Blake comes rushing into the kitchen. I’m sitting at the kitchen counter directly opposite the sink, so I have a front row seat for the action. I quietly watch. The faucet comes on. The water comes pouring out. Pump, pump, pump goes the soap. A quick rub of the hands, then Blake picks up a cup on the side of the sink. He fills it with water.
Pour, pour, pour. The water runs over Blake’s first hand.
Pour, pour, pour. It runs over the second.
I hear him whispering a prayer. Then he goes to towel dry his hands.
Wait. That must not have been quite right.
Blake rushes back to the sink. Pump, pump, pump then pour, pour, pour. The prayer is whispered again.
This time he doesn’t even move to dry his hands. He begins again. The water is pouring out of the faucet – and we are in a serious drought.
Pump, pump, pump.
“Blake! Enough! This is way more than a simple hand washing.”
He stops. It’s like he’s just been woken from a daydream and suddenly realizes what he’s doing.
“You’re right,” he says. Then he goes on to some other activity – far away from the sink. I know he’ll be back.
Blake’s first OCD symptom that I actually recognized as OCD back when he was seven was hand washing. He’s been through exposure and response prevention therapy for this a couple of times. He’s eliminated it both times, but it seems to be the symptom that just keeps cycling back in.
With Blake refusing to fight his OCD, his hands are in jeopardy. So is my soap dispenser. It is teetering on its last hold on life. The incessant pumping is more than it can take. The water puddles on the kitchen counter. This is one old “friend” I’d like to send packing. I hope Blake sees through him and sends him on his way soon.