During COVID, My OCD Network Became my Cornerstone to Healing

Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

Living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) happens to be a whirlwind experience for me. At times are spent in agony, at times I softly laugh at myself, plus some days are filled with empathy and connection. I pride myself around the work I did to handle a lot of my symptoms and prioritize my healing. But because we all know, as much as we wish to, we can not always arrange for every setback. When the pandemic hit life was flipped inverted. Consequently, I felt like I had been reinventing the wheel and that i needed to learn how to start fresh.

The Early Impact

In March, the impact COVID will make was unpredictable. Before the first wave of shelter-in-place orders, I made a last-minute decision to leave my life in Minnesota and move back to Illinois to reside with my family. I was really numb towards the process, however i needed to be in an environment where I felt safe to heal. It was a move I produced in the name of survival and mental health. So prior to the reality of COVID even struck me, I was already transitioning from the survival mode I’d been in for quite some time.

Despite the omnipresence of OCD within my life, no major symptoms were turning up – yet. Actually, it wasn't until a couple of months into lockdown which i began to experience heavy doses of intrusive thoughts. I remember one morning I awoke by having an intense bout of anxiety, that we known as one of my “morning cyclers”. Extremely disturbing sexual thoughts flooded my brain and I couldn't shut them off no matter how hard I attempted. The mental pain was agonizing and exhausting. I reached out to a buddy who I knew with the OCD community and said, “Please assist me to. I'm stuck and scared.” That certain act completely catapulted my life toward the road of healing.

Finding My Voice Through Community

Through this friend, a myriad of OCD resources was sent my way. I attended sessions in the International OCD Foundation’s virtual conference. I met other survivors on social media and that we started doing advocacy interact. These events inspired me to write about my experiences with OCD and work with others who understood what I was dealing with. I started likely to therapy again, and finest of all, I joined a weekly virtual peer support group.

The weekly support group continues to be something very consistent and important to me. I cherish the hour I recieve to talk about anything, and that i mean ANYTHING, regarding my experiences with mental health. This number of online strangers converted into my trusted community. These were a few of the first people to whom I could reveal some of the insidious intrusive thoughts I had been experiencing. We laugh, we cry and that we heal together.

Finding My Network

Finding my online community saved my life, and that's not an exaggeration. I'm a social person who craves connection. Not being able to see as many people in person this year took a toll on my small mental health. However, having people that understand how debilitating it may be battling your own thoughts is truly something I don't ignore. The online support I have received through my advocacy work, my writing, and my healing is special and impactful in my experience.

Dealing with a very scary and exhausting global pandemic plus an all-consuming mental disorder is not a simple feat; it may feel totally isolating and dismal. Things i discovered being social during COVID is the fact that creativity and adaptability can lead to forming incredibly meaningful connections. Feeling seen and heard is really a life-changing experience especially when the planet feels dark and scary. I'm so grateful for anyone, in-person and virtually, who listen and share words of affirmation and encouragement.

Focusing on which I'm able to Control

During COVID, rather than getting worked up over things i can't control, I have reminded myself that others are feeling the very same way. I'm kind to myself and accept my intrusive thoughts as exactly that: thoughts. This isn't always easy, but the more I practice the better Personally i think it may one day become second nature.

With a brand new wave of changes coming nearby, I’ve made sure I have a tool kit of resources in my back pocket. My weekly OCD peer support group is something I’m dedicated to attending. I go to virtual therapy sessions. I'm focusing on communicating honestly to those I care about. And I am learning increasingly more every day that my voice and story matters, that my experiences are valid. Though my journey with OCD is not over, the road to recovery has become more accessible, even when it seems like the whole world is shut down.