OCD is probably one of the most known mental disorders known in the world. Infamous for its association with cleanliness and hygiene, it is often misrepresented and over-exaggerated. Major symptoms of OCD are associated with repetitive thoughts and behaviour, it can interfere and make the daily lives of people hard and stressful. For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t only trigger their OCD symptoms but made it much worse, including the fact that a large group of people ignore the COVID safety guidelines.
People do not understand that not everyone who has OCD is a hand-washer, germophobe or clean freak. The anxiousness is born out of intrusive and repetitive thoughts, which overtake the brain into a fear-induced state of panic. The behaviour, as a result, may come out looking crazy to others. Some examples are counting repeatedly, turning switches, doing a task again and again like an obsession.
Dealing with these symptoms, especially during these days, can prove out to be even more stressful and will lead a person into a grey area where they might be stuck for a long time. A diagnosis is much harder with a stop in non-essential health services and the taboo around mental health in society. For many adults, reaching out for help during a pandemic when there is immense pressure to provide for people dependent on them, mental health may seem much less important. When same goes for teenagers or young adults, the delay in getting the help results in the development of severe anxiety and may lead to depression and other dangerous mental disorders.
People who have a loved one suffering from OCD are often intimidated and doesn’t always understand the effective ways to provide support and comfort. Often these can lead to conflicts that push people to continue living with their symptoms and behaviours rather than reaching out and asking for help. Awareness and openness are key that only helps people to come forward not only for OCD but also for other serious underlying conditions which are overlooked behind the veil of one pre-dominant condition.
During the pandemic, experiencing difficulties with mental health is common and probably a valid human response. But when the fear and uncertainty starts to interfere with your daily life and freedom, its important to understand that allowing yourself to feel all the emotions and reaching out for help, not only for oneself but people around us, can minimize the overall severeness of this pandemic which may also contribute into long term help and betterment of the society.