For the ‘100th’ time Niya washed her hands for the day. Not just before every meal, but every hour. She is in love with the fragrance, texture and the tiny bubbles formed while lathering the soap. This would have been normal in 2020. Covid-19 has taught people how to wash hands and stay hygienic. But 2 decades back, it was so abnormal a behavior. Niya touched her toys and then washed her hands. She opened the doors of her home and then ran to the washroom to do her favorite pastime, ‘to wash her hands’. No one knew it was a condition, an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. To live with it all her life meant being precarious about a lot of things. Carrying a sanitizer wherever she goes became normal; she stored loads and loads of tissue papers in the bag. Neither she grew up to be a doctor or a nurse, yet she knew everything about hygiene science. 2020 is the best year of her life. No curious questions, no strange looks from strangers or no explanation to be given. Most of us wear a mask, wash hands every often and hygiene is given utmost importance. Every dog has a day; an old adage has become true for Niya.

This isn’t just Niya’s story, OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder affects 1 in 40 adult, according to a recent reliable report published on Singlecare.com, a healthcare and wellness website. It is not just washing hands; apparently there are more OCD signs. It can range anything from repeated unwanted behavior to unacceptable thoughts. If you feel the OCD behavior in you, look for help. There is nothing wrong with it or to be ashamed of. It has a positive aspect to it. For instance Niya’s room will always be clean and she will never leave her doors unlocked. So, see it as a condition that needs lots of self care and love. Understand this; you are not alone in the battle.

Talking loud about mental conditions is still a taboo in many families and societies. We have already lost many lives among us due to ignorance. When will we learn that mental health is as important as physical health? If a person has a fever, he or she can easily go get an over-the-counter medicine from a shop. What about depression? How many among us are not ashamed of taking a shrink’s appointment? Just because there are no physical symptoms, doesn’t mean the person is fine. When the OCD gets out of control or when anxiety kicks in; get help. Human minds are so fascinating, it tricks you into trouble sometimes and I feel a counselor or a psychologist can help the person come out of it. To this opinion of mine, there will be critics saying, “It is all made up in the mind. “. To this I must say, “Like Covid. Sometimes mental illness can go out of control. Similar to the common cold, nobody knows why it occurs. All I request you is not to comment on things you don’t know or haven’t ever experienced.”

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