|Not a 90-year-old's hands. Mine.|
Not everyone with OCD is afraid of germs or contamination and washes their hands too much... but some of us do. Unfortunately, lately I myself have fallen into the hand washing trap more.
This is especially annoying because one of my early symptoms of OCD was excessive hand washing. I still remember this time I was watching SpongeBob and kept having to get up and wash my hands because I touched the floor. It happened enough during one episode that it was an "aha moment" making me realize I had a problem.
Hand washing issues can take different forms. Even after I stopped washing my hands too often, I struggled more with washing them too long when I got started. How much soap is enough? How long is enough? With my OCD, if I go by what feels "right," I am often over-washing.
I have actually been doing relatively well for a long time with it, but now living in a new house with more cleaning responsibilities has somewhat reignited my hand washing and excessive cleaning proclivities.
When I clean dishes, I always want to wash my hands before and after... Having new puppies means more messes and more hand washing... I also probably wash my hands too often during the process of cooking because I worry about contamination (My mom's fear of raw chicken has become well instilled in me after many years).
My issues make me dread situations where I know I will have to wash my hands. I'm very fortunate that I am still pretty under control, but I hate having to worry about how much soap it will take or how long it will take to feel clean. Notice the choice of words: it is not about being clean as much as the feeling of being clean. It becomes about cleaning until you know you won't feel anxious about it.
With the washing and the colder weather coming in, my hands look horrifying. They hurt and I hate looking at them, but they are also an important reminder that my work is not finished. Sometimes the OCD tendencies you feel are behind you crawl back. In some ways this is a tragedy, but getting down on yourself for slipping up doesn't help.
Wherever you find yourself, you just need to keep moving forward. The battles you fought before can be won again.
Oh, and moisturizer can help too!