Coping with Pandemic Anxiety

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You don’t have to have a mental disorder to be feeling anxiety over the current Pandemic of the COVD-19 virus. We are ALL affected.

Personally, I went through some rough ups and downs of anxiety, fear, and emotions before grounding and affirming my own capability.

I first read about the Coronavirus about a month ago and saw it was in China and thought to myself, Ok, I don’t have to worry, it isn’t here.

Then about a week and a half ago, a friend of mine had to cancel his flight because his layover was in Seattle and they were quarantining there and he didn’t want to get stuck. Quarantine, what a scary word!

Obviously, my prior lack of concern was immediately erased and a very heightened awareness began. My sister and her son came to visit last weekend from Pa, to celebrate my nephew’s 7th birthday! It was held at Chuck E Cheese, and I couldn’t help to think, this may not be the best place for germ prevention! Then last Wednesday, March 11, I had to go to physical therapy for my back, which is located in our local hospital. Security was stopping people at the entrance to ask if we were sick and/or if we have traveled out of the country recently. This naturally made me even more nervous, say nothing about being in a hospital and being around people who were potentially sick. I used the hand sanitizer they had on the wall before, during and after my visit. I had two more appointments last week, family therapy and my own therapy, and in the back of my mind, I decided that this was it. I am canceling next week’s appointments and began educating myself.

Last Friday, I sat at my computer with the intention to learn more. In a few hours, I was in tears. So many people sick, many dead. The fear took over. I decided a long time ago because of my anxiety to not tune into the news and media too much because they are designed to instill fear. However, one does have to know what is happening around them. I was scared but decided to keep going. I had to learn as much as possible. I read my local news and learned someone tested positive in the town next to me, then I read posts from C.D.C and W.H.O. I scoured over Facebook and Instagram and my emails.

Meanwhile, my classes were changed from in-person to digital. Gatherings were being canceled and then Trump announced the National Emergency. Later that day the announcement of all local schools were being closed. A Friday the 13th that will not be soon forgotten!

It was a weekend of rollercoaster emotions. From sadness to fear to panic and then to reality and action, and heartwarming as I watched the videos of Italy singing on their balconies during their quarantine and read about families getting closer as they were spending more time together.

I had to ground myself and prepare to reclaim my own power. I can not afford to be swept away in panic. I went out Friday for groceries and was shocked to see that people had bought out the toilet paper and many other supplies were wiped out as well. I had already gone to the food pantry at the beginning of the month since paying for classes takes from my grocery money,  I also buy tp, and other supplies for the month at the start of that month, thankfully!

It upsets me that some people go into extreme hoarding and don’t think of their fellow human beings; but, I guess panic makes people do crazy things. It has been interesting to see the reactions of people. Some go into a panic and selfish preservation and others are in denial and laugh. I have seen these reactions in times of panic in my life and recognize them.

It is crucial that we all find a happy medium between these extremes. To remain calm, be responsible, take it seriously, (though comic relief here and there can be healing), take action and don’t forget to reach out to those in need.

I am writing this post hoping to help others reach this calmness during the storm. I have organized the following guidelines;

  1. DONT PANIC, We already know to panic is to lose our shit, and therefore lose our power. It’s extremely important to keep calm. It’s time to practice all the tools you have to center; Deep breathing, Meditation, Grounding, Earthing,  spending time in Nature and Praying. Whatever you have to do to keep yourself from being swept away in the chaos.
  2. GET INFORMED, Education is power. Learn the facts about what is happening, so you can take appropriate action. Here are some links; CDC Key Facts, Myth Busters from WHO,  A Guide from The Verge. Here is a link to a Facebook post that I found helpful, it has a math equation to figure out how many will be affected in your area and how quickly, The Sobering Math. Remember, while you are researching to take deep breaths in between. I found while I was educating myself it was hard not to get caught up in the fear.
  3. PREPARE, After you have the facts, you will naturally want to prepare if you haven’t already. This is kind of tricky, I am still wondering what kind of time frame to prepare for, I have read anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months. Use your own discretion. Here are some lists I read, How to Prepare from CDC, Get Your Home Ready CDC, Social Distancing, Grocery Rules from CNN  Here is what I have done so far; besides the rice, pasta, canned goods and peanut butter I got from the food pantry, I used my credit card to stock up a little more on these things, some paper goods, water, antibacterial soap, and cat food. I refilled prescriptions and still need to get Tylenol and Vitamin C, I bought lots of garlic and ginger, for the immune system, and I gathered pine needles for steams and tea as they are an antibacterial and contain Vitamin C. (I will be making separate posts on foods, plants, and DIY items that can help during this time).
  4. ACCEPTANCE, After I grounded, informed myself and prepared, I found myself in a state of acceptance. Ok, this is real and it is here. I have the ability to cope with this. I am practicing social distancing. I am making a list of projects and things to do during this time inside. I will make sure to get outside for walks and deep breaths, and I will stick to a routine so I don’t end up in a depression. This is a time to catch up on reading, cleaning, writing, painting, and spending time with family and/or housemates.
  5. REACH OUT, Even though we are socially isolating please make sure to reach out to people who may be in need without compromising your own health. If you happened to panic and bought more than you needed, put some items in a bag and leave it for an elderly neighbor. I saw my neighbor post she was out of toilet paper, so I spared a roll. Reach out through the internet to see if there’s anything you can do for others, or if you need something, use your voice. This post is my way of reaching out and hopefully being helpful.

I know this is a scary time, but it is also an opportunity, to slow down and reevaluate what our priorities are. This could be a reflection of our own inner selves. Have we been isolating ourselves and distancing ourselves from others because we are afraid or angry? This is a good time to contemplate what it all means for us personally and globally, and what can we do to change. I hope this post finds you well and I am here to do my part. I will be sharing my insights, recipes and herbal knowledge. If there is anything you would like to ask, please feel free. I have seen in the past how emergencies bring people together. It’s my hope that even during social isolation we will be sending love and peace to our neighbors, and to the world.  I leave you with this touching video of how Italy is handling their shut down:

PEACE AND LOVE TO ALL

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Coping with Pandemic Anxiety

  1. Pingback: DIY Hand Sanitizer, Disinfectant Spray and Wipes – Labeled Disabled

  2. Pingback: Global Trauma – Labeled Disabled

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