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Ben Leander Willgruber, MSc.
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Waiting for my Corona Test Result

When the quarantine started, my OCD went wild and I was on the edge of losing it. I had to distance myself from all of it to try and continue living a normal life. Did I go too far?

In March it was suddenly very socially acceptable to disinfect your hands, cover yourself up and try not to touch anything – things I used to do for years due to my OCD. When I came back from grocery shopping, out of fear I started to disinfect all the products I brought home. This went on for a couple of weeks until I decided my mental health had to come first and it was time to stop. I went back to the way things were and tried not to think too much.

If I hadn’t done this, I am sure that my OCD would have gotten worse and symptoms I fought for years to get rid of might’ve come back. I am glad I chose this way for me, personally, and now I can handle being in the eye of a pandemic in one of the largest and most crowded cities of Europe (note: this post was written about a month ago in Berlin).

 

Family Vacation in Breslau

 

Over the borderline

When a couple of friends and I decided to get out of the city for the weekend and visit Breslau, I wasn’t ready for how unbothered Poland seemed to be by Corona. No masks, open bars and clubs, and people didn’t really care about keeping a distance from each other. Still, it was a really wonderful trip. However, after a night out where I smoked way too much, I woke up with a sore throat. So bad, in fact, it lasted for almost three weeks. I didn’t think much of it and thought it was gonna get better soon. It didn’t.

Two days later I had strong night sweats. I was getting slightly worried although not really, considering I didn’t have any typical symptoms: no cough, no fever, no loss of taste, etc.

I was convinced it was nothing bad and tried to keep my normal routine going. I went to a pharmacist to get some meds and she too didn’t seem worried. However, when my sore throat was still there on Friday (five days later) I decided to go to a doctor but missed the opening hours. I was slowly getting worried because Germans are generally very concerned about Corona prevention.

Ignorance is Bliss

Then I did something I am not proud of. I tried to forget all about it and went to the Berghain art exhibition on the following weekend. I had these tickets for a couple of weeks and it wasn’t all that easy to get them. Except for the art which I knew was gonna be good I also wanted to see the insides of this amazing club once more. However, I am not trying to justify going out while having symptoms. Even if it was ‘just’ a sore throat I felt very uncomfortable entering Berghain and know that it was stupid of me to do so. I tried to convince myself that a sore throat is nothing to worry about and reminded myself again of the unbothered pharmacist.

On Monday I finally went to a doctor and I was already very uneasy about the whole situation. The doctor escorted me into a room separate from the rest of the practice. She was in a full-body protective suit which made me feel safe and unsafe at the same time. Even though she wasn’t worried about my lungs and throat she ordered a COVID test. Just to be sure. With a long stick, she took a sample from my throat. The test wasn’t uncomfortable and took only about ten seconds. She ordered a home quarantine, gave me a recipe for a very useless inhalation tea and that’s that.

 

Panic Room

I couldn’t leave my room anymore without feeling like a threat to others. Or had I been dangerous all along? I didn’t feel very different from when I feel dirty because of my OCD. One of my roommates who knew all about this situation helped me a lot in bringing me down to reality: It was still way more likely that it was just a cold. But I started to wonder: What if it’s not? How many people and how many places was I gonna have to call and warn about this? How long would I get stuck in quarantine? What if my irresponsible behavior led to me having infected someone? What if they get sick? If they die? I couldn’t handle my conscience at that point.

I had already downloaded the Corona app. All critique aside, this app can be useful to prevent infections. In Germany, you also need to app to get your Corona test results. It was gonna take up to 48 hours for me to see the result in the app. If I was positive, however, somebody was gonna call me sooner than that. So here I was, waiting for my phone not to ring.

Downward Spiral

I couldn’t work or distract myself from all of it. I basically hoped for time to pass faster without anything happening. After 48 hours, I stood there with my roommate, some Berliner Luft, and plans to celebrate. I went on the app. And my Corona test results weren’t there. My doctors weren’t on working hours and there was nothing I could do but to wait a little more. There was no way to know if I was in the clear because I didn’t get the call and so we canceled our plans.

The next day I called my doctor’s office and asked if they had results that I couldn’t see in the app. She looked it up and yes, the results were there and no, they were negative. I was happy, hopped in the shower and washed the stress of the last few days off. This whole experience took a serious toll on my mental health and if I can somehow prevent that in the future, I will. I kept the Corona app on my phone and hope I’ll never need to use it again.

Has anyone else so far had a Corona scare?

 

 

P.s.: Theoretically if everyone installed the Corona app now, this pandemic could be handled way easier and life could pretty much go back to being a lot more normal. A shame this app was dragged a lot instead of people seeing what it could do for us.

 

Ben

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