This week I've been getting stuck in fear of ruining my day, that doing something "wrong" will contaminate the rest of the day. I'm so used to making up rules for myself as to what constitutes a good day, and the OCD has me sensitized to any thoughts of "you did that wrong" or "you should've done something else," that before I even realize it, I'm reacting to the thought, wanting to eradicate it.
When I think those kinds of thoughts, I tend to take them at face value, as if they were true and credible, and with power to change the entire quality of a day. The closest metaphor is contamination. One of my feared consequences is that if I choose an imperfect action, it will spread to the rest of the day, and can't be cleaned up. My compulsion is to undo the thoughts of having messed up by either ruminating on them, analyzing them, or going into habitual websearching as a distraction. And then, ironically, OCD causes the very thing I fear--this compulsing ripples through the day and takes up my time.
I asked my husband yesterday if he thinks this way, and he said no. He might do something that ends up being a waste of time, but then he moves on to something else. He doesn't have fears that if he somehow goes awry, it will haunt him. For me, it's very basic stuff, for which there is no handbook or optimal schedule. When to take a shower. When to eat lunch. When to take a walk. When to run errands.
I have a big fear of wasting time. If I have errands to run, I get mired in figuring out how to do enough at a time so I don't "waste time." The fact is that sometimes we waste time. It's as if the OCD decrees that I live in a universe where I don't ever make a mistake or take up time doing the activities of daily living, and the insidious part is that for a long time I truly believed that I could find certainty as to what I should be doing in any given moment.
In the past, I also feared ruining a day by having intrusive scary and anxious thoughts. I've gotten better at recognizing them as part of my OCD, and not getting into a power struggle with them, and eroding all possibility of being present in my own life, but the thoughts of doing things perfectly slip in under the radar, and I do get into a battle with them. I see more exposures in my future, choosing things to do in a day, and doing them, and facing the fear. I'm edging towards this, in spite of my aversion.