As a germaphobe, I thought I would be prepared for a pandemic. Going into the chaos of the Winter blues earlier this year to a full-blown pandemic has really been eye opening. I live with something called mysophobia. It’s essentially a fear of germs, like an extreme fear, while others may think my mental illness is silly or annoying, it’s something I battle with everyday and it is real. Some suffer from fibromyalgia, or a even a Hypersexuality, and while we take those things seriously, I feel like my fear of germs is often overlooked as just a weird quirk and a get over it mentality.
Before the world began falling apart, things were on the mend for me a little. I knew my phobia was linked to anxiety that resulted from London’s NICU stay and leading up on her first birthday (February 22, 2020) I was actually feeling more relaxed. It wasn’t that my mysophobia had suddenly been cured, rather that I was not so constantly anxious about germs since she made it a year without any illness. I was ready to get out of the house to see a therapist again to help me with these feelings too.
Then COVID-19 hit and now fast-forward to four months into a full-fledged pandemic. It is been hard, especially since it is Summer now and people do not care anymore, plus the slew of mixed information on the topic is confusing and not to mention misleading, and there is a lot of other important issues the world is facing and I get it. But, being a germaphobe in the midst of a viral outbreak is a gut wrenching experience. It is hard. However, my germ anxiety suddenly kinda feels validated, now everyone sees the germs I see everywhere. I do not need to hide the fact that I sanitize everything and anything possible before it comes into my house. Suddenly the fact that I shower and change after any encounters outside the house didn’t seem strange, nor does the annoying “wash your hands” I mutter to my husband when he comes home from work.
Germs are my mortal enemy and while I understand people want to get back to their normal lives, and the economy has taken a huge toll, it is a jarring idea that a influx of cases can be upon us and people don’t seem to care because they are simply put, over it. It is hard to feel like this and I don’t wish this upon anyone, but again, my anxiety is real and people around me pushing my limits is extremely rude. Even writing this down, I want to cry, mostly at the fact that no one has truly checked in on me, especially family and friends during the global health crisis, fully knowing that I have been freaking the f out. Sometimes we are selfish, and that is totally okay sometimes, but when it comes to someones mental health, we need to be accepting and sensitive. That is someones real life. Just like you wouldn’t like the idea of something saying your depression is a joke, my germ anxiety is not one either.
I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and happy! We are all in this together, one world, one love. Let us heal together.