had trouble concentrating and paused a few times to take a deep breath. I’m pretty sure she suspected something was wrong, but then I just smiled and answered her question. I can’t adequately explain how I felt. I want to say that it was hard to focus, but that really isn’t quite accurate.
Think of a time that someone was rude to you and made you feel upset, and you really wanted to say something snarky to them, but you bit your tongue to avoid an extra unpleasant encounter. It was like that, but more a feeling of dread, rather than hurt feelings or anger. I really wanted to tell her that the smell of alcohol bothered me, but what good would it have done? I didn’t want to leave because I really do need new glasses. Although, that had nothing to do with why I tolerated the smell and never mentioned it to anyone. The moment passed and I was very pleased with the recovery time! I believe that my OCD glasses cleaning frenzy actually gave me the upper hand that day.
Even though I failed my OCD check, I was certainly victorious in my last run with Anxiety! Yay me!