Seemingly out of nowhere-the number 13 began to sicken me. I would avoid it at every opportunity. To me, I had assigned meaning to the #13, almost as if it were a tangible item.
On one occasion, the only flight available had a "13" in the assigned flight number. As I stepped onto the plane, I knew it would crash. It didn't.
I was thrilled to get a new car, until I realized the insurance policy number had a #13 in it. I was doomed in my new car. I picked up the phone and called the insurance company and pled with them to please assign a different policy number without #13 in the mix. The agent was very nice and said, "oh that must be a superstition." I said, I have OCD and do not like the number 13.
I knew I needed help. The compulsions were no longer soothing.
As I arrived at my residential program for OCD treatment, I was led to my room. As we passed room 103, I told the counselor, that there would be "issues" if I was assigned to the room. She smiled and led me to my room (not 103).
Shortly thereafter, my behavioral training began. I met with my behavioral therapist and was on the lookout for "13" in her office. They were everywhere-in the serial numbers of the computer-on the calendar-I was feeling unwell.
As part of my treatment, I had to write "13" thousands of times on paper, within about one hour's time. I kept saying that it wasn't helping. The treatment team and I realized that when I wrote "13" it almost looked exactly like a "B". Apparently, without realizing it, even the motion of writing "13" was sickening.
As the weeks moved forward, I spaced the "1" and the "3" to look like "13". I continued that therapy modality throughout my treatment.
I continued the 13 therapy even when I got back home. Gradually, I noticed that the 13 became less and less important to me. 13 is not tangible, and little by little, it became less important to me.
Yesterday, I refilled a prescription, and after many months of not "checking" the prescription number, I took a gander at the prescription number and it, indeed, had "13" in it. And that was it. I went on with my day.
I am finding that the residual benefits of my residential treatment continue with me everyday, in my own "tool box".
I have been a member of Hard Quirk for a while now, but it has been difficult for me to open up about what is really important about my continuing OCD recovery. At times, I lose my focus, but it really is cathartic to write this, and I hope that it gives the OCD community hope and commitment to enjoy life.