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Blood contamination

Hi all,

I'm so glad I found this forum tonight. I don't know anyone near me who suffers from OCD and I don't want to burden my boyfriend with it too much. As I mentioned in the chat, I have been suffering contamination fear around blood, eversince my fear of covid has dropped (which I'm so proud of). I try to be very rational about blood. I work in a nursing home for elderly people with dementia, so I see blood on a daily basis almost. I'm not afraid to look at it. However, I am afraid of the following things:

  • Not cleaning it up well enough;
  • Contaminating others with my own blood;
  • The fact that the residents probably walk around with blood on their hands, from small wounds etc. and touch doorknobs and other things;
  • Contaminate myself, get sick and then contaminate others. I'm not afraid of being ill, but I would feel responsible for getting someone else sick;
  • A lot of blood-borne diseases are dormant and won't be noticed until the person is very sick, Hepatitis B for example.

An example of a situation I recently encountered: A colleague brought her baby to the nursing home while she was still on het maternity leave. A resident had a nosebleed, the day before she was even hospitalized for it. For a couple of day, she still had residual blood under her nose, which she would touch frequently. So the chance of her getting blood on her hands was very high. Around the same time, I was afraid this lady might have AIDS (because of a picture about it in her room). I looked up how this disease would transmit and found out you can't get it from touching something with blood on it. I'm terrified she might have had some kind of disease, touched the baby and the baby would then lick his hands, which they often do, and ingest the blood and get sick. For some diseases, this would be a way to transmit the disease. For others, like AIDS, there has to be a wound.

I'm fairly sure she touched the baby. But at the time I was only worried about AIDS and now I'm afraid I let her touch the baby even with (a little) blood on her hands, which she probably had because of her nosebleed, because I deemed it safe. But now, a couple of months later I'm suddenly very scared because of other blood-borne diseases. 

I'm not sure what happened anymore, who was there as well, if she even touched the baby. I feel compelled to tell the mother because I feel we should all be cautious around blood. There are a number of diseases which are totally invisible but can be deadly later on in life. And they often go undiscovered until it's too late. But on the other side, I feel like it's the mothers job to protect her child. If the woman had a lot of blood, I think we would all have seen it. But I'm also afraid I didn't react because I was only focussing on if she had AIDS, and it would not have been dangerous to have touched the baby (though it would have been gross ofcourse). Blood-borne diseases aren't rare, but not common either. I just feel guilty for not reacting in a certain way back then. And I'm not sure if I should just ask/tell the mother now. It feels weird to do that after months. But it also feels very dangerous.

I hope someone can help me solve this in a good way. Or maybe someone recognizes this. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

I feel your pain. I have been through a lot of the same situations as you have and it was before I knew how OCD really worked and how to do ERP. I also was more afraid of causing harm to someone else more than illness to myself and would have extreme guilt and fear which would consume me. Some things I would suggest - difficult as they may be. Stop researching various illnesses - it will only make things worse, as you probably already know. Realize that we really have  little control in life - some, but not as much as we think. Don't ask for reassurance. It may feel good for a minute and reduce the guilt and fear, but OCD will only find something else for you to think about.  Right now you feel responsible for every scenario which is also part of OCD. 

Try to let the scary thoughts and feelings be there but go on with your life. It will not be easy, but after a while things will get better and the anxiety will reduce.  It sounds like you are like many people who have OCD - a caring and loving person who feels over-responsible for others so OCD has latched unto this situation. 

Let me know how you are doing in the future and realize that you are not alone.

Thank you for your kind answer! Researching illnesses certainly makes it worse. And we can't control everything in life. That's what helped me get rid of a lot of compulsions and anxiety around covid-related OCD. Just accepting I can't control it. It was really hard but I've come out on the other end about that theme and I'm so proud of it. 

And even though I can't get rid of the feeling that I'm doing something awful if I don't tell the mother about this situation. But thinking about it and asking reassurance doesn't make it better (even worse). So I guess I'll have to sit with this feeling and let it reduce naturally.

I'm also moving together with my fiancee into our first bought house. I'm so afraid the anxiety about this thought with the blood will spoil the move for me, making me think about it constantly. Luckily I have an appointment with my therapist a couple of days before. 

I'll keep you updated on how it goes. It's great to be able to talk someone who 100% knows what I'm going through.

Just wondering about you nickname, do you sew as well? It's one of my favourite hobbies, which I've pushed aside because of the anxiety for far too long. I finally bought some fabric to start on some new projects. I often wait to start on these things until i feel 'better'. But I guess it's better to just start with it anyway.

Have a nice day/evening where you are!

I used to sew quite a bit and even had a business where I sewed drapes,  cushions etc. and I was a seamstress at a retail store. Have gone unto other things now and mainly knit and don't hardly sew at all,  but I have just kept this nickname.