Don't Compulsively Research!
One thing I made the mistake of doing during my OCD journey was compulsively researching. What I mean by this is, I would go online to read about OCD and look up things that made me feel better about my situation. This may seem like a great idea in the moment of panic, but all you are doing is seeking reassurance. I have said it before; reassurance is like gasoline to a fire that is already ablaze.
I think in the internet's age, most people do some kind of health research. Everyone I know uses “Dr. Google” to research their symptoms to see what they may have. This is OK (although I do not recommend it at all, just go see a doctor!), but for someone with OCD, this is not good. OCD is a cycle. You get an intrusive thought, then research or perform another compulsion. You feel better for a bit, then you end up back at step one. Reassurance seeking, no matter the form, is nothing but a tool the OCD bully uses against you.
From my experience, reassurance is only temporary because your brain is still perceiving the intrusive thoughts as a threat. By performing a compulsion, you are giving confirmation to your brain as the initial feeling of anxiety is correct. Confirming this to your brain is why OCD persists. It sucks. It feels like you are doing the right thing, but you aren’t.
The next step is to force yourself to live in the anxiety and not perform a compulsion. With a compulsive hand washer, for example, if they touch something they perceive as contaminated, they should not wash their hands until the anxiety passes. It’s super messed up, but it is what you have to do! This is tough right now because of COVID and the risks associated with it, but performing exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy at home can be a solution. Please see my previous post about ERP to see what that is about.
Most people do research online, and that is all good! The internet has a vast collection of knowledge that is at your fingertips. However, there is a fine line for someone with OCD. In my experience, OCD research was nothing but a reassurance seeking compulsion that prevented me from getting better. Now I know, when OCD rears its ugly head, I can prevent the cycle from continuing. Good luck! You can do this!