Hello, so today I’m back to talk about a subject that’s is very close to home for me, now I know this is a “spirituality” blog but as of late I’ve been using this as a sort of diary. So I hope you will appreciate my honesty on this post and maybe one person who is dealing with what I’m going through will read and feel some comfort or relatability in this.
Before I begin, I have not been to see a specialist to confirm that I have OCD but everything I’m dealing with certainly points to this and I have tried to get an appointment with a therapist but I was turned down.
Okay so throughout my life I’ve always struggled with certain mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety but never dealt with OCD, although hereditarily it’s not surprising that this has come to the surface for me.
So obviously March 2020 was a scary and terrible time for everyone that just seemed to be never ending at this point, I actually still visually remember back in December 2019 when my grandad was watching the news and said that there is a virus outbreak in China, and for some reason although I had never thought much about germs or illnesses before, my brain just clung to this and my anxiety got worse and I slowly stopped leaving the house.
So I kept cancelling plans to see people and I didn’t really understand and just put it down to anxiety, until March 2020 when everything officially got locked down. I was actually relieved and my grandad as much as I appreciate his coping strategies, he got very extreme with pushing his anxiety into us and told all my family to keep constantly washing our hands and wear masks and gloves.
I can appreciate how bad it was back then but my mind just hooked onto this and became convinced somewhere along the way that this is something I had to do. I didn’t leave the the house for 3 months in absolute fear and whenever a family member left the house I used sit in anxiety for days waiting for them to say they are ill. For a long time I just believed this is how I was meant to feel and didn’t see how bad I had gotten.
So in May I finally left the house with my Auntie and cousin, I was terrified and left the house with gloves & mask and hand sanitiser just to go for a walk in a field! (I see how crazy this is now) but I truly was expecting to see an apocalyptic world in ruins and although that wasn’t what I witnessed, all that built up anxiety for 3 months just came all to the surface and I ended up in a panic attack.
A week later I did eventually leave the house again and found it good to be on my own at first just to adjust back to the real world. after that though I slowly started finding my confidence again and went to a shop for the first time which was such a weird experience just the realisation that nothing is was really different and except the 6 feet apart rule at the time and masks still.
Throughout this time though I really found my spiritual healing and reignited my passion of photography as nature truly became my best friend as it’s the only place I felt safe from people, viruses and anxiety. So spent the next year just walking and exploring, but my OCD never went anywhere and in fact the more I went out the worse it got because I ended up forming this routines that I believe to be keeping me safe, which in some respects they were because we were still in a pandemic.
I ended up getting these really strict rules after I would come home which involved washing my hands and anything else I had on me. It definitely got worse for me when my cousin who I live with, got a cold for the first time since the pandemic began, and it sent my OCD spiralling and I started taking things to an extreme. I couldn’t touch door handles because he might have touched them, I couldn’t cook anything without washing everything I would be using in case he had touched them and sanitising my hands constantly throughout cooking especially with the taps on the sink as he had touched them when he gets drinks. I knew at the back of my mind this was ridiculous and getting out of hand but it made rational sense with Covid talk on the news 24/7 so I could rationalise it without having to deal with it.
This all just increasingly got more worse and more focused in routines and if I didn’t do these things I couldn’t think of anything else. It never got any better until December 2021 when my auntie got Covid which is everything that had initially caused all my fear, so as you can imagine, I completely lost it that day and was planning ways of going to stay with other family members. Ironically my sister who I was trying to stay with had also got Covid so I found myself with nowhere to run and this was really confronting, I ended up going home where coincidentally I began feeling unwell that day as well.
So a few days into isolation with my auntie and I began feeling really ill and had chest pains and couldn’t walk without the room spinning. So I had been mentally refusing to consider that I might have Covid but when I’m panicking I eventually take the bullet, so I went downstairs to my auntie in a panic attack and just let it all out and said I needed to take a Covid test to see if I had it too. Of course just to really face everything all at once, the test came back positive and I knew this was going to send my anxiety through the roof but my auntie managed to calm me down and I went to bed. Well it did not get any better after that which resulted in a hospital visit on Christmas Eve where I finally accepted how bad my anxiety had gotten as it turned out I was actually okay and it wasn’t Covid causing my chest pains but my anxiety because I was relatively healthy.
So all this was really confronting but I think it was exactly what I needed and sometimes when you refuse to deal with something, the universe forces you to do deal with it. The irony of all ironies is that I remember feeling so at peace when I had Covid just because I was facing exactly what my OCD had been fearing which caused all those thoughts to become silent. I’m not sure if this is a common experience for people with a fear of germs but I remember on day 10 of isolation talking to my auntie about how I’m going to miss having Covid (which I know is a terrible thing to say) but I just was at peace not constantly on high alert and in a never ending anxiety ridden routine.
Your brain is incredibly powerful and I’m now fully aware of how out of control it can get and I’m learning to catch my brain before it starts to become chaotic or anxious.
So four months on from my Covid experience and two years dealing with OCD I can say I am getting better with acknowledging my thoughts by telling myself that these are just simply thoughts and it can’t hurt me.
I am struggling a lot more at the moment as I have been working full time for the last three weeks and I’ve noticed that my OCD is kicking in high gear now that I’m getting the bus as that is one thing that it really fears since the pandemic. I haven’t stopped getting on the bus though it just means I have to clean my hands even more when I get home and I have to change out of whatever I was wearing. I am finding confidence in being out in the world again so I’m hoping this will silence the OCD thoughts a little bit.
Okay I apologise that this was a really long blog today! I hope you enjoyed reading this and if anyone else is struggling with this too, I hope this gives you some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and find some healing from your own thoughts. Thank you for reading.