How strange I wrote a post last month entitled ‘Don’t hug me’ when the Coronavirus COVID-19 was not my main concern, as it was predominantly an issue in China, but I just hated being hugged or having close contact with people due to my OCD, but now it seems a great many people feel the same way without having OCD.
‘Social distancing’ is mentioned regularly on television, in newspapers, via social media and in our daily conversations – keep 2 metres apart suits me just fine. To prevent the risks of contracting Coronavirus it is also recommended that we:
- Wash our hands thoroughly with hot water and soap for 20 seconds – videos explaining the technique are circulating but I downloaded this diagram years ago for this blog
- Do not touch your mouth, eyes or nose – studies have found that this can happen up to 20 times per hour and the virus can enter your body from your hands if they are not clean
- Clean hard surfaces regularly as they can harbour the virus for up to 3 days, soft surfaces such as cardboard for 24+ hours
- Clean door handles, stair handles, phones, keyboards – anything that is regularly touched by more than one person – safeguard other people as well as yourself.
What is slightly comforting is that the I have been doing the above recommendations for many years due to my OCD – infuriating to live with, but now I don’t feel so different as I see that a vast majority of people are adhering to these hygienic behaviours. The advice is that it’s easier to learn to do something rather than trying to remember not to do something, such as learn the habit of keeping your hands below your waist to ensure you don’t touch your face 20 times an hour is easier than remembering not to touch your face. I have been doing this for years, so no problem for me. I say no problem, but only in the context of this new Coronavirus, because it is hugely annoying to adhere to when you have an itchy eye or nose, or food between two teeth!
I’d hate you to think that the above (almost smugness) implies an easier ride for me in these hugely challenging and worrying times, because the down side of the Coronavirus is that I am now in total panic mode with all my ‘contamination’ issues fully in the spotlight and making daily functioning even more difficult.
Preventing contamination is heightened especially as I have an elderly mother with severe health issues (the high risk category continually spoken about in the press) that I see daily, and need to protect from being contaminated – both from other people and me. Daily living with OCD means I interact in a bizarre manner with my mother, but now I am at the point of self-isolating away from her as I’d never live with the guilt of passing this virus to her, especially if she was hospitalised (or the unthinkable).
In my opinion, that is why cautious (and anxious) people are panic buying provisions in readiness of self-isolation with little, to no, notice – we are told that if you have a raised temperature, a new cough, headaches or aching body we must immediately self-isolate. My cautious mind is thinking if I can’t open the door or leave the house what do I need to survive for 7-14 days? I can live without fresh food, milk, tins, dried food etc however I cannot live in isolation without the comfort of soap to wash my hands and toilet paper/wipes – there is no substitute for these two essential items.
In an attempt to try to see some kind of humour in this, I have heard several people say that “there never used to be toilet paper and in the old days, they used newspaper” well I hope they had a plumber on hand because soil pipes these days struggle to function with the products intended to be flushed!
My thoughts are that OCD cleanliness, to avoid the worry of ‘contamination traits of OCD’, accommodates all the professional/medical advice currently being given to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Stay safe readers.