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A Pandemic and OCD

***TRIGGER WARNING – Contamination OCD***

If you have OCD, right now COVID is your best friend and your worst friend.

The ‘good’ side for your OCD is that people are finally realising the benefits of good hygiene and social distancing. Those who experience contamination OCD will be relieved that they don’t have to look weird in a mask and with gloves and applying copious amount of sanitiser. In some cases, and in some places, the world is cleaner.

I think the ‘bad’ side of the OCD must be taking a terrible toll on some of us right now. It is our worst fear realised – a rampant, contagious disease that would scare the average Joe or Joelene into hiding. This is the disease we always imagined would never happen and it is the disease we have little ultimate control over. People do get sick, sadly some die.
Having had Contamination OCD myself, even now to a much lesser degree, saw me sanitise my delivered groceries and literally not leave the house for three and a half months.

I could see that I was quickly becoming a prisoner and losing the last of my freedoms. I decided to feel the horror and the terror and I began to accept it – little by little. Like many others, I got the best anti-microbial sanitiser there is, had a mask at the ready and practiced very small visits. At first I would go somewhere in nature (I think the beach was first). I touched nothing, I just walked. Little by little, I realised that my worst fears had come true, there was a global pandemic, and I could either choose to let that rule me or, as ERP recommends, agree that it is a catastrophic situation and sit with the discomfort.

I am happy to report that I can go most places now. Not only that but I have been sick twice with other illnesses so I feel I have been through the alarm of ‘what if?’.

It must be said that we here in New Zealand had a short spike of extended community transmission and took very serious measures to ensure the wellbeing of our people. But I think some of this can be applied to whoever you are, wherever you are.

My deepest empathy lies with those of you who are or have been affected by this horrible disease.

May we find the comfort of camaraderie in these extremely difficult times. And may those of us with OCD cut ourselves some slack for facing something we hoped would never happen.

Aroha mai.

P.S. Si vous voulez une explication en francais, dites-moi s’il vous plait.