Admit it: you are so over this right now. I know. I am too.
COVID-19, or “the Coronavirus,” has forced millions of us to take precautions, change our routines, and (finally) put our health first. It’s all been brewing for the past month or so.
The Minnesota Department of Public Health explains, “COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before.” They even outline the most frustrating part about this whole experience. They state, “Because this is a new virus, there are still things we do not know, such as how severe the illness can be, how well it is transmitted between people, and other features of the virus. More information will be provided when it is available.”
That’s right: there’s still so much we don’t know about it. Which is enough to make anyone anxious, depressed, or behave erratically (*cough* lookin’ at you toilet paper hoarders! *cough*). Lords knows my anxious thoughts went through the roof and had their ups and downs this week because of it.
In an effort to help you realize that you’re so not alone, allow me to share a little bit of where my (and probably your) head has been at since shit hit the fan; anxious and irrational thoughts included. I’m going to get fully real here.
Tell me, have these thoughts entered your mind too? Let me know and reassure me that I’m not going crazy!
- “How long is this going to last!?” It seems like it’s never going to end. But, it will. It has to end.
- “This erratic response is too much for me.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen and heard many wonderful stories of kindness during this time of need, but it sure seems like we’re overwhelmed with stories of barbaric behavior (or “bonobo activity” as I like to call it, because we’re acting like a bunch of damn monkeys right now) too. I don’t understand the hoarding. I don’t understand the lack of fluidity or flexibility in others during this trying time. It grinds my gears when I see folks unwilling to compromise their routine for the benefit of others.
- “Can they take away access to pharmacies?” This one made me actually cry and go into a full blown anxiety attack this week. Anytime you hear the world “shutdown” it’s scary. When Pennsylvania entered theirs for non-essential businesses, I lost it. Most of my immediate family is still there. I wondered how my Dad would get heart medication he needs. For now, this isn’t a reality yet, but I panicked at the thought of it.
- “I have to be strong, but I don’t want to be.” I figure a lot of us are going through this. We try to put on a brave face. We go to work when we’re asked to. We keep our families humming along despite the changes in routine. We think that if we crack, they’ll crack. Not true. It’s okay not to be okay.
- “I don’t want to drink because I’m scared that I’ll drink too much.” I don’t see myself as an alcoholic, but I’m definitely mindful of drinking too much in times like these. Sure, we want to numb as much of this as possible, but we know this behavior isn’t really going to solve anything either. Moderation, friends. Know your limits.
- “Am I going to be physically attacked during this?” This is an anxious thought here. I’m terrified that I’ll be physically attacked by someone who is behaving erratically due to the virus. I’m a small woman. I’m no threat to them. If I have something “they” want, they’ll think nothing of beating me for it because I’m not a physical threat. However, I need to know that I can’t control their perception or their actions. The truth: people are going to behave poorly regardless of whether or not we’re enduring a pandemic. Just be mindful of your surroundings and carry on.
- “Am I actually going to be able to buy toilet paper?” Seriously, this hoarding of it is out of control – and that scares me. I haven’t been able to buy a new package of TP in two weeks. Thankfully, we had a supply at home beforehand that’s currently still getting us through, but I’m scared that we won’t be able to refill when we need it.
- “I hope we can all be flexible and kind to each other.” We’re all going to be called to do things that aren’t “normal” for us. Let’s accept and respect that as current reality, and respect others in the process.
- “I am so glad that FaceTime exists!” Seriously, it’s kept me sane! I was so glad to FaceTime and exchange messages and phone calls with friends and family this week. We need this now.
- “Should I even be posting on social media right now?” Full disclosure: I had an inner-monologue about this issue, and came to a conclusion. I wondered if I should be posting content as “business as usual” or if I should be mentioning the pandemic at all. My decision: don’t ignore the virus, but keep being you. If posting makes you happy and helps you feel connected, do it!
- “All of this hand washing is making my hands super dry!” Ugh. The worst. Especially for anyone with severe eczema or dermatitis like I can get. I’ve had success with combating this thanks to Aveeno and Burt’s Bees products. Try them!
- “Thank god for Netflix.” This includes the Travel Channel, Investigation Discovery, and YouTube for me too! haha! What have you been watching lately?
- “Am I going to keep my job?” In my case, I work for a hospital, so we truly don’t know what our day is going to entail day-to-day right now. I’m just trying to accept the fact that I could be called to do something different everyday. However, I know that for millions of others they’ve either been laid off already or thinking it may happen to them. To this I’ll say, stay strong, and do focus on the fact that this pandemic won’t last forever. At some point, you’ll be called back when production resumes. If not, bring on a new opportunity!
- “It’s so hard not to touch my face!” Totally didn’t realize this until now, but resist the urge!
- “Could I be a carrier and not even know it?” It’s sad to think that you may be one without realizing it, but the CDC says this is possible. Now that we know this fact, keep in mind that this is a reason to stay in!
- “Are any of my loved ones infected by it?” Who knows? Some may be. Some may not be. Regardless, show them the same care and compassion that you would’ve before.
- “Why haven’t we been social distancing before this!?” I sincerely hope that as a society this practice forces us to examine why the hell we need to ride each other’s ass at all moments of the day. We’re all in a hurry. We’re all trying to “beat the next guy” it seems. Stop it. There’s more to life. Observe personal space and be respectful.
- “These meetings really could’ve been emails.” #facts
- “I trust the guidance of health officials.” If nothing else, I think we can take solace in this.
What thoughts have you been having throughout this whole ordeal? Are you okay?