COVID-19 is the virus that has brought the whole world to a stand-still. You simply can’t turn on ths TV, look on social media or listen to the radio without hearing about it.
If you have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) the world can feel even darker and scarier than normal, as things are beyond your control.
What is OCD?
(Source – NHS official website)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease.
A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to do to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.
OCD can present itself in many forms, from the compulsions of home safety (ie; locking and relocking doors several times) family safety (such as checking your child several times a night) to complusive cleaning. These compulsions are logical in the sufferers mind, and repetive behaviours to others seem excessive, however to the sufferer these patterns are the mental steps to safety.
I am a sufferer of compulsive cleaning and checking on my 8 month old child.
I was diagnosed with OCD 5 years ago, I recieved medicinal treatment, however after having my baby I was re-assesed and began to recieve new tablets and cognitive behavioural therapy (a program designed to break the cycle and retrain my brain to think logically and act differently).
With the pandemic being declared, me and millions of OCD sufferers globally have found this as a really tough mental struggle. The feeling of not having a clean world or a clean safe space obsessively control our day to day lives. The feeling of everything safe being tainted, not being able to get vital supplies from stores and every piece of normal being thrown into combustion is a struggle at all times.
After speaking to my GP (family doctor) he gave me some really great advice and some food for thought to help me through this time. So I’ve decided to share with our readers the tips and guidance he gave me, to try and bring a little clarity to anyone struggling during this time.
(Please note, this medical advice given to me, so it may not assist everyone).
1) Keep to your treatment plan.
When diagnosed with OCD or any other mental health condition your doctor would have set you out a plan, whether its tablets, therapies or recommending natural therapies. During this time it is vital that whatever your doctor said is best for you, you stick at. Throwing the towel in and deciding because you are still feeling a certain way on medication won’t help.
2) Understand the positives.
It may be hard to get a grasp on anything in the world right now, but look for tiny positives and educate yourself on how they can impact things. If your country is on lock-down it is a positive in the combatting of COVID-19. If the infection rate hasn’t is beginning to slow, that means the world is starting to heal.
3) Limit screen time.
Whilst feeling anxious about this situation, social media and tabloids are one of the worst things to help you feel at ease, so switch it off. Step away for a bit and focus.
Keep your houseworking and cleaning routines recorded. Work it out logically, instead of cleaning your letterbox 5 times a day for no reason, work out which time your postman comes, do it before and after. These steps won’t treat your OCD but your mind thinking clearly and rationally at the precautions you will take will help build the routine.
You can justify your fears, the world feels unsafe and therefore you feel unsafe. Although if you currently recieve support or therapy from a service they may be closed, still picking up the phone or penning a message to a friend or family member to let out all your fears and anxieties can really help your mind unmuddle and calm.
Set yourself as many to do tasks away from your patterns as possible. Whether you want to listen to One Directions entire back catalogue, learn to knit or throw yourself into DIY projects, for every minute you are focused on them projects, your mind is away from your compulsions.
The top tip my doctor gave me is to educate myself on the virus, how its spread and what within my home needs my extra protection. As daft as it sounds, but knowing the virus can only live on surfaces for upto 3 days, meaning that areas within the home that do not have family members in (such as the spare bedroom) don’t need to be sanitized 5 times a day. Breaking things down logicially can help you feel safer.
8) Stay inside.
And stay safe.
If you have any more tips on how to survive this lockdown whilst having OCD or any other mental health conditions, we’d love to hear them! Tweet us @Fuzzable