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OCD and Coronavirus


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I already avoid being around people (quite easy because I don't work), wash my hands a lot, clean packaging of food and other things brought into my flat, keys, bank cards etc, and have separate indoor and outdoor clothes, so I don't know what else I can do to prevent me from getting it. I am a bit worried about my dad, even though he is only in his mid-60s and in good health.

My main concern is around the behaviour of other shoppers in supermarkets and possible interruption of the supply chain. I have not been able to use cutlery and crockery or do any cooking for more than 15 years, and I have been unable to store food and drink in my flat for the 12 years of living here. I can only take food and drink that can be consumed straight from the packaging without being touched, and, to compound the limitations in my choice, only certain countries produce "safe" food in my eyes and the UK isn't one of them!

If I don't leave the house on a particular day, I don't eat or drink anything at all; typically I can only face going out and all the rituals around cleaning the items and consuming them once every other day, but fairly frequently go three days without. I am increasingly desperate in fear that I will have to go on hours-long tours (on foot) of every shop in my large town to try and find something suitable for me to drink and fail because others have cleared the shelves.

When I get home from the shops, I put the items in a plastic "holding box" while I wash my hands, change clothes, wash my hands, then clean items and put them on the coffee table, wash my hands again, then open and consume. (Each hand washing takes a minimum of 20 minutes, so the official guidance to wash for 20 seconds for effective cleansing is darkly amusing to me) I have a second box in which I have put a small stock of five, one-litre cartons of long-life plant-based milk and two boxes of cereal bars that I can eat, but I haven't touched them yet and I can't be sure that, should I need to due to lockdown, empty shops or illness, I will actually be able to eat and drink them. It might be that when it comes down to it, I will just see them as contaminated and have to throw them away.

Sorry about the length and detail of this, but I have no one to talk to and I get the feeling that this forum is the only place where people might understand anyway. I also get the impression this is the only thread for discussing COVID-19 so I'm just blurting it all out here. The potential this has for impacting all of our lives is quite staggering, however long it lasts.

Edited by flourella
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2 hours ago, dksea said:

Two aspects that I have found affecting me personally are:

  • Separation from friends/family/home
  • Lack of normalcy outside my own personal situation

In the past, whenever I had a crisis or was struggling more than normal with my OCD I could turn to my family, I could physically go visit them if need be.  Now? Thats much more difficult of an option.  Aside from the possible challenges of overseas travel (I SHOULD still be allowed back in to the US if I chose to go), there is the recommendations of social distancing to consider.   Its a bit disturbing to have a social safety net I've relied on to suddenly be less available than usual.  Connecting via technology does, of course help, but I think the psychological aspect of not having the OPTION to see people in person is going to be hard on people.

Meanwhile, whenever I've struggled before, at least I could look around me and see a world that was, more or less, normal.  There might be problems here or there, but for the most part, things just kept going as usual.  Sports were played, shops were open, people could gather.  There might be temporary disruptions due to weather (snowstorms, hurricanes, etc.) or unpredictable events (earthquakes, terrorist attacks even) but it wasn't everywhere.  It wasn't for an undefined length of time.  Weather might disrupt things for a day or two, individuals might have more significant impact, but the people around them, and the greater communities continued to function as usual.  Even in distress there was the comfort of being surrounded by normalcy.  Now that has been taken away.  The whole world is being affected by this.  Entire societies are locked down and the usual isn't happening.  No sports.  No gatherings.  Empty streets.  Its eerie and unsettling, even if its not directly affecting you.  Its been almost fascinating to realize what an impact that level of "normal" that happens around us has on our own mental well being, at least for me, though I imagine for others.  In a way its like reaching that point where you understand your parents are mortal and fallible.  You lose that comforting feeling of mom and dad being invincible protectors with all the knowledge and answers that will always keep you safe that you have when you are young (at least most people have).  Not fun.  Perhaps inevitable, maybe even important, but not fun.

This is exactly how I feel, but much much more eloquently than I could have.

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@Lynz I'm so sorry to hear about you having to cancel your wedding, I know how hard that was for you. Try to remember that lots of people will be in the same situation, and although it's sad, you can rearrange it and have a fab time when all of this blows over x

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16 hours ago, BelAnna said:

@Lynz, I'm so sorry you had to cancel your wedding and I really hope you stay safe and well! 

Thanks BelAnna. I hope you and your family manage to stay safe and well in these challenging times too and that we'll all get through this together!

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2 minutes ago, Gemma7 said:

@Lynz I'm so sorry to hear about you having to cancel your wedding, I know how hard that was for you. Try to remember that lots of people will be in the same situation, and although it's sad, you can rearrange it and have a fab time when all of this blows over x

Thanks Gemma. Yes it was very challenging but we have rescheduled it for late September this year, so hopefully things will have quietened down by then.

I'm just a bit upset as I managed to arrange literally everything for the day and now I've spent the last few days ringing suppliers/insurance providers etc. to cancel and rearrange it all. It just feels like a kick in the teeth really considering how difficult it was for me to get going with it all in the first place 😞.

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1 hour ago, Lynz said:

Thanks Gemma. Yes it was very challenging but we have rescheduled it for late September this year, so hopefully things will have quietened down by then.

I'm just a bit upset as I managed to arrange literally everything for the day and now I've spent the last few days ringing suppliers/insurance providers etc. to cancel and rearrange it all. It just feels like a kick in the teeth really considering how difficult it was for me to get going with it all in the first place 😞.

really sorry to hear this Lynz, I know it was a real challenge for you.  You'll have it to look forward to though once all this is over.  xx

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56 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

I'm just a bit upset as I managed to arrange literally everything for the day and now I've spent the last few days ringing suppliers/insurance providers etc. to cancel and rearrange it all.

I don't know if this is the same, but could you have an unofficial wedding, you both dress up (save official wedding dress until then), get some nice music, balloons, champagne and have an informal wedding celebration/ceremony of some kind until the official day?

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1 hour ago, Ashley said:

I don't know if this is the same, but could you have an unofficial wedding, you both dress up (save official wedding dress until then), get some nice music, balloons, champagne and have an informal wedding celebration/ceremony of some kind until the official day?

Yes, one can get married now & have an official one in the future. 

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As always you guys are a great source of help and support.  As you can imagine we are getting slammed from all directions at present, support calls, journalists so I have tried to summarise some of what we are seeing (without going too OTT in detail). I think this covers most questions I am getting asked.  Your thoughts, input, suggestions welcomed in case I am missing something or have something wrong?

https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-coronavirus-summary/

I am aware my typos may still be in there but I have proof reader specialist checking for me now (feel free to shout if you spot one).

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Hi all new member here🙂

My biggest issue is thinking I might make someone ill through my actions i.e. spreading the virus.

I'm trying to be kind to myself. I deliver food so its not easy, a lot of over thinking 

nice to meet you all

Derek

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24 minutes ago, derek said:

Hi all new member here🙂

My biggest issue is thinking I might make someone ill through my actions i.e. spreading the virus.

I'm trying to be kind to myself. I deliver food so its not easy, a lot of over thinking 

nice to meet you all

Derek

Welcome to the forum Derek :) 

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3 hours ago, Ashley said:

As always you guys are a great source of help and support.  As you can imagine we are getting slammed from all directions at present, support calls, journalists so I have tried to summarise some of what we are seeing (without going too OTT in detail). I think this covers most questions I am getting asked.  Your thoughts, input, suggestions welcomed in case I am missing something or have something wrong?

https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-coronavirus-summary/

I am aware my typos may still be in there but I have proof reader specialist checking for me now (feel free to shout if you spot one).

"How do I challenge my OCD when I am being asked to rituals therapy suggested I shouldn’t engage with?" 

Looks like there is something missing here Ashley between the words to and therapy?

Edited by taurean
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17 hours ago, AnxiousAnnie said:

This is exactly how I feel, but much much more eloquently than I could have.

Aww thanks Annie :)

Glad I am not alone in feeling that way, and glad you know you aren't alone.  Though I wish none of us had to deal with it obviously 😉

Its something that I've been thinking about for a little while now and only just put down in words.  If it weren't for the seriousness of the situation it would be almost fascinating to think about more, lol.

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11 hours ago, Ashley said:

Your thoughts, input, suggestions welcomed in case I am missing something or have something wrong?

Great summary :)  I especially liked the "survival tips" that it linked to: https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-and-coronavirus-survival-tips/


My brain has been pleasantly calm about the Covid outbreak so far. I don't have cleaning/ contamination obsessions, so I'm grateful to have felt no impact there. I've also not been overly worried about the virus, because although I think it's very serious (mostly in regard to hospital capacities being overwhelmed), I'm also able to understand the science of a viral outbreak and am letting myself be guided by that.

However, on Monday I had a weird experience that has rattled my brain. I live on a farm with a friend and we wanted to buy a fridge because one of our fridges broke on the weekend. Anyway, we got to the store and it was "closed to the general public due to Corona virus" but had a notice that you could ring to make individual appointments if you wanted to buy something. So we called the number and it was a confusing conversation, because the owner said that individual appointments weren't possible either, but that he would make an exception.

We ended up being able to buy a fridge and as we were speaking to the owner, he explained that he had closed the shop because of "the new law". We asked him what he meant, because there had been nothing in the news about it. And he said that his wife worked for the regional government and that a law was being passed to close all shops other than supermarkets and pharmacies and that it would be in the media soon.

It was a very muddled conversation and my friend and I immediately started brainstorming what things we would need to buy, before the shops shut. Our main concern was getting supplies for the animals on the farm.

Later that day, information about the new law did appear in the media and it was not as extreme as the shop owner had said. Most stores have been closed, but supermarkets, pharmacies, pet/ animal feed stores, building supplies/ farm supplies stores are still open.

But somehow, that experience of "a sudden new law" and finding out about it from an internal source before it took effect, and rushing around stores getting essential supplies for the farm... Somehow that has made my brain feel anxious and stressed and has left me over-focussing (worrying, ruminating, checking, obsessing) about the Covid situation.

I'm so annoyed, because I was doing so well with it, before this stupid experience.

Now I'm going to have to start following OCD protocols about not worrying, ruminating, checking and obsessing, to give my brain the chance to settle down again.
 

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1 hour ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

Another thing I would add is that I'm very anxious about how isolation will affect my ocd which has a tendency to worsen when I'm not round other people for too long. I imagine I'm not alone with this. 

Yes I’m struggling with this too. My work just tells us to Skype each other but it’s not the same.

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1 hour ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

Another thing I would add is that I'm very anxious about how isolation will affect my ocd which has a tendency to worsen when I'm not round other people for too long. I imagine I'm not alone with this. 

Good point! Same here! 

I'm concerned about having to go out again.

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1 hour ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

yeah i agree.  also, skype, the phone etc. are great - but what I will really miss is just having people around that I don't necessarily have to interact with, but they're there.  I think as humans we need this perhaps more than we realise. 

Absolutely 

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Can I admit to something awful? There are Moments that I find aspects of this weirdly quite positive or even almost exciting like normal service has been suspended and the world is pulling together. And I feel awful like that must make me a monster to feel like that even in part when people are going to die, lose their jobs and all these horrendous things. I feel anxious even admitting this here. 

That's why I worry that I must secretly be a psychopath like I must secretly want this. Don't get me wrong I am also extremely worried and sad. But I feel like I must always make sure I'm feeling anxious and sad, which makes me feel anxious if I feel positive even momentarily if that makes sense?! Like I am policing my emotions to make sure I anyways feel appropriate to the situation. 

Edit: just to explain this is only a tiny fraction of the time. The vast majority of the time I am horrified by this. 

Edited by gingerbreadgirl
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There's nothing awful about what you're feeling GBG. There are some positives, like community spirit, less pollution. Don't try to feel upset and anxious, people will feel all sorts of things and shouldn't be guilted into feeling how anyone else wants them to. 

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I completely get your anxieties about not getting cleaning/sanitiser's in the shops. I have spent a fortune online trying to get handwash or wipes. My OCD is about feeling clean rather than worrying about getting germs or ill, so not being able to get items I need has been causing so much stress.

I have managed to make cut backs to try and ration my stock, like reducing the times i use antibacterial wash in the shower on my body or how anytime is wipe something clean but washing hands is still high. On Monday it was getting so bad with my anxieties and having to deal with my other health conditions and disability that I considered trying to commit suicide again. I know its not the right thing to do, but  like most feel with OCD no doubt, is that its all too overwhelming and you dont know how to deal with it all.

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4 minutes ago, Lost222 said:

I completely get your anxieties about not getting cleaning/sanitiser's in the shops. I have spent a fortune online trying to get handwash or wipes. My OCD is about feeling clean rather than worrying about getting germs or ill, so not being able to get items I need has been causing so much stress.

I have managed to make cut backs to try and ration my stock, like reducing the times i use antibacterial wash in the shower on my body or how anytime is wipe something clean but washing hands is still high. On Monday it was getting so bad with my anxieties and having to deal with my other health conditions and disability that I considered trying to commit suicide again. I know its not the right thing to do, but  like most feel with OCD no doubt, is that its all too overwhelming and you dont know how to deal with it all.

Hi Lost, if you consider suicide again, try to remember there are people you can reach out to, either on here or the Samaritans :)

I know that it's scary and incredibly difficult right now, but we'll all get through this. Have you had any therapy for OCD? 

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8 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

Ocd latching onto this somewhat 😕 did a big compulsion in texting b for reassurance and now feeling really anxious about it. 

Ok so you've done a compulsion and feel worse, that's to be expected. Just be kind to yourself and try to make a different choice next time xx

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