In times of uncertainty and panic, it can bring out the worst of our mental health, especially when the world is gripped by a pandemic. Many people make the mistake in believing that individuals who have an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are better at dealing with a pandemic than anyone else because people wrongly assume their obsession with cleaning and organizing can help them.
On the contrary, having OCD can actually make it much more difficult to get through a pandemic. For those struggling with their OCD during these hard times, here are some coping techniques to help you through:
Limit News Exposure
While it’s imperative to stay informed on the latest updates of a pandemic to understand new guidelines and developments, it’s also important for your mental health to not overdo it. If you are a person who struggles with OCD, listening to news updates constantly can cause more harm than good. Create rules for yourself by limiting looking at the news to one or two times a day and make sure they are trustworthy sources like the World Health Organization (WHO).
Stick to the Recommendations
Many of the obstacles you have overcome with coping with your OCD can feel threatened when a pandemic strikes. When the experts say the best way of avoiding the virus is to continuously wash your hands, it can be an easy trigger for individuals with OCD. This is why it is important to listen to the advice of health experts and wash your hands, but only as much as they recommend. Make a conscious thought to decide whether your actions to wash your hands or clean surfaces is due to limiting the spread of the virus or if it is brought on by anxious thoughts.
Give Yourself a Break
Although your mental health should always be a priority, give yourself a break now and then. If you have a slip up in times like this it’s important not to be too hard on yourself. Know that it is to be expected. This is a situation that no one is truly prepared for so it can be difficult to cope with the presence of a global pandemic as well as your OCD. If you find yourself regressing and giving into anxiety, remember that to give yourself a break and that future will be better.