Many who are interested in the topic have even told me how pleased they were to meet an actual person who has a diagnosis of OCD. Constant questions are asked of me as to how this condition makes a person’s life feel.
Essentially OCD makes a person intensely worried about any situation that is likely to cause various kinds of danger. Living with that kind of worry is very difficult and currently most of the world is getting a small taste of what it feels like to have OCD. This is with the coronavirus situation. Worrying about a situation that has potentially disastrous consequences, preparing for the worst by stocking up on necessities and being fearful about going out into public places feels very much like OCD. However the differences are that those of us with OCD feel like this far more often, and many of the things we worry about aren’t quite as rational as the current virus epidemic.
Here I’ll give some examples of my own experiences. I often panic when it’s 2am and I still can’t get to sleep and know that I’m going out the next day. Getting up in the morning having not fallen asleep doesn’t feel normal or safe for me. On sleepless nights I prepare myself for the final day of my life, before going to sleep the following night and being so tired that I never wake up again. As much as I try to reassure myself that people can go for days without sleep and that we don’t die purely from fatigue, those fears can not escape my mind.
A second example is that I feel uncomfortable eating food prepared in a kitchen of which is either dirty, or of which I haven’t seen myself. This also includes restaurants which are old, shabby and rundown. I have a strong fear that those kinds of kitchens don’t have sufficient equipment to be able to eradicate all of the bacteria from the food. Therefore after I’ve eaten food made and prepared in those places I’m already planning what I’ll have to do a day or so later “when” I get food poisoning.
It’s rightfully said that OCD is not an easy condition to live with and gives a person almost constant anxiety, as life very often “throws a spanner in the works” and is not usually designed for a person who has such a negative imagination. Often it’s very difficult for me to find the perfect words to explain how it feels to have OCD. However during this coronavirus epidemic I’m finding that it’s one of those rare situations where virtually the whole world has the same worries and anxiety as me.
So in answer to the question of what it feels like to have OCD, I’ll ask people to imagine feeling the way they do about the risks of coronavirus, and then from there to imagine feeling this exact same way at all times from various other things as well.
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