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Slight rant and question about my latest contamination fear

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Slight rant and question about my latest contamination fear

Postby playman123 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:37 am

*Note excuse me if my this post seems slightly disjointed or stream of consciousness I spilled out my OCD situation and my thoughts around it.

My newest and worst obsession revolves around asbestos specifically around pipes that may contain it around them. I am genuinely unsure if I should be worried about this certain situation or if it is all in my head. It all started when I started working at a grocery store right next to my grandparents house. I am living here for college and worked there for around 5 months before I quit due to me leaving for the summer. While working there I noticed two old looking torn up pipes right above the door to the trash compactor where we would throw waste away. Pretty much every time the door to the trash would open it would hit these pipes and they would shake and get the “abestos” everywhere.

Over time this affected me more and more and I went from having to wash my hands from coming from work to taking a shower every time I came back. I would constantly be looking up info about asbestos pipes and trying to see if the ones at work looked like ones I saw in the internet. In fact I am still completely unsure if those pipes have asbestos in them, actually one of them I could see inside and I couldn’t really see the type of corrugated insulation the internet says is a marker for asbestos insulated pipes but that is not good enough for me to let go of the obsession. This obsession got to me pretty bad and I have not been back inside of that store since my last day because pretty much everything there got contaminated in my mind because of the shaking of the pipes over products and this one time someone picked up a mop in the air and got it pretty close to the pipes. I’m not sure if it touched the pipes but for OCD that is good enough, that mop went on to touch the floors all around the store and various products that I then avoided. I pretty much suffered every single day due to the fear of being contaminated by my work clothes in my own house.

I gave in and finally went to therapy right around the time I was quitting. It helped me a bit and I started the erp process. I touched some things that came from the store that would have been “contaminated” beforehand by the asbestos. I had access to these because my grandparents go in that store and shop there, which unfortunately means I avoided their clothes and shoes as well. While I was successful in touching certain products from the store that my grandparents bought I couldn’t bear to touch my work clothes that I avoided in disgust for so long and I threw them away. I then did this whole thing where I washed many of my items and clothes in order to feel clean finally from the contamination. Right now I am in a weird state of half giving in the obsessions and half resisting them. I am completely aware that in reality my obsession about this is crazy as people don’t think about asbestos in their everyday lives and plus I could see my coworkers get close to these pipes and things stored under them and seemingly not even worry about them. Not to mention there are probably hundreds of stores with pipes in worse condition or other things that may contain asbestos in them that no one cares about.

The thing that bothers me so much and disgusts me is the fact that theoretically I wouldn’t really do ERP with these pipes and touch them because of the chance, even small that they due have asbestos liner around them or whatever. It’s just not the same as being scared of germs and touching a doorknob or something. Everyone touches door knobs or even toilets sometimes. But who goes around touching cruddy torn up old pipes?

Right now I am at home away from my grandparents house before I left I was in a state where pretty much everything in the house was clean from contamination because I had accepted contact my grandparents would get from the store, but I fiercely avoided things from store that were around when I would go outside like shopping carts, flyers, and even my old coworkers who I would see around sometimes. I justified this with the thought that each additional asbestos fiber is another miniscule chance of getting sick from asbestos and that it would be nearly impossible to avoid contamination my grandparents brought in from the store but I could avoid things in public like shopping carts from there or flyers.

To be completely honest a part of me dreads returning to my grandparents because my OCD would want to avoid all those things again, and I have the thought of if there was asbestos people would spread it on the busses that run around my area, other stores, and even my grandparents neighbourhood itself. Now I know this is all my OCD going crazy because rationally all the people that interact with that grocery store and places where the asbestos theoretically spread are going to be completely fine. I know that the only people that really die from asbestos are people that work with it or their loved ones in industrial environments. I know that most likely the hundreds of people that have been in that grocery store or worked their will most likely not die from any type of asbestos exposure but that small what if won’t let me be in peace.

What if those pipes have asbestos in them? That question has been a thorn in my side for to long, luckily I have done pretty well in my first year of college even throughout my struggles. My OCD doesn’t want me to return there because I went there with my work shoes before the pipe fear took ahold of me and they may have touched certain things around campus that I can’t clean like random cables and stuff. Soon enough I will return to my grandparents and I will be around objects, or things that may have been contaminated by “asbestos” from that store. Deep down I know my fear is ridiculous and that if I want to be like a normal person I have to accept the what if and touch the things I fear.

One day I want to move to New York City and I’m positive there are some sketchy looking pipes in some stores there or some parking garage. I have to be able to notice these pipes or other things that may contain asbestos and continue on with my day even if I feel I have been contaminated by them.

If you have made it this far in my ramblings I guess my question is has anyone had a similar contamination fear that you couldn't let go? Does anyone out there have any advice for me? I know it seems like I answered my own questions with the usual “just accept the what if and contamination” but I would still love to hear what anyone has to say.

Thank you.

Short version: My latest contamination fear is the potential of asbestos being in old looking pipes from my workplace, despite therapy I just can’t get over the fear completely. Any advice?
playman123
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