Obsessive-Compulsive People Everywhere are like, “Yeah — not so crazy now, am I???

If you just woke up from a one month coma and decided to go out shopping in April, 2020, the only logical conclusion would be that the entire world had become wildly OCD. Signs everywhere telling you to stay six feet apart. People wearing facemarks. Cartoon memes imploring you to wash your hand for 20 seconds at a time at every possible opportunity. All surfaces constantly being re-sanitized. It’s a germaphobe’s dream come true.

This is really weird for those of us who have long suffered with the symptoms of OCD. All our lives we’ve told ourselves that we are being irrational. When we painfully share our shameful secrets, our loved ones say, “Just don’t do it. Just don’t think the thoughts. Just don’t do the rituals.” Now we look out our window on a world that is living a germaphobic fantasy. But it’s real. I mean, there really is a contagious virus sweeping the world’s populations.

With a lifetime of trying to hide and overcome our OCD symptoms, and of trying to talk ourselves down from acting irrationally, it may be hard for some of us not to wonder if this invisible menace is as real as the non-OCD folks think it is. Are they over-reacting? Has the whole world contracted OCD?

Then we see the charts, see people getting sick, hear about the deaths, and we know it’s real. But then again, aren’t there always contagious, potentially fatal diseases, like the flu out there? Should society maintain this new fear-based way of being forever? I mean, it would certainly cut down on transmittable disease if everyone stayed at home and if they ventured out, wore masks and maintained six feet of distance. They’d have to build 50 times the capacity in subway cars so people could ride while isolated.

What a depressing vision of the future… the judgement cast upon those who didn’t don masks or who walked near others.

Today, waiting in my socially distanced line to get in to a grocery store, I did one of those things where you accidentally breath your saliva wrong and have to cough. Only I couldn’t, even into my sleeve; I didn’t want to terrify the other people in line. It was painful, but I managed to suppress it. I can picture the bank robbery of the future: “Give me the money in the till or I’ll cough!” What am I saying? There won’t be money — it has to be exchanged with hands.

This new OCD world is not pleasant. I hope we can soon go back to just a few of us being the weirdos.



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Essays, stories & poetry about OCD, culture and society, by Eric