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Mysophobia- Fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs

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  • Mysophobia- Fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs

    Anyone has this condition ?

    I know most girls are very hygienic. But I think I am going overboard. Here are some examples:

    1. I find that the floor is very dirty, even in shopping malls. For example, if someone dropped my credit card, I will use Dettol to disinfect it.

    2. When in public toilets, I will not touch anything with my bare hands, I will use tissue paper to turn on the tap and hold the door knobs.

    3. I wash all my clothes with Dettol laundry sanitiser.

    4. I wash my hands with Dettol anti-bacterial handwash, about 10 - 20 times a day. I bathe with Dettol shower gel.

    5. When I travel, I always bring my own slippers and towels.

    6. If someone accidentally stepped on my shoes, I will throw it away and buy a new pair.

    Is my condition very bad ? I wonder if I need to go for any treatments.

  • #2
    eh, i thk its abit too much, esp e credit card, shoes & hand washing e.g., how long do u have this condition?


    • #3
      i washes my feet and hands when i step into a home, even friend's or relatives
      i insist my DH removes his socks immediately after reaching home cos they are dirty and will dirty the floor if he walks around in them.
      i bring my own soap & wet / dry tissue when i go jb
      i use a tissue to turn the knobs in jb or dirty singapore toilet
      i washes my arms with soap & wipe myself with wet tissue after lunch at a foodcourt, incl hair and clothes, legs
      i avoid shaking people's hands because of the terrible hygenie some people have in the toilet
      i avoid food given to me using other people's bare hands, ie titbits

      and i thought i am terrible .. but girl, using dettol everywhere isnt exactly healthy? the creditcard and shoes thingy sounds abit err .. too much??


      • #4
        I think the handwashing part and other people stepping on your shoes is abit too much.
        I have ever read an article of an obsession with people overwashing their hands and also washing coin change when they receive it.

        I think you would research the condition and see if there are any treatment or counselling?


        • #5
          Hey girl, don't worry you're not alone. Your situation may or may not be characterised as a phobia.
          Anyway, I have some basic knowledge about phobias (I once had a phobia) and I was wondering, do you feel extremely anxious/afraid when you imagine holding on to something that's full of germs? What's the level of discomfort when you imagine this scenario?

          Another thing is, are you troubled by your current situation and does it interfere with your daily life? Note that the important thing is how you yourself feel about it and not someone else.
          If you're fine with it then it's not such a big issue. But if you do feel distressed and would like to reduce the level of "hygienic behaviour", then perhaps you could try to talk to a counsellor and he/she will give you some friendly suggestions as to how to go about doing it. Don't worry too much because there're other people facing this too
          Last edited by grace; 30-01-2006, 08:13 PM.


          • #6
            I agree with Grace. To people who do not practice strict hygiene similar to you (like myself), it will seem strange to them. But if your behaviour is not causing you any unhappiness or trouble, I guess it's perfectly fine, the way you are. Most important thing is that you are feeling comfortable.

            ETA: i'm too lazy to go anywhere near a bottle of Dettol and start cleaning. But I don't really fancy sharing food, taking food items from peoples' bare hands, touching anything in public toilets.


            • #7
              Hi se7enseas,
              I was "normal" when I was a child. I was "brainwashed" by my mother's constant nagging about cleanliness, slowly as I grew older, I got worst than her. Now my 2 year old girl is influenced by me as well. She knows how to wash her hands as throughly as I do using Dettol handsoap.

              kye, stilafaux,
              It's like one part of me is telling me that this is too much, the other part of me wants me to do it !

              grace, tien,
              I am not extremely afraid, but I feel very uncomfortable and upset about germs. I just need to do something to disinfect it or get rid of it before I can feel OK. It is not really interfering with my daily life, well I consider it something that must be done, but I am getting pretty tired of it. Not sure what kind of counsellor is available ?


              • #8
                tamarind, I understand how you feel about your mom's constant nagginess. When I was younger I did not really bother much about upteen cleanliness but I stayed with an aunt for some time so she is the super clean type too. Thus brainwashing happens. Now I start to do housework and also clean up most of the time. Now I do more housework than my mother does!


                • #9
                  i used to be like you, and the problem go so bad that when i went out i couldn't bring myself to touch door handles to open doors, especially if its in those places which 'look' dirty, i couldn't buy the display copy of clothes and would insist on buying those which are still wrapped in plastic, choosing not to buy the first bottle on display but to get the ones behind cos less people have touched it, washing notes which i dropped on the floor etc

                  i can't say that i'm completely 'cured' of such tendencies but at least i am able to go out without worrying of such things, when it got so bad that it interferred with my quality of life i went to see a counsellor/psychologist

                  all along i believed that i suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder (ocd) with a fear of contamination and germs and i was diagnosed with a mild form of ocd

                  i' m not saying that you also suffer from ocd but from what you say it sounds like you have similar symptons

                  i agree with what grace said, that if depends on how you feel when you hold something you consider to have 'germs', and the level of discomfort (on a scale of 1 to 10) you feel...for myself it had to do with touching the floor

                  anyway i went to see a counsellor because, like you i grew tired of living my life like this...i went to a polyclinic and got a referral cos private is more expensive, so thats something you might want to consider


                  • #10
                    um, im quite worried when you said that your little girl is influenced by you. would you want your little girl growing up a hygiene maniac too? i am not criticising you in any manner, dont get me wrong. it is just that research has proven that such people tend to be more jumpy and neurotic - in any case it is unhealthy behavior.


                    • #11
                      Nah don't worry my dear, you're not a hygiene maniac. According to what you've said and my basic knowledge (I'm a psychology student), it's not that bad.

                      Usually the psychologist or counsellor would ask you to rate your level of discomfort on a scale as well as find out more about how irrational you think your thoughts/behaviour are, and also how much the thoughts/behaviour are interfering with your daily life.

                      Actually to ease your mind and answer your nagging queries once and for all, you can just google search for a counselling centre near your place and pop by. Counsellors are usually equipped with knowledge regarding phobias and would know what to do.
                      Don't worry they're nice people
                      Last edited by grace; 01-02-2006, 04:12 PM.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by laeticia521
                        i used to be like you, and the problem go so bad that when i went out i couldn't bring myself to touch door handles to open doors, especially if its in those places which 'look' dirty, i couldn't buy the display copy of clothes and would insist on buying those which are still wrapped in plastic, choosing not to buy the first bottle on display but to get the ones behind cos less people have touched it, washing notes which i dropped on the floor etc
                        I do the exact same things too ! Except that I don't wash notes, if it dropped on the floor I will purposely buy something to get rid of it. But I felt sick even having to hold it for another second, so I will wrap it in tissue paper.
                        Thanks so much for sharing with me !

                        We really cannot under estimate the "power of influence" that our mothers have over us !

                        I do try consciously not to affect my girl too much, but may be "subconsciously" I could not help it.

                        Thanks ! I feel better reading what you wrote. If it gets worst I will go and see someone.
                        Last edited by tamarind; 01-02-2006, 08:55 AM.


                        • #13
                          No problem, we all have our worries

                          One thing that you could try to do is to face the "obsessive thoughts" of being contaminated by actually exposing yourself to it.
                          For instance, turn the door knob with your bare hands or deliberately drop something on the floor and try REALLY HARD not to disinfect with dettol after that. It will definitely feel uncomfortable and you will be very tempted to do something about it but try your very best not to disinfect no matter what.

                          Then in the evening, wait and see if the non-disinfecting behaviour actually resulted in any negative consequences. Try recording all this in a diary and repeat it everyday.
                          Go through your diary once in a while and over time, you might realise that actually coming into contact with germs isn't that harmful after all.

                          See if this helps?


                          • #14
                            i feel so unhygienic after reading this post!!!


                            • #15
                              The rational side of me knows that the germs are not harmful. I simply dislike having to come into contact with germs, and it has become a habit. It is a physcological barrier that needs to be overcome.