Stressed Depressed and badly dressed – NAVIGATING A PANDEMIC WITH OCD

From an early age my parents knew I was different. By the time I was ten my parents where told I was showing Obsessive compulsive tendencies and at 17 years old I was diagnosed with contamination OCD.

I don’t remember most of my early ocd years but I do remember the first time I knew it had become a problem. It all started in food tech. The constant hearing of “wash your hands” and “raw foods will make you ill” got ingrained in my brain and never quite left.

For the last few years with the help of medication I have been plodding along quite nicely until……..

THE PANDEMIC HIT

No amount of therapy. No amount of medication could have ever prepared me for how hard it would be to live day to day in a pandemic, something I never envisaged having to live through.

And now the very thing I’ve been trying to fight since I was little is now being told to me in EVERY single piece of messaging out there. My hands are red raw and my obsessive thoughts are back. The thoughts that I may infect someone I love are constant.

It took my YEARS to get out of changing and washing my clothes everytime I entered the house from outside and now it’s being recommended. I would antibac anything in sight and now it’s being recommended.

I’ve slept a lot, I’ve cried a lot, I’ve eat a lot and you know what that’s okay. Whatever I need to do to survive this period is what I shall be doing.

••••••••••••••••

If your like me and looking for some coping mechanisms that have worked for me here are a few:

1. Turn off the news and your phone – the constant news, updates and breaking news items can get overwhelming. Put the phone away and turn off the tv it will do your headspace the world of good.

2. Sit on your hands – now keep reading. I know this sounds odd BUT it was a therapy trick I was thought. Sitting on your hands will stop you from washing them and by the time the urge has gone you can let them go.

3. Write a fear ladder – this is good to acknowledge all the things that are causing you anxiety right now. The lower down numbers are less stress and the highest are the most stress. This allows you to understand as well as work on the lower items to help alleviate your triggers.

4. Create a worry period – this one has worked well for me. Set aside one 10 mins in the morning and one in the evening where you will concentrate your worries and anxieties. You can only think about these during these time periods.

5. Do some exercise or yoga – this gives you something to focus on and something to zen you out.

Please note that obviously I am not a doctor but these are some tips that help me in times of struggle.

Love and virtual hugs

Charlotte x

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