Obsessive-compulsive disorder as practice for COVID-19

People who live with obsessive-compulsive disorder, especially those who have learned to manage it with cognitive-behavioral therapy tools, may actually be psychologically well-prepared for this pandemic. The techniques those of us with OCD practice to handle anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and all-consuming compulsions are well-suited to dealing with worries of infection and the endless what-ifs about what lies ahead. Those fortunate enough to have been treated for OCD with cognitive-behavioral therapy, often in combination with medication, are usually pretty comfortable being uncomfortable. (If you're suffering and not being treated, please seek help; you really can feel much better.) From the International OCD Foundation:

Accept anxiety instead of wishing it away and making it worse. No one enjoys anxiety and it’s normal to wish you weren’t anxious. But when you label your anxiety as “bad” and try to get rid of it, your brain then misinterprets the anxiety as a problem and dumps more stress chemicals into your body to help you manage this “threat.” The result? You feel more, not less, anxious.

Instead, accept that it’s likely you will continue to feel anxious during the pandemic, and that this is okay. Anxiety is uncomfortable, but it’s not going to hurt you, and if you tell yourself you can handle being anxious, your brain is less likely to get confused and think anxiety is a threat. Accepting anxiety, not being afraid of being afraid, is how to keep it manageable.

Tell yourself you can handle uncertainty, because you can. This situation is scary because there are so many unknowns.

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People with OCD may get relief from watching others perform the compulsive behavior

People with certain kinds of obsessive-compulsive disorder feel a need to repeatedly perform certain physical rituals or routines, such as washing their hands, to gain relief from obsessional thoughts. Now research suggests that when we see someone else perform an action, it triggers the same regions of our brains as when we do the action ourselves. Read the rest

John Green discusses mental health and social media curation

In this new Vlogbrothers video, John Green discusses his OCD and the ways in which social media shapes our perception of others and, in turn, our perception of ourselves. To hear Green discuss his mental health in more detail, check out this video he made on his 100 Days channel.

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'Arrangements,' Emily Blincoe: assorted objects neatly arranged

Why do these little tableaus of neatness delight us so?

Debunking the myths of OCD

There’s a common misconception that if you like to meticulously organize your things, keep your hands clean, or plan out your weekend to the last detail, you might be OCD. In fact, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a serious psychiatric condition that is frequently misunderstood by society and mental health professionals alike. Natascha M. Santos debunks the myths surrounding OCD.

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