Anxiety during Covid-19 is entirely natural; staying home and isolated is not as easy as it seems. Take heart, we are all in this together.
I am writing this from Cardiff, Wales, UK. Today is our (i.e. my husband and I) twelfth day of self quarantine.
The numbers started to rise rapidly here and before the government could decide on a fixed course of action, the public took matters in their own hands, and started following social distancing and self isolation. At least, in Cardiff, the public’s awareness and concern is visible. So, it’s been two weeks that I am cooped up in my one bedroom apartment.
It is obvious that we are in the midst of a world crisis and strangely, the only way we can help is by staying inside our homes. It seems logical, fair, and easy.
However, staying in all day with no foreseeable certainty as to when can we step out of the house can be suffocating and depressing for some people. Not being able to go out for a walk is killing me. Not knowing till when I am home bound feels like a suffocation. I feel like a caged bird. I do feel grateful for being privileged, for getting to sit at home safely, for not having the need to step out into the danger zone. And yet, I feel helpless and depressed.
I am craving fresh air. I am craving my long walks. This whole self isolation thing is bringing out the worst in me. I am affected emotionally and mentally.
I thought I was doing fine. I thought the stress of being in the middle of a world pandemic was not going to hit me. I was wrong. Superficially, it may look like you are enjoying your time at home and you are relaxing, but unconsciously in a crisis like this your brain keeps doing all sorts of calculations and assumptions.
It is our unconscious plan ‘B’, the escape route, whatever you want to call it. Our brain is always preparing for the worst. So, it’s natural for some of us to feel exhausted. Just yesterday, I had a meltdown. I was so stressed out that my shoulders were in severe pain. I could barely move my hands. I needed to finish some work but I couldn’t do it. I was just not in the right place. I came to bed and started crying. It helped me immensely.
I stopped following the news. All the information, speculation, and increasing cases can be overwhelming. I personally feel drained out after watching the news. My mother calls me everyday and tells me about all the COVID-19 news that she has been following. Today, I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her I will not listen to anything COVID-19 related.
My husband was following the news from day one. He stopped today. He tells me it is causing him mental strain and he is not able to concentrate on his work. There’s too much panic already. The last thing we want is to add to it. So, I am deliberately staying away from any such sources which amplify this pandemic.
I had to cancel my first marriage anniversary trip to Albania and North Macedonia. We were to fly from London on 10th of March. Just two hours before we were to leave, we cancelled. I cried the entire day over the injustice of it all. I was really looking forward to it. I knew canceling was the wise thing to do, but sometimes you cannot come to terms with the rationality of it all. Then I got to know about many of my friend’s disrupted personal and professional life because of COVID-19. Weddings being canceled. Opportunities being made redundant. Jobs being lost. Our one week trip looked silly in front of all these.
I realised that I am not alone. It gave me a sense of connection with everyone in this world who sits clueless in front of the television set wondering how long this will last. Everyone in this world is affected. I realised that I am not alone and that gave me a little comfort.
When every social media platform is shoving the COVID-19 symptoms in our faces, it is natural that a small cough and slight normal rise in body temperature can give us the chills. It is advisable not to google your regular daily ailments. Especially at this time. What you have could be a normal change of season thing. It is not necessarily the virus. So, stop jumping to conclusions.
At this time it is important that we don’t do anything stupid. A friend of mine from India sent me the name of two tablets which apparently will give protection from potential corona virus exposure. He asked me if I took it. I said I won’t. I do not have to protect myself with medicine if I am taking other social distancing and hygiene measures. Obsessing over slight discomfort and fever will be more stressful.
Everybody is talking about washing hands, staying in, social distancing, eating well, and working on your immune system. But, nobody is talking about how to pacify our anxiety, how to keep your calm, how to take care of our mental health, how to reduce the stress.
We are busy stocking up food, constantly asking our friends and family if they are okay, taking in all the news from Italy to China to USA. But, how are you? How are you dealing with it? How are you feeling? We need to sit down and ask ourselves these questions. We need to know how we are feeling. We need to know if we are stressed out. And, if we are we need to do something about it. Urgently.
Image via Canva
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A woman who believes in lifting up other women. Runs on coffee, poetry, long walks,
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