Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in times of COVID-19
Zaktualizowano: 18 kwi 2020
Recently, we have seen a lot of memes or jokes about people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and we have experienced it personally (with our friends and family members) and in our consultations. Some people would make jokes that the pandemic is giving an OCD sufferers great opportunity to show that their fears about contamination and viruses are right. That is very ironic but unfortunately not true. Many people we talk with and who are facing obsessive fears are struggling with thoughts about mortality, loss and violence.
Facing obsessive thoughts means that we worry not about being sick but more about our responsibility and responsibility for the health of others. The Coronavirus didn't change much in our cycle of thoughts and worries. What did change is, that we might get more open to accepting that the worries or our mental rituals are making sense. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The rituals are the same and their absurdity stays pointless. Thus the most important thing is to practise your coping mechanisms as you did before.
1. Follow the advice from WHO and do exactly what they tell you to do. And when they say: wash your hands for 20 seconds, then stop washing your hands after 20 seconds. You have done enough.
2. Follow the news but in an organised and not compulsive manner. Generally, 5 minutes a day for news searching should be ok. Focus on facts and when you recognise that it is making you more nervous, and you start to dive into conspiracy theories and trying to find more and more information, it is time to stop. You have done enough.
3. Follow your social network and stay in touch. This is your lifeline and will help you to distract your thought from worries. Talking with people every day even when it is not face-to-face helps you and provide you with a different perspective and you will get a reality check for your obsessive thoughts.
4. Make your own self-care checklist. Being gentle to yourself and giving yourself a small gift of joy during the day will again distract you from spiralling into obsessions. Here is our template:
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