ANXIETY AND THE CORONAVIRUS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’ve had an anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would worry about everything and was afraid of almost everything. My mother, a trained child psychologist, tried to give me a form of cognitive therapy by pointing out to me every time I was ‘awfullizing’ or ‘what iffing.’ She tried to make me realize that my anxieties were irrational and always told me “Don’t bleed until you’re cut!” It actually helped me and by my teen years, I had managed to control the worst and most paralyzing aspects of my daily anxieties, for the most part.

Prozac was the first commonly used anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication to burst onto the market in 1989. I was 40 and my psyche and my life changed dramatically as my anxiety and depression miraculously receded into the background. I still have flare-ups of anxiety and some ongoing anxiety issues, but they usually don’t keep me from being a basically upbeat, positive and relaxed person.

However, I would have thought that the Coronavirus crisis would have triggered my anxieties and thrown them into overdrive. I should have been in the first wave of panic buyers and I should have a closet full of toilet paper, paper towels and pasta. But I don’t. When the first stories came out early on about possible food shortages, a friend convinced me to order 40 cans of Progresso soup. I felt silly afterward and regretted that I had let my anxieties overtake me, but now I’m glad I have several cartons of canned goods in the basement – just in case.

Toilet paper aisles in most stores in New York and CT

Since then, I’ve been relatively calm in the face of the horrific health crisis that is getting worse day by day – and I am only 50 miles from the epicenter in NYC. At 70, I’m also in the higher risk population but I still go out once a week to shop and once a week to get mail at the post office. But that’s it for my forays into the potential virus-infected world.

I’m being careful and ‘sheltering in place’. Surprisingly, I’m not kept up at night by visions of worst-case scenarios swirling around uncontrollably in my head.

I’ve wondered why I’m not more anxiety-riddled than I am and I think the answer is that I’m only consumed with anxiety that reflects my irrational fears. I’m actually pretty good at dealing with real-world crises. I’m better dealing with a scary reality than with my inner demons.

My method of coping is staying up to date with what’s going on and acting accordingly to protect myself and my husband. I’ve read studies that show that people who read and listen to Coronavirus news regularly tend to be more agitated than those who don’t check the news as much. I find that the more I know, the safer I feel. Knowledge is power. So I’m keeping track of cases in my immediate area so when that number goes up dramatically, I can reassess my strategy and maybe place orders for pick up at the supermarket and get my prescriptions delivered by mail.

I believe that I’m doing what’s needed to limit my exposure so I feel relatively safe. I’m healthy and rarely get colds or flu so chances are good if I get it, it will be mild. I’m not consumed with worry that my husband or I will get seriously ill – or that I’ll run out of toilet paper before the stores can restock. Just in case, we also have a bidet!

If one of us gets sick, I’ll deal with it as best I can. I won’t bleed until I’m cut.

So, despite my propensity for anxiety, I seem to be dealing pretty well, psychologically speaking, with this very real, worldwide pandemic.



Categories: Anxiety, Coronavirus - Covid 19, Ellin Curley, Food, Health, Mental health, online shopping, Shopping

Tags: , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. The world is not going to be the same world. That yesterday isn’t coming back, but what will come? Who knows. The world will change and it will change a lot.

    Every plague ever has massively altered the world. I’ve always been a “follower” of the 14th century — Black Plague — as well as the big one in 1918 which was actually bigger than every other plague we ever had.

    Like

  2. You’ll probably be fine Ellin. This will pass.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most of us will come through this okay but slightly changed. It may change some relationships that never had to withstand 24 hours of togetherness day after day. It may make people more grateful for the simple everyday routines of a normal life. It may also make some people appreciate their office and coworkers a bit more. So hopefully some good will come out of all of this on some level.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you are okay

    Like

  4. I too am in the high risk category, as are most of my friends, but I’ve decided that worrying about it is worse than the disease.., or stressing out about it, will make you more susceptible. This is not something we can do too much about except to remain calm and ride it out. my cabinets and frog are full, but that’s the way they usually are and this may just be the impetus to go through them and use up what’s there? I would like it if the toilet paper crisis would let up and the stores get a chance to re-stock, along with other food stuff. Hang in there all.., this too shall pass.

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    • “Frig” Damned auto correct!

      Like

    • If you’re in a high risk category the equation changes. You have a right to be extra cautious and extra nervous. My friend in NYC who has severe asthma has self quarantined for weeks already and won’t go out or have contact with anyone at all. In NYC you can get everything delivered and neighbors in the apartment building also bring her things she needs.

      Like

  5. I find this really reassuring as I tend towards being riddled with fears. Thankyou for this. I am 72 too, as is my husband, but am in an at risk category and am blind and wheelchair bound. It is so easy tomlet fears run away with you.

    Like

    • Ellin, sounds like you are functioning as well as can be during these scary times. I watch the nightly Donzo Covid 19 updates which usually provoke anger. That’s on me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We won’t watch Trump at all. We find out what outrageous things he’s said in the regular news reporting. I just heard Cuomo rip him a new one for accusing NYC doctors of hoarding or selling supplies for profit! Unbelievable. Cuomo just said – Of course we don’t need every ventilator right now, but “It’s called planning!”

        Liked by 2 people

      • I guess we all have our fair share of all kinds of emotions

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is particularly scary for people with special needs or people in a high risk category. You have a right to be anxious, but try not to panic and let the anxiety take over your life. Hang in there!

      Liked by 1 person

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