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COVID fear please help


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Does anyone have the fear of catching COVID and passing it onto loved ones and the worst outcome happening? I don’t care about catching it myself but I’m scared to death of not knowing I have it (you are contagious 48 hours before symptoms?) and passing it onto someone vulnerable. Some of my friends are obese and it scares me so much I couldn’t live with myself if something happened like that. It’s so bad I don’t leave the house now really or do the school run. Does anyone have any coping strategies or wise words please? 

Edited by Flic
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Hi @Flic, welcome to the forums.  Safe to say many people, including those without OCD are worried about COVID right now.  Unfortunately it is a real problem, and people should be taking it seriously.  However, like anything, OCD can latch on to that and make everything worse.  Part of living in the world is accepting that we can't control everything, we can't prevent every bad outcome.  We can only take a reasonable effort to do the right thing and hope for the best.

Dealing with and overcoming OCD involves a few things, one of which is to accept that we can't be 100% certain about anything.  Unfortunately that includes the possibility that we might get sick and pass that sickness on to our loved ones.  Another part of overcoming OCD is learning/re-learning how to better deal with risk.  Right now your mind is jumping to the worst case scenarios, like most OCD sufferers minds do, and trying to base your decisions on that.  The problem is, your brain is falsely treating those worst case scenarios as also the most likely ones.  This is usually not the case, and all doing that does is give us greater anxiety, while doing little to nothing to actually change the odds of the feared outcome.

By all means take the recommended precautions.  Wear a mask when you go out.  Limit your social contact with people.  Try to stay physically distant as much as you reasonably can.  Wash your hands after being out (and at other times you normally would).  Do the things doctors and experts recommend.  And again its understandable to have some worry about your friends and loved ones.  However you also need to remind yourself that you are only human, you can't control the future, and because you have OCD you are likely to feel more anxiety, even if that anxiety is not justified based on the actual level of risk.

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Hi there Flic welcome to the forum :)

I can't add a lot to the excellent advice from dksea, however we do have some tips and advice available in our April edition of our magazine Compulsive Reading here https://www.ocduk.org/april-compulsive-reading/. We also have some tips on our website here https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-and-coronavirus-survival-tips/ and we did have several presentations on Covid-19 and OCD at out online conference that will be uploaded in the next few weeks. You'll be able to find them from this link https://www.ocduk.org/conference/conference-map/.

I hope you find some of these links helpful in coping during this incredibly difficult time. It's natural to not want to make anyone ill but remember that people with OCD often have an inflated sense of responsibility that makes them feel like they need to go above and beyond what others do to keep people safe. If you are following the guidance, doing more will only negatively impact your mental health so try to remember that your wellbeing is important too.

Gemma :)

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Hi Flic, Hi everyone

I usually get the harm ocd thoughts in relation to the covid like I could give someone the covid by coughing on someone. Ocd can really have an impact on us and it stops doing the things we love. The harm ocd makes me think I'm going to do something bad even though I'm 100% against the idea of doing something bad,  That's a lot of us in the Glasgow area of Scotland in lockdown an announcement made today by the Scottish government. The lockdown can have an impact on our ocd, as we might be spending more times indoors and maybe that might mean more times our mind.

Is your area in lockdown Flic, I'm wondering as I think getting out and about is very important to our mental health. The fresh air does wonders.

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On 16/11/2020 at 22:10, Flic said:

Does anyone have the fear of catching COVID and passing it onto loved ones and the worst outcome happening? I don’t care about catching it myself but I’m scared to death of not knowing I have it (you are contagious 48 hours before symptoms?) and passing it onto someone vulnerable. Some of my friends are obese and it scares me so much I couldn’t live with myself if something happened like that. It’s so bad I don’t leave the house now really or do the school run. Does anyone have any coping strategies or wise words please? 

It’s perfectly understandable to have concerns about COVID, and that applies to everyone, OCD sufferer or otherwise. But what I can tell you is that you can only do what you can do. Not compulsively but just by doing what is asked of us. E.g. social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands. If you do those things, then you are doing what you need to. Precautions are there to keep us safe but you don’t need to go over that. 

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