Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Keep Calm

As a person with anxiety, times when fear is on the rise, can be challenging. I suffer from anxiety and it doesn't come into play that often, but when it does, it feels awful. Earlier in the school year, I had an episode of anxiety, that felt unbearable. My family was going through a lot of loss and a lot of changes. It all just overwhelmed me and I wasn't prepared for how intense it all became. I got help as soon as I knew what was happening. Thankfully, within a few weeks I felt myself again. I realized that I may suffer from anxious episodes but day to day I don't live my life as an anxious person. Quite the opposite actually. I am not afraid of a lot, just afraid of intense anxiety when it creeps back in.

Today's news has anxious and non-anxious people panicking. The stores have empty shelves and the price of toilet paper has gone up because the demand is so great. Friends are stocking up for the apocalypse and preparing for the worst. There is a pandemic upon us, and I was pretty chill until today. I started feeling disconnected and distracted. Then I felt it, anxiety. The realization that I felt it at all caused me to snowball for a minute. The hardest part about living with an anxiety disorder is deciphering when it is normal to be feeling anxious, and when it is just a chemical imbalance. Additionally, overthinking about anxiety just leads to more anxiety -- so good luck to me when that happens. I checked in with my husband, who reminded me that he would be concerned about anyone who wasn't at least a little anxious during this time. With that, I was able to see, that this was a rational reaction to a very bizarre time that we are all experiencing together.

Today, we are collectively somewhat paralyzed by the news. None of us know what lies ahead for us with this pandemic. We are all capable of imagining what a quarantine could look like and we are terrified. My parents are visiting and they can't go home. They are in the unsafe age bracket to be flying right now. I am constantly trying to simultaneously tune in to the news and tune out. It is challenging to know how much is real and how much is hysteria. I could find evidence that seems to prove both sides. I want us to go about our day to day and live our lives, but while being cautious as well. I asked friends how many people are still planning to go on their spring break vacations and how many people are canceling and the response what split down the middle.

It is day-to-day here and I am taking deep breaths (not close to others of course) and hoping that the worst case scenarios do not come to pass. There is no rest for the weary and we all need our sleep right now. I will keep washing my hands, keep my kiddos from picking their noses and hope we still like being around each other when this is all over. Carry On!

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