I tried desperately to remain composed, to keep the smile plastered on my face and keep up the pretence that I was fine with what was unfolding in front of me. “Deep breaths” I told myself, “you can get through this”. My heart was racing and all my instincts were telling me to just put an end to the experiment. All my mind could see was chaos and disorder.
The doctor had told me the best way to treat my affliction was to immerse myself in exactly that which frightened me. Getting better would require putting myself into the centre of a lot of situations that would terrify me. So this was my first attempt at trying to conquer the compulsions which had been conquering me. I wanted to run away. Or at the very least arm myself with my usual coping mechanisms. But that cabinet was to stay locked for the moment. I needed to try a new approach.
I realised then that resistance was futile and decided that if you can’t beat them then joining them would be the best option in this case. So I gingerly stepped forward, dipped my finger in the bowl, wiped my chocolate smeared hand across my face for maximum effect and asked could I have a turn stirring in the rice crispies. As she looked up at me with a heart melting smile, giggled at my appearance and offering the wooden spoon, I knew she would be instrumental in my recovery. I had taken the first step and was working my way out of my obsessive compulsive cleaning hell and into a small child’s heaven.