Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of the COVID-19 virus that has been categorized by global health organizations such as WHO as a “pandemic”. Almost everywhere I look, be it Facebook, Instagram, the news, etc., the discussions about this awful virus are everywhere.
I live in Massachusetts, where there has been a pocket of outbreaks mostly related to a conference held in Boston. As of yesterday, most schools in my area, about 20 minutes outside of Boston, are closed. Some until April.
My office hasn’t fully shut down yet, but yesterday we were told working from home was “not mandatory but recommended”. I usually work from home on Friday’s anyways, but I’ll likely be working from here all next week and maybe beyond.
The groceries stores are insane. The toilet paper aisle was completely emptied by Wednesday. My husband and I went to pick up a few things yesterday and so many shelves were ravaged. The lines were at least three times as long as normal. And we went to the smaller supermarket near us. I’ve heard the larger one had even longer lines.
Something I’ve alluded to but not talked about much yet here on the blog is my mental health struggles. I have had two major bouts of depression in my life, one in college and one that lasted for several years until I finally went on medication in August 2018. I’m still taking this medication, though my doctor and I were hoping to begin reducing my dosage in the next few months. I have also dealt with anxiety my entire life. I have a variety of triggers but I had had it fairly under control, even during my wedding just two weeks ago.
With this complete upheaval in life due to COVID-19 though, I’m struggling. How do I face my anxiety during a pandemic?
I thrive in having a routine. Getting up at a similar time, working my usual hours and having “me-time” more evenings than not. I was out of this routine already with the wedding and a week and a half off from work. Monday was my first day back and the panic and uncertainty was already beginning to set in as news about the virus hitting Massachusetts began to spread.
I’m not anxious about getting the virus myself. Yes, it would suck but for most people it’s just a few weeks of the flu. Not fun by any means, but in the grand scheme of things, I can deal with it. I’m a little worried about my grandfather getting infected, but there’s nothing I can do about that.
It’s the lack of normalcy in my life that has me so off-kilter. I can’t focus at work. I’ve been “working” for 2 hours and have barely got anything done because my brain is on overdrive. I want to try to stick to my normal routine but I just feel so off that I can’t slow my brain down.
I’m also worried about my own depression, because isolating myself in my house was something I did during my dark days. I don’t want being mostly confined to my house to bring the dark days back. The anxiety about this sits in the back of my mind like a low hum throughout the day. Counterproductive, being anxious about my anxiety leading to depression, I know.
For today, I’m going to try to take it slow. My next stop will be trying a short, 5 minute meditation on one of my favorite apps, Calm. Then I’m going to make a short, manageable to-do list for work and for things I want to do at home so I can at least feel somewhat productive.
I’ll keep you updated on how things are going here. Writing out my feelings has already helped a little bit, so thanks for listening to me get it all out there! I hope everyone stays healthy, both physically and mentally during these trying times. Feel free to comment below with how you’re coping with anxiety during the pandemic.
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