Dealing with Anxiety During a Pandemic
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
In the past I've touched on the fact that I live with anxiety, and I've mentioned that living with anxiety during a pandemic can be tough. I mean the pandemic is tough for everyone, but add an anxiety disorder to the mix, and some days it can be unbearable for those of us who live with it.
Yesterday I experienced the worst panic attack I've ever had in my life. It came on suddenly and the symptoms were so intense I thought I was dying. It was made worse by the fact that I was alone, and had no one I could call to come over and help me through it. My husband was at work and in preparation for a meeting, so I didn't bother him. I didn't want to worry my son, who lives so far away, so I didn't bother him either. Finally, knowing I needed help asap, I reached out via text to a former coworker. I let her know what was going on and that I just needed someone to help talk me through it. Thankfully she was available and willing, and for that I am so grateful.
After about an hour or so of texting back and forth with her, I was finally able to calm down and breathe. I stopped shaking, my heart stopped racing, and my chest no longer felt as if en elephant was sitting on it. Yet, still today I'm dealing with mini episodes here and there, but I'm thankful that my husband is here with me this time, to help keep me calm. In that I'm lucky, but not everyone is.
So many people are in lockdown alone and that's a mental health disaster waiting to happen. Chances are you know someone who lives with anxiety, even if you don't know, ya know? Most of us don't openly talk about it, which is a shame, but understandable given the stigmas still attached to mental illness. So make sure you check in on your friends, family, and neighbors, because you never know what struggles they are living with. And the simple gesture of a text message, video chat, or phone call could make all the difference in the world.
Take care of yourself! Being in your house day in and day out isn't conducive to a positive mental state, so make sure you get out and about, even if it's just for some fresh air in your yard or on your balcony, or a small walk around your neighborhood. You can do this, while social distancing and remaining safe. I'd also recommend tuning out the news and social media sites that cause you any kind of anxiety. We can all benefit from taking breaks from those. I'm thankful to have been able to get out with my husband for a small walk near my condo today. The fresh air and break from screen time was much needed and beneficial.
If you are struggling with anxiety or worse during this time, make sure you reach out to someone! Reaching out for help isn't a weakness; there is NO shame in it. If there isn't someone you can reach out to locally, you have options...
In the USA call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 911
In Canada call 1-833-456-4566 or 911
Be kind to yourself and to those around you. It's been a tough year for us all, and we could all use a shoulder to cry on, a willing ear, and understanding.