The national OCD charity, run by and for people with lived experience of OCD
Lucy - This really is worse case scenario
My OCD told me it would keep me safe and well if only I tapped one, two, three times on the door, clicked my fingers and washed my hands so when the world erupted into chaos at the arrival of the virus, it seemed like I was living my worst nightmare. The news became an endless stream of negativity, toxicity and terror, impossible to drown out when they became obsessed with it. Do you know what I was obsessed with? Blame. Responsibility. Fear. My thoughts became poisonous, like ivy, they warped into every crevice of my mind, distorting every cognitive process with a what if, what if, what if. What if this was my fault because I didn’t wash my hands that third time? What if I was going to become poorly and die? What if it wiped out the entire human population? Uncertainty is the disorder’s best friend and with the world in a state, this really seemed like the worst thing that could happen. In therapy, they say the worst case scenario is just a scenario and there are many others which could occur, but this really did seem like a disaster. What do I do now? My abnormal behaviour was now normal, people are washing their hands more. I was told to wash my hands for twenty seconds to the melody of ‘happy birthday’ but I’m singing along to the chorus of thoughts in my head, begging me to ensure I don’t miss an inch of skin. My head was spinning, my thoughts spiralling, the perpetual hysteria exacerbated my constant panic and I can feel every single heartbeat in my chest, banging in there with repeated, painful thuds like a drum.
This didn’t seem like it was going to get better.
But breathe. Think. Think clearly, don’t let your disorder distort that. Crazy circumstances have occurred and although it seems like a living nightmare, an apocalypse, the end. It’s not. It’s taken me awhile to accept but this pandemic is not my fault. It isn’t yours either. It didn’t occur because you disobeyed that parasite in your head. It’s really hard to stay calm when the world is in a panic but concentrate on how you can try. I love methods of escapism: books, movies, music, podcasts, tiktok. Have you tried tiktok? It’s surprisingly entertaining and amusing and I recommend it as a distraction. Write it out. Draw it. Distance yourself from the news, that’s not helpful; the media has a way of exaggerating every detail to sensationalise rather than inform. Breathe. You’re going to get through this.
This is going to be okay.
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