What causes OCD? What causes a person to become a germophobe? Is it the fear of contracting an illness? Some believe it’s solely a chemical imbalance, while some believe that there are other factors at work. We can all agree that it is not a simple problem. I like to pretend that it is, though, and give it a simple answer. Science and psychology aside, the reason I am a germophobe is that I hate germs, and I love to be clean.
There is a common misconception that the obsession consuming germophobes is a desire to avoid being sick. Recently, my teenage nephew made a comment that backs up my assumption that this is the case. When I refused to touch a paper that had fallen on the floor, he remarked that I wasn’t going to get sick by doing it. I replied that I realized that to be the case, that getting sick was not the issue. Who does want to be sick? But for most of us that is not the driving force behind our OCD. Most of us are keenly aware of cross-contamination, agonizingly so. It’s the love of cleanliness that moves us into action one day and immobilizes us the next.
I became curious as to how much this love of cleanliness is affecting my pocketbook. To get an idea, I decided to keep a tally of my OCD expenses for a month. I spent twenty-eight dollars on three types of gloves: polyurethane, nitrile, and vinyl. Thirty-three dollars went to rubbing alcohol, my main disinfectant. The expenditure for napkins was $11. Napkins are used for wiping and for moving or opening things. I probably should have included the price for some paper towels too, but I left those out. I jotted down $7 for facial tissues, although I know I spent far more than that, but some are for normal use, so I suppose it evens out. I purchased nineteen packages of wet wipes at one dollar a piece. They are another critical supply for wiping and sanitizing. One of my most important items – the plastic sandwich baggie – ran up a total of twenty-four dollars. Then there were some incidentals. I dropped the compact mirror I carry in my purse. To replace it set me back another $5. I also dropped a bar of soap in the shower. The partial bar added one dollar to my total. This is a new month, so I am not including this in the total, but just this week I dropped two more bars of soap, resulting in a three dollar loss.
There could have been other things that I forgot to include on my list, but my estimate is that my OCD cost me $128 for the month. That’s more than a lot of the bills I have to pay! I must really love being clean! It’s a good thing that a fear of germs is my only manifestation of OCD. If I were a hoarder, I would be in real trouble.