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OCD - Fear of Contamination of NaOH

Hi guys,
I am new here. Just a bit of introduction. I have OCD and am afraid of chemical that are too acidic and too basic, ie, any chemicals that are with very low pH and very high pH. I have fear that these chemicals will damage my belongings.
I worked unfortunately in an automotive industry as a design engineer. One of my co-worker that sit just behind me work in designing clock spring. Long story short, he sometimes deals with blowing up unused airbags. Airbags contain sodium azide, which after being blown off might leave some sodium metal particles (most of them have reacted into harmless salt, but regardless there is some sodouiuum metal left unreacted). Long story short sodium metal by itself is very dangerous. When it reacts with water, such as moisture in air, it becomes NaOH (sodium hydroxide) - things you found in drain cleaner.
Two months ago he found something interesting on the ground as he was blowing off airbags. He then left it on my table. That was when I went into panic mode. Now I feel that on my work table, there is NaOH. To make case worse, when he put that interesting badge on my table, I threw it away and wiped the table. I wore a new sweater when wiping the table and when I looked at it, I saw some irregularity. Granted it is a woven sweater and new, it could be because that was how it was.  However my brain tricked me that it is from the NaOH that jumped onto me as I cleaned the table.

Long story short, I live in an apartment complex and they are going to come into my apartment and change the windows. I started putting everything into boxes and covered them with tarp.
Before I started cleaning up last Sunday, I took shower first. On the way out from the bathtub, while pulling the shower curtain. I had fear that I might touch a spot on shower curtain. This is the spot I usually pull when I jumped into shower after getting back from work. (I usually jump to shower once I am back from work, to clean up my body just in case there is NaOH on me).
So anyway last Sunday after shower, I had fear that I nmight touch that spot on shower curtain. But then I continue cleaning upt and puitting all my clothes into boxes etc while dripping wet. (I  am afraid to wipe my body after shower).
So now I have anxiety. I feel that all my belongings have NaOH on it since I might touch that spot of shower curtain and as I was cleaning, water dripped onto my clothes.

I think this is just a venting. But if you guys have any advice, sayings or even "You are crazy, your fear does not make sense" remarks, I will be glad to hear them.

4 Responses
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1699033 tn?1514113133
Sorry for the delay...I have been on vacation.  

I would never tell you you are crazy and the fact is that OCD thinking doesn't make sense.  If it did, it wouldn't be a disorder.  

I think the bottom line is you have a problem with your things getting ruined.  Water is neutral pH but it will ruin things as well.  Yes, acids and bases are worse.  I work with both of them in my job.  I also work with NaOH liquid (33% I believe).  I smelled it once...yeah...that kinda hurt!  

Right now you are just fixating on NaOH but if it wasn't that it would probably be something else.  How long has this been a problem?  Do you have access to a psychologist where you live?  
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Avatar universal

Thanks for the respond. I do have my therapist. I have been going for a year but it did not go anywhere. So we (me and him) decided that we have to find a new one. So currently, I am working on finding a new therapist.

I will be crazy if I work in your place! 33% NaOH solution?
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1699033 tn?1514113133
I work with all sorts of chemicals and I have been doing it for 25 years and I have no health-related issues. I work with NMP, ACN, DMF, TFA, Piperidine on a regular basis.   My own OCD does not extend to this area either other than a bout of HIV anxiety when I worked with it.  So of course I'm not going to say "get over it" to you.  I think that this is something that you can get past with the right help.  Did your therapist teach you cognitive behavioral therapy?  

Here is a good article about OCD

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Avatar universal
Thanks for the article.
I have read it. I am currently still looking for a new therapist and a new job.
I think once I get a new job I will be more in ease.
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