Everyone is Me!

Like just about everybody else, our family is staying at home as much as possible right now. I’ve completely moved my OCD and anxiety psychotherapy practice to telehealth, so I’m home almost all the time now (exceptions being to get groceries, and to walk around the neighborhood after sitting all day and forgetting to even go to the bathroom between patients). The hubby works in an essential industry so he still has to go in to work. Michael has seen all his plans, including work, go bust. He and Blake have a commitment to volunteering at the local food pantry, which seems to need them more than ever at this time.

The hubby and I are taking advantage of this unprecedented time with our young adult kids by watching family movies, playing games, and taking turns making meals for one another. We’ve always eaten dinner together as a family. It’s just different knowing they’ll be here for dinner every night.

Last evening, as we sat around the kitchen table, considering the news of the day, Blake suddenly became bright and animated.

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

“I’ve been a germaphobe my whole life. I wash my hands all the time and worry if they’re clean enough. I walk around feeling anxious every day. I almost never leave the house. Now, everyone is me!” and then he smiled a very satisfied smile.

We pondered this together as a family. Blake has struggled with contamination fears since he was very young. His anxiety can be debilitating. He self-isolates often (much to our chagrin, but apparently adaptive in the present circumstances), though he’s gradually improving on this. Now, it seems as though the whole world is living the way he is. For the first time in a long time, his world is the norm…and it feels good to him to belong. It’s not that he wishes this situation on anyone; it’s just good to feel like he knows how to live in the world the rest of us now find ourselves in.

Blake summed it up to us, as he shared his perspective, “Welcome to my world!” he said.

4 thoughts on “Everyone is Me!

  1. Often, when I go to bed on a Friday or Saturday night, I sigh and recognize that many people I know have been out socializing while I sat home and read or wrote. Last night, I felt a huge wave of relief noting that everyone else is home too, and I’m certain that I’m happier with my Friday nights now than they are. I don’t wish ill on anyone through this period, but it feels nice to be normal right now.

  2. I have heard this from my patients- one patient explained that they consider their ERP experience to have given them practice to get through the corona virus concerns. Their friends worry that they might be accidentally contaminating someone even though they have been diligent and careful. My patient has also been diligent and careful during their quarantine, and because of that they have easily come to terms with “oh well, I might be contaminating someone and I know I’ve tried my best to prevent that.” It’s not at all a carelessness, it’s an acceptance of the reality.

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