With help from my Mum I was gradually able to get a little better, but it was hard. I've been through counseling, CBT, and hypnotherapy. While I probably appear very normal to other people, I am constantly tormented internally with worry and fear because of my phobia. Some days are better than others, and fortunately, I'm having more good days than bad days right now.
However, I dislike being around people who have been sick for fear of getting sick myself, and I wash my hands so frequently that I have developed dermatitis. I often worry about the cleanliness of utensils or surfaces in the kitchen, and therefore take longer to make food for fear of contamination. I rarely enjoy eating out as I worry about dirty restaurants. I will only put food in my mouth if I've been able to wash my hands first, and I hate when people touch my food, or even go near it.
I don't really talk about my anxiety. I don't tell work colleagues or bosses for fear of them seeing me as weak, or someone that may be unreliable. I often suffer in silence, making excuses to go to the bathroom where I can try to breathe calmly.
I wish I wasn't like this, that I could go back to being who I used to be; the one that didn't need to hide behind a mask. I don't think I will ever be completely free of the torment of this phobia, but I have learned to manage it. It's been tough, but I'm okay. It could be a lot worse.