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Showing posts with the label OCD

Returning to Normal Means Recalibrating My Brain

The pandemic retreat doesn’t necessarily mean life will get easier for people with OCD. Brushing my teeth is a struggle. I brush so hard, and for so long, that sometimes my gums bleed. I can’t spit until I’ve touched each tooth carefully with the tip of my tongue. I open and close the medicine cabinet repeatedly, pressing my palm into the pointy corner of the mirror, until it feels like enough. I can’t leave the bathroom until I’ve flipped the light switch on and off a dozen times. Some nights, the routine takes 30 minutes. Some nights, I lean over the sink and cry. My obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests in rituals: small, repeated behaviors that my anxious little brain demands. If you do not do this thing, my brain explains, something terrible will happen to someone you love. Fear of contracting a deadly virus, combined with the total disruption of my work and social life, has multiplied my compulsions, which now require much more of my time. The same is true for others living wit