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Author Topic: Contamination fears about my house  (Read 475 times)

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Offline mama00

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Contamination fears about my house
« on: March 22, 2014, 09:27:49 PM »
Does anybody else have major contamination fears about their house?  I am really struggling.   
I have OCD which typically manifests in Health anxiety.   
I do not have the typical wash hands issue with contamination.  Although I do wash my hands more than the average joe I am sure.   
Mine tends to be more about chemicals in the house that somehow will lead to hurt my family (my kids specially) down the road.

For example we moved to a gorgeous beautiful home a few months ago.   At first the new carpet that the previous owners installed to sell smelled a bit.  I was TERRIFIED about the slight carpet smell.  I wasted a lot of time fretting about it.  Eventually it subsidded although I can still smell carpet but not in a fumey kind of way.  I literally can smell everything.  Its horrible.   Anyway after the carpet issue my next fear was insulation.   I became obsessed that insulation was getting into the house through my son's room that has an attic access.  The previous owners had built a desk into the attic and was not sealed properly so some air from the attic was getting in.  I pretty much treated that as an exposure to asbestos although I know it is not the same.  There was never loose insulation blowing in or anything like that.  I just imagined particles contaminating the space.  If we move something into the attic and walking out a tiny portion of insulation comes in contact with the carpet I freak out.  SIGH this is my new fear.  Insulation.  Pink regular everybody has it insulation.   This was not a fear in my old house although I did not like it I did not feel it contaminated the space.   

Anyway now that renovation sheet rock etc is done and over - we painted.  The painters messed up the paint and applied coats too fast and it is one week later and the no voc paint still reeks like it was freshly painted.  We have used this same paint before and it did not do that at all.  So we have the room open fans blowing and we had to move my sons room temporarly to the guest bedroom.  So really no hard done his stuff was already packed since we had to put that wall in his room.

Anyway when I vacuum I feel that the vacumm is contaminated by insulation, drywall dust, dust in general.  I worry about crazy things like if the previous owners had dropped mercury thermometers, mercury lightbulbs.  Crazy things like that.  Mind you there was only ONE lamp with a mercury containing lamp.  Although there are several tubes. 

Anyway I AM Spinning out of control and can't enjoy my new house because I live in fear that the paint will never dry.  That the tiny bits of insulation that might have been tracked coming in and out of the attic might hurt the kids and conatminate the air.   

I FEEL LIKE A TERRIBLE mother.  I know nothing of othis makes sense.   My husband says the paint is an Inconvinience.  I have visions of the smell never leaving, having to tear more sheetrock and exposing insulation.   OMG i feel like I am going crazy. 

I am NOT on medication for depression.  I do take klonopin as needed.  I usually don't need it but I am spinning downhill and I have been taking .5 mg a day some days.  Not everyday.  I feel better when my hubby is around but when he is at work I struggle so much.  I get myself worked up googling about peoples paint that never dried and they had to rip out the walls.  And about insulation being the new asbestos. 

I have a lot of trauma in my past with my parents and a son passing and I know where all this is coming from.  I just want to be NORMAL. 

I did make an appointment with my therapist and at this point I might need to see my pshychiatrist although I am terrified on going in antidepressants.  They scare me as I had a bad reaction to one once :(   I have only been on zoloft post partum for 6 months which is when my whole issue started.  I tried after that one time and it made me crazy anxious it was horrible. 

UGH what a novel.  Anyway can anybody relate to any of this?   To feeling this way?
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Contamination fears about my house
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2014, 06:35:54 AM »
My reply won't be as long as your post. Just to say that anything new is going to smell. New carpet, new floors, new doors. They will all smell to begin with because they are fresh materials. You even buy new curtains and they will smell too to begin with. The average person would consider this smell as freshness. It would tell them that everything is new. You are taking the smells to mean something else. When shops sell such goods they like them to have a fresh aroma off them. I am sure the threat them with something to give off this aroma. But just give it time and that aroma will vanish and things will blend in with the new house. Paint is something I hate. Can take a while to get rid of the smell of a freshly painted house. Some like it, some don't. But it is harmless. With your OCD you are looking for smells. I am sure even if they were not there you would find something that didn't smell as you thought it should. It is something you fixated on. With any luck your therapist can help you sort the issues out. But you are in no harm at all. Just smells that come with a new house and new items in that house.
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Offline mama00

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Re: Contamination fears about my house
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 01:49:22 PM »
Thank you.  It is an exhausting cycle.  My mind can't think of anything else. I have started to read a book on OCD and mindfulness and hoping that will help. Also I am stoping the constant checking online for people with similar issues and I am making myself stop going to the room to smell.

The paint did indeed have issues going up most likely due to moisture.  Like I said we have painted the same exact paint before without issues.  My husband agrees but does not see it as a crisis situation but an inconvenience that will eventually be resolved by either ventilation and time or some other measure like priming over it to contain fumes.  In my mind the fact that it is not resolved now and I don't know when it will be resolved I can't handle.  I guess that is the inability to handle uncertainty.  I also jump to what ifs - what if it never stops smelling - what if it harms the kids (although they are in different rooms)   What if we need to rip off walls to get rid of it - then thet would involve exposing insulation (another fear). 

However I know I am blowing it off out of proportion.  I know the other issues I have about smell are also overblown as is the fear of insulation.  Bizarre new fear of mine.  In general building renovations trigger me big time.

I really hate the assault of fear that OCD brings to my life.
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Offline Walnut

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Re: Contamination fears about my house
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 11:07:10 PM »
i definitely understand where you are coming from. first of all id like to address the new paint issue. that smell will not hurt you i can assure you of this. i dont paint houses as a profession anymore but i am a 4th generation house painter. my great great grandfather was a painter and all of his sons my grandpa and all 5 of my grandfathers brothers, some of their  children and then my dad and his brother and  me and my brothers. most of my great uncles are alive and in their 70s and 80s and they painted when there was lead in the paint, lots of voc's and oil paints. we have all been exposed to these paints fumes and skin contact all our lives and noone in our family has had any illness due to it. anyone of the family painters who is deceased now never passed away from anything related to painting.

as for the insulation my dad left painting to work for owens corning who actually makes the pink insulation. he worked in that factory for 13 years. he is 70 now and he used to come home covered in fiberglass. we would get it in our feet sometimes where it fell off of his clothing. my dad has no health issues related to exposure to insulation from 13 years and 40 hours a week exposure.

i also had a fear of mercury, when i was about 10 me and a friend were playing around this old closed down store and we busted several mercury lamps. im 33 and dont have any issues related to mercury. we are actually exposed to mercury all the time. its in dental filings, fish etc etc. the body can filter out mercury. i know mercury is dangerous but it would take high levels of mercury to cause any real damage to a healthy individual. i remember a couple of years ago i dropped a light bulb in the house and my ocd went haywire over it.
like you it also took me some time to get used to new carpet smell in my bedroom.
i bought and remodeled my grandfathers house 8 years ago and it had lead paint on certains exterior parts, it has asbestos siding (now covered with vinyl siding for looks) and it was a nightmare for me to remodel this place. i tore all the sheetrock out and redone it only because i was moving doorways and walls and new wiring and insulation. i sincerely feel your misery.
just try to keep in mind that if any of these smells or release of any voc that a new item has if it were dangerous enough to cause any real harm to us the government would not allow them to sell it.  i share alot of the same fears as you.
from the studying ive done on ocd you have to find a trigger like the fear of touching a public doorknob for example. you have to expose yourself to it. touch the doorknob, resist the urge to wash or sanitize, write it down in a journal, do it again and again until your brain learns from proof you have in your journal that nothing bad happened. that you didnt catch some horrible disease from germs etc etc. 
a good book to read if you havent already is "brainlock" it helped me alot. im currently having a relapse that im trying to battle back out of.
im sure in time you will forget all about all this and start to enjoy your new home. it took me awhile to start to enjoy mine.

hope you feel better soon!
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I am horrible about forgetting which threads I have replied to. If you dont get a reply back from me feel free to message me.

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Offline mama00

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Re: Contamination fears about my house
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2014, 02:37:32 PM »
Wow I am so glad someone understands. Thanks for your reply.   Chemicals are my triggers.  Smells too - especially chemical smells.  I don't have terrible compulsions other than investigate online (NEVER A GOOD IDEA).  I also tend to ask for reassurance.  That I know is a compulsion too.  I don't have many physical compulsions actually not really any physical ones other than perhaps going to check into whatever makes me feel bad (smelling) - gah this makes me sound crazy.   
Anyway physical compulsions or not I get very stuck on the obsession and it robs me of a happy life.   I wake up thinking about it and go to sleep thinking about it.  I am reading some books on OCD and I will add your recommendation to my list.   

I dropped a mercury thermometer when I was pregnant with my son who is now 10 and I FREAKED out so bad I could not sleep for a week.  Had terrible anxiety.  Of course he is perfectly fine with zero issues and a crazy good memory.  Straight A bright kid.   The thought of the mercury in my house bothered me for years but went down in severity of course.   In fact when I bought this house they had ONE single mercury bulb in the whole house and I worked myself up that maybe they broke it on their way out when they packed to move out.  Yeah.  Also was worried maybe they dropped some of the several fluorescent tubes that are in the house.  Geez.  Nobdody worries about things like that other than people like us.

Like you I know this is a relapse and something that will pass.  I was so upset that this paint issue happened to me but I am trying to take it as a lesson in combating my OCD and a blessing in disguise.   It does still smell, a month later  :traurig001:,  although less so.  We might end up priming and repainting.  But I know even when the smell is gone I will have to deal with the faulty thoughts of the room being forever contaminated.   

I hope you are able to break the cycle of anxiety soon.  Thanks so much for your kind reply!


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Offline Walnut

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Re: Contamination fears about my house
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2014, 08:38:07 PM »
Smells and chemicals are a trigger for me also. Im a tall guy and shirts are really hard to find that fit well. I ordered the fruit of the loom tee shirts from walmart online a few weeks ago size large tall. I was so excited to finally find some shirts at a reasonable price that were long enough. When I pulled them out of the package they had a smell to them. I made myself wear one to prove there was no harm in wearing it. My mind beat the brakes off of me. I ended up having to wash each shirt.  Today I was going to a birthday party and I wore the white one. I have already worn it once since I washed it. My OCD locked on the idea that the shirt was some how contaminated. Thought after thought. I had to call my wife who hadnt left the house yet and ask her to bring me shirt that I know wouldnt cause this. I fought like hell and made myself not change shirts. OCD will do anything to rob you off your happiness and peace of mind.
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I am horrible about forgetting which threads I have replied to. If you dont get a reply back from me feel free to message me.

My screen name used to be "Nutty" Ive been a member since 2008. I forgot what email I used back then so I cant login to my old name.

Offline mama00

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Re: Contamination fears about my house
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 02:54:29 PM »
Walnut - my anxiety is ALWAYS always worse in the spring too for some reason.   Good for you for making the shirt stay. 
My ac came on this weekend and it smelled musty.  I worked myself up over mold.  Then I called several friends and they all said theirs did that too for a few days. 
So now I am making myself take a week of this smell before I call the tech for the season checkup.  It is a good thing to live with our unconfortable fears.   
I also bought and started reading brain lock.  Great book thanks for the recommendation.
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