We’re friends and family from around the world, sharing our experiences and thoughts during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 26. Important Note: WE DON’T ALWAYS AGREE – nor do we have to! We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship. No copyright infringement intended WRT photos in this post.
Today we feature a new writer from Barcelona!
We’re discussing #COVID-19 anxieties…what they are to us and how we deal with them. Do YOU have any suggestions? Send them on!
A. from Barcelona
Will my 92-year-old mom make it through this? Will my 93-year-old stepmom, who just got #COVID-19 in Germany, survive it?
How about my brothers, all of whom are over 60 years of age (each with a cocktail of the underlying conditions)?
Will I make it? Who will I lose from my family and friends? Will any of us die alone, without the warmth of human touch? When and where do we get personal ventilators and personal PPE sets?
Will I still have a job when this is over? When will this be over? What will my work be like when it’s over? Do I postpone or cancel almost all of my projects, because they don’t work anymore?
Will I make it through this recession? Will I still afford to travel back and forth to Lebanon? When will I be able to enter Lebanon again? Will I be able to see my mom and bro again?
How will my friends behave after this? Who is huggable and who isn’t? What are the new cues?
Will I get a refund for the gym membership I bought a week before the quarantine? Will I need the gym now that I’ve discovered how to work out at home? Do I buy more gym equipment? Do I want to be stuck with gym equipment? Is this…?
Will I ever eat at La Maroteca (best fish in BCN)? Will I ever have my OJ, croissant, and cortado breakfast at Chicaboom, and get to see both Chica and Boom again? Do I really need to eat out that much, or should I learn how to cook and prepare food more at home? Barber? Manicure/pedicure? Waxing? Other personal treatments? Oy!
Will I ever meet the love of my life now that you can’t go near anyone, or will we all jump on each other the minute they let us out? Will one-night-stands have a minimum two-week incubation period?
How do I go to my next medical check-up? What if I have an emergency? Oy fuck!
Are these anxieties going to continue to eat at me? Do I add them to the other anxieties I had before COVID-19? Are they going to make me sick? Is this the wrath of nature because I’m not separating the metal caps from the glass bottles? Is it God again, for all the obvious reasons?
Who the hell choose this damn topic to start with?
Fear and anxiety in the time of corona
Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia
A few days ago, I read this headline on the BBC news: “US pastor who criticised coronavirus ‘hysteria’ and went to Mardi Gras dies of virus.”
The news is still grim and unsettling, yet I find myself glued to every headline. It’s quite mind-boggling that despite all the devastating statistics, there are still people who think this #coronavirus is a hoax. Many reports discuss the bipartisan attitude towards the virus. Some still believe that the stories and statistics of the virus are overblown. Some Republicans are of the opinion that the Democrats are playing a part in forcing the economy to tank so Trump has a lesser chance of winning the upcoming election.
Well, let’s just get our heads out of our delusional butts and understand that this is a global pandemic!
My anxiety over this virus just goes up when I hear the discrepancy in the news. Today it’s about our President and the WHO bickering over actions and responsibilities. I want to scream out: Stop pointing fingers and get on with it!
This virus is so highly contagious and kills people all over the world in a slow, painful way. They are dying as they gasp for air and basically suffocating.
The hardest part for most people is this feeling of being a caged animal. We are glued to the ticker tape of daily headlines and news reporting deaths and new cases.
Two days ago John Prine, an amazing American country folk singer, died from complications due to the virus. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who has been sick with the virus for 2 weeks, is now in intensive care. The UK , like the USA, was slow to respond to the threat of the virus.
Honestly, I’m not sure what it will take for world leaders to protect their people. Maybe the deaths of a few famous people or high-ranking politicians? Would that bring a united approach to the fight against coronavirus?
I also read about a nursing home in California that has 27 positive cases of COVID-19. The 27 constitutes more than half of the residents. Actions have been taken to isolate the infected. Which conjures images of these people being left alone in an empty room for days. But of course, I know from my daughter (who is a nurse tech at INOVA Fairfax Hospital) that the Covid-positive patients are still cared for, fed, and bathed. But they are not allowed visitors.
According to my dear friend, the isolation and lack of interaction with loved ones will ultimately kill both sick and the healthy patients alike. I see her point. We are a social people. We thrive on human interaction and love. How long can this go on before healthy people crack and die from broken hearts? But the affliction of a broken heart and all other emotional disorders are not contagious. I don’t want to minemize the effects of drepression and anxiety due to this pandemic madness.
Fear and anxiety can be paralyzing, and loneliness can be debilitating. Especially when you watch the news. If you have read this far, you are probably experiencing a little twitch in your belly. This is the feeling I get on a daily basis from media exposure. So now to think about what we can do to can help because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
- I suggest limiting your exposure to the news (duh! That’s a no-brainer) and taking a walk or opening windows for fresh air. Distract yourself with funny TV shows.
- If you are gaining weight during all this it’s ok! Just let go of any guilt associated with that. Try some online exercise routines if you feel up to it. But don’t judge yourself.
- Do a good deed for someone else and keep in touch with others. The phone and video chats are not off-limits. Please remember that help is a phone call away. You can reach out to a family member, a friend, a hospital, or a help line. You should never feel alone. And if you don’t need the support, think of people you know who might need yours.
I send you all big virtual hugs and kisses, hoping we will soon be out celebrating the end of this crisis.
RJD, Beirut, Lebanon
Back in January, when Lebanon was just beginning to realize the depth of its financial and economic crisis, I started feeling anxious. As many of you already know, I was dealing with a difficult decision regarding my now closed business. January felt like a whole year.
Then came February and it felt a little shorter than a year, and BAM! came March! From January to March now feels like a decade has gone by since we ushered in 2020. Along with this decade of three months, came more anxiety, especially with the spread of the Coronavirus.
At first, I wasn’t dealing with the anxiety. It became a part of me; I embraced it as part of what I was going through and accepted its existence in my being. Until…until it grew and spread its roots into my mind and body so deeply, I could no longer function. It was here to stay, a cement block on my chest, not allowing me to breathe. It took over my mental capacities, my appetite (nothing ever gets my appetite), my sleep, my motivation, my desire to go on, and most importantly, my physical state. I couldn’t move, get out of bed, I felt aches and pains that never existed before.
So how does one deal with anxiety in stressful times? Here’s what I did:
- I reached out for help – as introverted as I am about my emotional wellness, I decided I needed help. My general practitioner, a gem, put me on some natural remedies that eased the sleeplessness.
- Once I was sleeping better, I was waking up more energized and able to get out of bed.
- Then, I was able to acknowledge where I had been and started talking to my family and close friends about it. Sound boards are essential in life!
- Once I got out of bed, I made a daily schedule of things I need to accomplish. I kept myself as busy as possible.
- I was able to eat better. That gave me more energy.
- I started moving – not exercising at this point – just moving.
- Then, when I felt stronger, I started practicing my version of yoga.
- Then, I started dancing, such a fun and motivating exercise and at the same makes you spew all that anxiety out.
It doesn’t work for everyone, but for those who are feeling the anxiety of being home all the time, feeling lonely and alone, unable to move on and adjust to our new normal, please reach out to someone (general practitioner, counselor, psychologist, life coach, family, a friend, it really doesn’t matter) and start your building blocks to get rid of the dark cloud that can engulf us unknowingly.
Here is a breathing exercise I learned a while back: close your eyes, sit in any comfortable position, focus on the cloud above you. Feel it, visualize it, color it, shape it. Slowly with each breath, make it move over to the left or right as you make it change color. When you feel it has gone, slowly breathe out and open your eyes and do something nice for yourself.
Mental in Malaga
RafifJ, Malaga, Spain
“Today I’ll go out. No, better to stay in. I have work to do. Well, it can wait. No, it can’t. Who knows if I will have work tomorrow. Eat. No, I just did that. Well, OK, I’ll eat again. WAIT! I’ll take a nap. Maybe I should do some lunges. Shit, I have to call XX to check in. Let me take a shower so they don’t see how crappy I look.”
It’s bad enough that we’re under lockdown, but when we start feeling caged in by our own thoughts it’s time to change things up a little. I know my friends offer sensitive, caring advice, but I take more of a hardliner’s approach. Here goes:
FIRST: QUIT WHINING!
You are alive, unlike about 90,000 others around the world. Now get off your butt and do these things:
- Play Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT. You don’t have to dance, but you have to sing along. TRUST ME ON THIS.
- Open the window and shout out, “Hello, world!” Only do once a day or your neighbors will freak out.
- Do 2 minutes of exercise. It can be dancing, stretching your neck, or raising your glass. TWO MINUTES won’t kill you. Over time, do more if you like this.
- Turn off the damn news and watch a Hallmark Channel or equally sappy show. Romances are best.
- Create an idea wall. On Post-It notes, jot down the things you have learned during your stay-at-home experience. Stick the notes on the wall and organize them. Check out the patterns you create.
- Do an online word cloud. List the words that describe how you feel, choose a shape and a font, and see the magic that happens. Repeat. You’ll find that the words eventually become happier.
- Plan an online party. Invite three people. Repeat, with others.
- Take a virtual museum tour. All the major museums around the world are offering free tours. You might learn something, and just think – later you can show off your vast cultural knowledge.
- Play online backgammon. Or some other game.
- Call someone. Anyone. Never, ever feel like you’re the only one going through this. We are all in the same boat.
Good luck to us all!
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