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.

image
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.

IMG_0813
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 and Cape May Magazine. Rachel’s previous work experience includes working as the content marketing coordinator at the Cape May County Herald Newspaper. She has worked for the Star and Wave for over two years, with a variety of beats covering municipal meetings, human interest and a multiple article series featuring millennials. Previously, she worked for two years at the front desk of the Victorian Motel. 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 currently writes Sandpiper Cat Blog and is an associate member of the Cat Writers’ Association. Previous written work has appeared in 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s