Contamination Triggered OCD and COVID-19
Accepting that things are a little out of control at the moment.
Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) must be hellish no matter what your trigger is. But living with contamination triggered OCD during a global pandemic must be some kind of living nightmare. There is no escaping it at the moment. Everywhere you turn there is talk of germs. Washing hands, sanitising surfaces and wiping down groceries are all things you did anyway. But now you’ve gone into full-on hyper-drive. And the threat that you perceived anyway has just suddenly become even more real. So how can you stop yourself spiralling out of control and letting the OCD take over your life even more?
Please Don’t Stop Taking Your Meds
So many people seem to think that because they’re okay, they can stop taking their pills. You might be doing okay because you’re taking your pills. You should never stop taking any kind of medication for mental health without advice from your doctor. The effects of going cold-turkey can be catastrophic, sometimes even fatal. And don’t let ANYONE pill shame you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing medication to help you get through the day. You have a highly complex, poorly understood condition. One which has a massive impact on your day-to-day life. If taking a couple of pills can help manage it, where’s the harm? Stay Out Of The Comments Section
If you see a post about germs or COVID-19, don’t read the comments. The comments are full of social media scientists who will tell you a load of utter bullshit that they know nothing about. You need to stick to reputable news sources and trusted medical websites. I always recommend the NHS website. Everything on their website is written or fact-checked by medical professionals.
Take Care Of Your Skin
If washing your hands/yourself is part of your rituals, then be sure to moisturise. Everyone’s hands are scaly and cracked, but I’m guessing yours are pretty extreme. A decent moisturiser or hand cream can really help balance the effects of constant washing. Consider a treatment for your hands now and then. Put a healthy layer of petroleum jelly on them and some rubber gloves. Leave it on for as long as you can. Do this every other day and you’ll see a big difference in your skin.Keep Yourself Busy
Boredom can be a very dangerous thing. Keep your mind and body active by going for a walk or taking an online course. Just something that means you’re not sitting around doing nothing. Reading a book or binge watching a show is a great way to keep your brain busy.
OCD can be an isolating illness. There is support available online. Places like OCD-UK and OCD Action are full of people who want to help. Reach out to them and you will find how supportive and friendly they can be.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Like any health problem, physical or mental. Sometimes it will get the better of you. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you failed. Not at all. It just means that the OCD took over today. But tomorrow you can try to regroup and kick its ass. But if you feel like the OCD is winning more than you are, it’s time to seek professional help. Accept What’s Happening
You can’t hide from the pandemic. Trying to do so would be worse for your mental health than confronting it. I understand the urge to try to hide from the world, but you can’t. This will lead to even more mental health problems, and when you are finally forced to go out, your OCD could be much worse. I hate the phrase, but you need to find a personal “new normal.” You need (with or without help) to figure out how you can live with OCD during these times. New routines, new ways of working are all required to help you live as “normally” as you can.