Finger lickin’ awful

I’ve published a couple of posts before about specific OCD compulsions I have experienced and this week, my friends… this week I’m gunna divulge a really dumb, embarrassing one that sometimes weirds people out. As an individual with a fair selection of strange compulsions, I have a trained eye for weirdedoutness (it’s all in the eyes). Ex-boyfriends have found it cute. Friends have found it endearing. I found it to become a normal part of daily life. 

It’s a pretty niche compulsion that I’ve spent countless years trying to stifle. I have to gently lick each fingertip, before rubbing my fingers together (it’s called the art of seduction – look it up). Each finger has to rub perfectly against the corresponding finger on the other hand (HIDE YOUR BONERS) and I have to complete the ritual until it feels 100% right. If I’m utterly honest, I’d really appreciate a lil WhatsApp ping from OCD herself quantifying the ‘right’ amount of any compulsion – at the moment it seems pretty random and often varies in terms of length. Sort of like an unexpected, painful period that stops you from living your best life and certainly gives you zero say as to when it will end.

Sooo yeah, there are a few triggers for this compulsion – mostly to do with contamination fears I think, although it happens when I’m just generally anxious aswell. Basically, I get ‘THE FEELING’ – either out of nowhere, or after touching objects that my brain has decided are riddled with pathogens e.g. magazines, books, door handles, metal railings, humans etcetera etceteraaaaa. 

Right. So. RIDDLE ME THIS… I’ve touched something ‘dirty’ with my hands, which causes me to have ‘THE FEELING’, so in order to try and banish ‘THE FEELING’… I LICK MY HANDS. THE HANDS THAT HAVE TOUCHED THE DIRT. I apologise sincerely for all the yelling but gatdamn OCD is exasperating. Not only is it entirely illogical, it’s absolutely f***ing barmy!

This then leads me to the question: Where on God’s sweet earth did this compulsion stem from? And you’ll never guess what folks – I reckon I’ve bloody cracked it. If there’s one thing I cannot abide, it’s the feeling of chalk on my skin. It just gets me. My skin is crawling just thinking about it right now and my whole body just twitched violently. I sometimes get intrusive thoughts of nails on a chalkboard, nails running down laminate doors (VOM) and also one of rubbing chalk between my hands. The thoughts have even stretched to the sound of cutlery scratching on plates ringing in my ears. These intrusive thoughts cause considerable mental anguish, nausea, and the urge to make sure my hands and nails don’t feel chalky, dry, or dirty. Somewhere down the line, the intrusive thoughts about chalk combined with the germ fears in order to form a beautiful matrimony of terror.

Back in the OCD days of yore (pre-diagnosis), I’d wash my hands repeatedly until the feelings of anxiety, nausea and chalkiness subsided. Running ice-cold water on them until they turned blue sometimes did the trick. If I wasn’t able to get to a sink, I’d use hand-sanitiser which I always always had with me. I’d apply, then re-apply, then re-apply sanitising gel even though I knew the build-up of stickiness would only worsen my anxiety and the dreaded FEELING.

Once diagnosed, my treatment began and I learned that repetitive and unnecessary hand-washing was only perpetuating the OCD, as was the constant and merciless application of hand-sanitiser. I also had to allow myself to recognise that ‘THE FEELING’ wasn’t actually a physical feeling at all – it was purely psychological. That’s been very hard to come to grips with at times and I’m still trying – because it scares me how powerful my brain can be. It has the ability to trick me and persuade me that I’m feeling something physical when I’m absolutely not.

During treatment, I was encouraged to slowly decrease the amount of times I was washing my hands, and to throw away the hand-san… a harrowing memory if ever there was one (I still linger shiftily in shops whilst gazing at those sterile little pots of purity… my eyes glinting hungrily… like a woman who has just happened upon a handsome past lover for the first time in years.) Stopping these compulsions didn’t stop the obsessions or the intrusive thoughts. So I adapted – like the versatile little bastard that I am. How else could I wet my fingers so that they didn’t feel chalky? (Keep your guesses PG please people…) You’re DAMN bloody right – I whack ’em in my gob. 

This compulsion spread across the entire spectrum of my OCD fears and worries, and so it ended up not only being triggered by ‘THE FEELING’, but also by general anxiety, by intrusive thoughts of any kind, by the touch of my ex-boyfriend… you get the idea. Soon, in order to feel generally at ease during my day, I’d have to repeatedly carry out the ol’ lick and rub (still PG…)

So, now I’ve realised that this ritual is yet another compulsion linked to OCD, I’ve had to try my darnedest to stop. ARE THERE ANY JOYS LEFT IN THIS CRUEL, HEARTLESS WORLD? HMM?? IS THIS WHAT PURGATORY FEELS LIKE? AN EXISTENCE FILLED WITH DRY FINGERS? WILL I SLOWLY TURN TO CHALK AND THEN CRUMBLE AS THE WORLD CONTINUES TO FUNCTION AROUND ME?

I still catch myself licking my fingers every so often, or loved-ones will catch me and gently remind me, but I’m trying my hardest to stop – ESPECIALLY without accidentally replacing it with another compulsion. In my head, I’ve had to try and pretend to be a regular-degular-shmegular human bean who doesn’t have OCD, and actually decide how often is normal in terms of moisturising my hands. Nobody wants actual dry hands, right? Like… that’s normal right? I carry hand cream around in my handbag, but I’ve found that over the last few weeks, I’ve been accidentally using it less and less, and this time it feels like I may have finally conquered this compulsion.

Maybe my new meds are starting to kick in after all…? *crosses fingers, toes, eyes, legs and elbows*

As always, thank-you for reading and ALSO have a bloody beautiful weekend!

One thought on “Finger lickin’ awful

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s