Stack of newspapers

Tackling COVID-19 fear with OCD

I think it’s safe to say everyone is struggling to completely adjust to this ‘new normal’. Social distancing, education and job uncertainty, missing friends and family, are a few amongst so many other issues that have arisen with Coronavirus.

It is a difficult time right now for everyone, but some people maybe struggling a little more than others. 

OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is a mental health condition where you have recurring thoughts and repetitive behaviours that you cannot control. I myself, have OCD! And I thought I’d give some useful tips I have learnt from research and speaking to people during this trying time. 

With patience and self belief, you can get through anything. 

Separate your own advice from the actual advice

OCD provides a series of repetitive behaviours to make you ‘feel safe’ and in control of your recurring and intrusive thoughts. You do them because you feel you have to to protect yourself. This may get worse during this time because of the need to repeatedly do certain things like wash your hands and keep away from people and it could trigger anxiety and repeated behaviours.

However, there is already a guideline on what to do. You are one amongst everyone worldwide that is having to adjust to adapting their day to day routine, so trust the advice being given to you! Google or ask what is being recommended for everyone to do to prevent the spread of the virus and trust that if you are doing those things, you are doing absolutely all you need to. Give yourself permission to just do what is expected of you and everyone. 

Giving yourself a daily routine

As OCD relies a lot on having a routine or set of repeated behaviours to help manage your thoughts, make a daily routine yourself so your brain feels like it is working within guidelines. 

Write down when you want to get up, do some work, read a book, make lunch etc. It will help everything feel more structured during a time of such uncertainty. 

Cut back on constant news checking

Man reading newspaper

It is good to stay informed but constantly checking the news may not be good. Ask friends or family if advice has changed from people such as the NHS, but otherwise there is no need to subject yourself to bad news that may trigger you. Do what is best for your brain. 

Do calming but stimulating activities

Sometimes OCD means you cannot switch your brain off so activities such as crafts, knitting or writing serve both as stimulating activities, but also distractions from intrusive thoughts. You may even find a new hobby!  

Helplines and Useful Websites:

Call Helplines or go to useful websites! I will link some below, you do not need to do this alone! Some Helplines may be closed due to the virus but there are ways of communicating with the workers and lots of websites with good advice. 

Be kind to each other, stay safe and check in on your loved ones. We are better as one!

https://www.ocduk.org/

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/conditions/ocd/

https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/

0330 094 5717 (Lincoln Samaritans)