Sometimes I don’t like going on social media.

I do it still, of course, mostly because it’s a habit. I check my social media. It’s just part of my daily routine. But checking social media, particularly Facebook, is sometimes an exposure in itself, especially in the winter months. For some reason, a lot of people like to post about sicknesses they or their children have. I guess this is usually done to garner sympathy or just to get out feelings of frustration? Which is fine, I guess. People have that right.

Sometimes it’s better not to know?

But then I, someone who struggles with contamination OCD and worries about getting sick/my kids getting sick/getting other people sick, see those posts and I start worrying. I start feeling anxious, especially if the people are friends, members of our church congregation, or if their kids go to school with my kids.

Long story short, there was a lot of sickness over the last week in our neck of the woods. I was on edge. We were having friends over for Easter dinner, and I kept hearing or reading about so and so being sick or their kids or both. And then we went to an Easter event and one of the families was there. I was dying inside. I was so stressed as our kids interacted that somehow the germs would spread and we would be the next to succumb.

As a side note, church was/is especially difficult for this type of OCD worry. I basically urgently remind my children once we get home (or even in the car on the way home) to wash their hands with soap before we eat lunch.

“Sympathy” feelings

Also, most times when I know that people we know and with whom we interact are or have been sick, I sometimes will start feeling yucky or queasy and convince myself that I am starting to get sick too. I’m getting better with ignoring these faux feelings (and some of the time it is actually related to my endometriosis or other issues I have). I still try to live my life and not make my husband go shopping or do other errands because “I might be sick.”

Living as a response

Basically, this week (like many others) was an exercise is just living through the discomfort and not trying to sequester and quarantine ourselves to try and avoid getting whatever illnesses were going around. We maintained our health routines (which my husband might say are sometimes over the top but which I think are helpful) and knock on wood, we are still going. We did have a little bit of an issue with our littlest at the beginning of the week, but you know what? Life went on. I had a lot of worry and anxiety, but with my husband’s help, I refrained from caving in completely to the OCD’s demands.

I’m learning that no matter what comes, we will make it. It will not be the end. OCD might make me think the worst will happen, but OCD’s bark is usually worse than reality’s bite.

How do you deal with constant worry or anxiety about “what might happen”?

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