Covid-19 and anxiety

I kept going back and forth on if I wanted to write an article about my feelings regarding the World Health Organization declared “pandemic” that is coronavirus/Covid-19. I often consider writing to be my therapy, so here goes…

I live my daily life with anxiety and a fairly heightened sense of germaphobia, particularly during the winter season. It is a feeling I am used to on a regular basis, but lately the adding to my daily anxiety + germaphobia + the worry and fear over Covid-19 = a new level of anxiety being fueled by fire.

Every conversation, work meeting, email, text, Instagram post and news notification gives me a moment of breathlessness, a slight sense of panic which gets stronger every day.

It’s currently March 11 and the news continues to get a little more dramatic every day, as Covid-19 spreads to more states and countries. Back on March 1, I stocked up on a lot of canned goods and frozen food from Walmart. Did I feel slightly ridiculous? Yes. I just said to people, “Well, it is updating my hurricane supply anyway.” *Note: got a notification yesterday that hurricane season is expected to be above average this year…one crisis at a time please!

10 days later, it doesn’t seem so silly to have stocked up on dry goods, paper goods and a pre-blizzard amount of toilet paper. I’ve gotten emails from Nordstrom, Target, ShopRite and more telling me they are working on upping their store cleaning practices, asking sick employees to stay home and limiting the number of cleaning supplies customers can purchase. I have lysol wipes on hand and I scored hand sanitizer from a place I will not disclose for sake of possibly wanting to buy more.

My hands are dry, my face has never been itchier when out in public and my anxiety is heightened to a level that I cannot control because every conversation has turned contagious. We cannot stop talking and obsessing over Covid-19.

Coachella was postponed and SXSW was cancelled. Dozens of events, concerts and conventions have been cancelled. Church goers were exposed to people who have tested positive for Covid-19. Colleges are closing and moving classes online. I’m thankful not to be in school right now. Even the Washington Post has their employees working from home for the remainder of the month. 

Even politicians are not immune to the exposure. Rallies have been cancelled and I worry how this pandemic will impact the 2020 election. Will Trump try to postpone the election? He certainly does not seem to have a grip on the seriousness of the situation. No doubt it will go down in the history books as a very disturbing and frightening time all around the world.

Even my meetings for work have mentioned preparations for Covid-19. Cape May, New Jersey might be a small beach town, but we are thinking ahead and giving thought to an approach.

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Handouts from my municipal meetings.

Making jokes, sharing memes and pertinant articles on Covid-19 has helped me try to maintain my anxiety. Even writing this article, my FitBit says my heartrate is 93 bpm. And perhaps the scariest part is it seems like it will be a while before we all are able to “return to normal,” if normal is even an option anymore.

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My attempt at anxiety-quelling humor.

Here’s a reminder to check on your anxious friends, who may be experiencing a harder
time controling their fears at this time. I am one of them.

giphy

Author:

Rachel Shubin lives in Cape May, New Jersey, where she works as a freelance writer for the Cape May Star & Wave Newspaper, Ocean City Sentinel, Cape May Magazine, and LifeSavvy Media. Rachel also performs social media management for a variety of clients. Rachel’s previous work experience includes writing for the Cape May Star and Wave Newspaper and its sister publication, the Ocean City Sentinel. Rachel writes special projects for the newspaper as well as covering a variety of beats including municipal meetings, human interest and a series on millennials. Additionally, she worked as a content marketing coordinator at the Cape May County Herald Newspaper. She also has two years of front desk experience from working at the Victorian Motel in Cape May. Rachel graduated from George Mason University in 2016 with a B.S. in communications and a concentration in journalism. She wrote for IV Estate, George Mason University’s student newspaper. Rachel's passion projects include blogging on Cape May Rachel and previously Sandpiper Cat Blog. Rachel is an associate member of the Cat Writers’ Association. Previous written archive includes Tote Magazine, CWA Meow Newsletter, The Fairfax Patch, Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation Newsletter, W.T. Woodson Cavalcade and The Pennant Magazine. Rachel can be contacted at capemayrachel@gmail.com.

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