Thread
SummerKissesWinterTears
7d ago

Any tips and advice on how to enjoy eating food without OCD being a loud guest at the dinner table? For example, I have been doing exposures (when I’m not failing at it), for my worry that a dish that I’m using still has trace amounts of food on it from a meal it was previously used for. My compulsive OCD-demanded response is usually to compulsively either 1.) re-wash or rinse the dish, 2.) only eating pieces of food that aren’t touches the edges of the dish (like eating food that’s in the center of a bowl) Or 3.) to just avoid using it all together which sometimes mean missing out on something delicious that’s already been placed in the dish. So when I do exposures now, I tried to just not wash, rinse, avoid. But I’m really tired of thinking about food poisoning, while I’m eating. All the time. (For context, I have emetophobia, a fear of throwing up.) :(

ARTnotOCD
7d ago
Are you working on the emetophobia with ERP? I’m so much better with that issue after treating it. I still worry about food poisoning and contamination more than some, though I attribute that to my grandfather being a physician and his story of coming home from WWII with a ship full of food-poisoned men and having to vouge that they were not carrying communicable disease to get into port. (FYI, it was homemade mayonnaise that got the whole ship sick, plus people with regular seasickness. Mayonnaise keeps incredibly well in the fridge, but once contaminated and unrefridgerated —and I guess when homemade in the 1940s from wartime French farmsides, that’s a lot easier to happen— that’s when it can become a problem. But putting some on a sandwich in an unrefridgerated lunchbox for hours, or even a whole day, is fine—maybe not out, uncovered, in the sun, but yeah. But I have no problem with dishes. I’ll even eat more that falls off my plate than my husband because I try to convince myself a little dirt is good for my allergies. I also eat food well after “expiration” dates. Again, my grandfather believed that was not indicative of food poisoning as much as preparation and storage. Food also tends to tell you when it’s no good anymore based on all our senses. I try to embrace the “dirt” of life. I also know the only time I had food-born-illness, the food was absolutely healthy and clean and properly served. What poisoned everyone at that holiday party was that a mother changed a diaper of a sick child and didn’t wash her hands before taking from the table. So just try not to eat with anyone that inconsiderate. In summation: I like to fight my contamination OCD with some knowledge, (though I suggest cookbooks over Google for this kind), finding a reason for embracing some “dirt”, and highly recommend ERP for the emetophobia. Good luck!!! 💪🏼💜
Sasha
7d ago
Sadly, I don’t think logic helps much with ocd. It’s just a temporary relief in the feeling of reassurance. You can say don’t worry about this, it’s unlikely. But OCD doesn’t care. It’s an irrational disease. You have to accept your fear as possible and still do it.
ARTnotOCD
7d ago
@Sasha Yes, OCD cannot be reasoned with; however, it can be helpful to know the truth so that one can better recognize what is an obsession so that it can be fought.
Sasha
7d ago
@ARTnotOCD Yea I understand what you’re saying. But I also think that OCD minds love these reassurances. That someone may get sick from this but not from this. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the protocol is. No one is saying eat this raw piece of chicken. But we are saying eat the food that’s in fridge that may or may not be expired. It might or it might not make you sick. Eat this chicken that may or may not be fully cooked,. You might land in the hospital you might not. That’s life. But when we give people with ocd logic like this is unlikely to get you sick, it just acts as a reassurance. The ocd brain is already cautious. You don’t have to teach them what is safe or not. They have to work on being more unsafe than anything.
ARTnotOCD
7d ago
@Sasha Cookbooks don’t teach one with OCD to be more cautious; they just list what kills common pathogens for specific foods. Often we get sick from people sharing germs as opposed to improperly prepared food, but it is still good to know what temperature at which to cook certain meats. Doing that will not prevent someone from catching a stomach bug. Just having an initial knowledge base is not the same as reassurance. Yes, with Google, it can often turn into a rabbit hole of reassurance seeking, which is why I specifically suggested against it. Doctors in live sessions on this site have said it is ok to ask a question ONE TIME to know something; however, that is limited to one time so that it does not spiral. While all of us here are dealing with OCD in some capacity, and while OCD is both illogical and not to be reasoned with, even those with OCD have different minds and thought streams. For example, in general, a study showed that those with more creative minds respond better to setting watched earlier in order to not be late. For some people, OCD or not, this method works for those who are better able to “trick” themselves, whereas for others, they just know how far off they have set their watch and thus they automatically correct the time on their watch in their head. All of this is why I warned that one should only try this method if in the state of mind to be able to fight the spiral of reassurance seeking, and that even then, while just limited knowledge can help many, it may not be the best for all. This is also why I suggested the best thing to do would be to work with a therapist on ERP for emetophobia.
Sasha
7d ago
@ARTnotOCD I agree with most of everything you’re saying. I would just say giving information to combat ocd is not seal proof. But acceptance that we don’t have all the answers and accepting the risk is. That’s the point I want to make. Personally I know chicken is cooked at 165. I use a meat thermometer and I still second guess because of my ocd. I eat it anyway. I know that if it smells fine, it’s probably fine; and yet my ocd tries to tell me “but what if you’re wrong. What if you can’t sense it, but someone else can” . So that’s my point. It doesn’t matter the logic you give me, my ocd will win. But I do agree that everyone’s minds are different, and maybe this helps you. So I might be projecting, and apologize if I am.
ARTnotOCD
7d ago
@Sasha I apologize if I’m coming off as contrary. I truly enjoy discussion and debate because we can always learn more even if we don’t all ultimately agree. I have not been in a great mood today, and with forum text, that’s a recipe for adding unintentional shade to comments. Hope that’s not what’s been coming across; truly sorry if it has. I absolutely love this community, and when I’m struggling, all the more am I reminded of how greatful I am to be a part of this. Comfort and strength to all of us, no matter which ways we each fight our OCD beasts. 💜💪🏼
Sasha
7d ago
@ARTnotOCD I thought you were quite respectful actually. We just disagreed on a few small things, but ultimately we both are on the same page
ARTnotOCD
7d ago
@Sasha Thank you. That really means so much to me today. I feel so cranky internally that it’s quite helpful to hear that I’m not projecting that onto others, (or at least not onto others except for my husband...lol...having to drive him home so late last night and being exhausted together today, I’m sure he’s experienced my crankiness no matter how nice I may have tried to be to him. But, since our partners experience more of our darkness than anyone else, we make sure to share extra love.)
Sasha
7d ago
@ARTnotOCD Glad I could help alleviate even a little bit of suffering. Hope you feel better soon
Sasha
7d ago
I think something that might help you, is breaking down your ocd. You say you are worried about trace amounts of bacteria on the plate? But what about the food? It may have some. What about the air? This may have some as well. What about your utensils? What about your hands touching the table? Do you see the inconsistency? Your OCD is focused on one little thing., and yet “trace” amounts of anything can be anywhere and you can digest it. Why not instead of trying to be even more consistent. Just embrace how inconsistent you already are; and stop rinsing any of it. Why not make a rule. Unless this place is visibly dirty , or has just been used by someone you know, you will eat from it. Even if it’s uncomfortable. It would be a shame for you not to enjoy a proper meal. I mean that’s why we are on this earth right? Eat some good food and get on with it. Not starve ourselves and torture our short lives. You got this!
SummerKissesWinterTears
5d ago
Sasha, and ArtnotOCD, I appreciate both of your comments more than my OCD will allow me to articulate right now (been having a slow, paralyzing time over here with typing and reading), but I just want to say a bit thank you! I’ve come back to both of your comments continuously and have been gaining great insights from them! Also, you are both 2 of my favorite insightful commenters on this app, so I feel that much more thankful to hear your advice, thoughts! Thank you!
Sasha
5d ago
Aww what a thoughtful thing to say. I’m so glad we could help. Wishing you the best in your healing and recovery.
ARTnotOCD
5d ago
☺️ 💜