Updated: Jul 6, 2020
I know I said I was going to do a post about PTSD this week, but I hope by telling you the shit that I’ve gone through the past 2 weeks you can relate and know you’re not alone.
My Anxiety. I take meds for depression that also helps stabilize my mood. I don’t take meds for anxiety. I have anxiety medication that my doctor gave me that I use if I really need to. I haven’t taken those pills in a while, but guess what? I’m taking them once a day and twice depending on how bad my anxiety is. I’m also frustrated because before all of THIS happened, I was in a really good place mentally. I was making plans for the future because for the first time in a long time I felt confident about my tomorrows. I was excited because I started to think bigger due to my gain in confidence. And best of all I was at peace, I was telling my husband that I finally understand what that bible verse meant when it said that you will have peace that transcends understanding. Then THIS happened and some of that went out the window. Thankfully I still am thinking big and I am excited about my tomorrows. My confidence has taken a hit and I think it’s due to my anxiety. When you’re already anxious about your current situation, stepping out into unchartered territory only adds to the stress and anxiety.
My Anxiety Part II. Yeah, I am really anxious! Last week I was doing ok, this week, not so much. Not to get political, but our President is not handling this well and that's putting it lightly. Misformation, unreliable facts about the virus, the conflicting information - all of this adds to my anxiety because I’m still not sure what to do. Yes, I know about social distancing, washing hands, staying inside and all the advice they have given us, but after that what? What concerns me the most is they’re still not sure how it spreads or how it’s transmitted because of all the conflicting evidence. Why does that make me anxious? People in my age range are dying from it and some who are sick say they didn’t show any symptoms of the virus. They say that people who have underlying conditions are at higher risk. I have asthma so I don’t need any more issues with my lungs. My husband has diabetes and my mother with whom we live is 70+ (please don’t tell her I wrote that, she tells people she’s 50) so I’m concerned that if someone is a carrier that shows no symptoms, one of us could give it to her. I know my mother is going to pass on one day, but the thought of me giving it to her or anyone in my house frightens me. Once you are admitted in the hospital, you can’t have visitors and the thought of one of my loved ones dying alone frightens me. Sometimes I feel guilty for thinking like this and try to replace them with positive thoughts, but again, the uncertainty of THIS has me worried.
My Anxiety Part III. When the governor of PA shut everything down a few weeks ago, my mother and I rushed to the store to get as much food as we could. To see the parking lot full, to see ALLLLLLLL the people in the market, to see the long lines at checkout, to see the shelves be and go empty scared me. I became anxious about food, so I went to the market several times and got more food. We have so much food, the pantry, the freezers and cabinets are stocked to the brim. While I was in the market I was anxious because of the uncertainty not knowing much about the virus. While I was so worried about food, I forgot about supplies like the now coveted Lysol spray and bleach wipes. So, what did I do? Kept going around to different stores looking for some. I got lucky a few times, but again I felt it wasn’t enough. I became obsessed with finding Lysol, wipes, face masks and gloves and when I couldn’t find them I became panicked. I did go out yesterday and found Lysol and wipes, but there's a limit on everything, but again that fear set in that it still wasn’t enough. My other fear is now that we have all this food in the freezer, what if the power goes out and all that food is wasted?
My Anxiety Part IV. I’m afraid I’ll contract the virus and bring it home. So, I’ve adopted a few measures to ensure that I (hopefully) won’t bring it home. I wear gloves and a mask when I go out. When I get home, I wipe down my car (steering wheel, gear shift, heat and radio controls, seat belt and the door handles) with bleach wipes. We enter the house through the garage and walk into the laundry room, so everyone who has gone out puts their outer clothes and sneakers in the washing machine and washes their hands with antibacterial soap. If we bring in packages, we wipe everything down with bleach wipes and disinfect the counters. I know it may seem extreme, but my fear is that the virus will be brought in is what's driving me to do this. Again, there are members of my family who have underlying health issues and an elder at home.
My Pain. I have issues with my back and hips and these last 2 weeks, especially this week, have been very hard. The pain is so bad that it’s hard for me to stand or walk around, bend over and other day to day activities. The pain is getting progressively worse and I’ve been taking strong medication to help. If I wasn’t anxious about contacting the virus, I’d go to the hospital or my doctor, but again that fear prevents me from trying to take care of this problem.
My Kid. As a parent, you want to protect your kids from all hurt, harm or danger. He hasn’t gone out of the house much over the last few weeks except for a few times. My son doesn’t like to talk about his emotions, so I worry about his mental state. He sees a therapist and thank God for virtual appointments, I think those sessions help him. He’s also a LEGO genius so we’ve brought home a few sets that he completes. That kid will sit at the kitchen table for hours and depending on the set, he’ll be done in 1-3 days. He does better with routine, so I try to keep a loose schedule in place during the week that will keep him busy. He has 2 different times during a day to complete the work his school is sending him, he has 3 different free times to do as he pleases or we do something as a family. He doesn’t like it, but I think having something to do throughout the day instead of sitting in front of the tv all day helps to keep life a bit more normal. I try to talk to him about how he’s doing, but if you have a 12 year old you know how that goes.
My Sleep. I’m an insomniac and take meds to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. However, it’s like my anxiety is not letting the meds do what they’re supposed to do, so I stay up late, or wake up throughout the night. When I first started to write this post, I was up until 5A.M. Thursday. It’s hard for me to take naps, so it’s not like I can get rest during the day. My anxiety has me feeling restless and uneasy most of the day. However, I stayed in bed most of today watching tv or reading. I did cook dinner, but I made a roast so I was able to get back to resting while it cooked. Not sleeping only adds to my anxiety, which is not good. It makes everything seem worse than it is and I’m more sensitive than I usually am. While I was up late last night I cried because I realized that I wasn’t as good as I thought and everything just seems overwhelming and crying helped to release some of what I was feeling.
Can’t Follow My Own Advice. I write blogs that offer advice on how to get through tough times and how to seek help. I post self care tips and promote ways to help you get through this chaos. Yeah, I haven't been able to do any of that lately. It’s like my mind can’t calm the anxiety down. I don’t have racing thoughts, but it’s like the anxiety won’t let anything positive in. I need to take back control of my mind and be consistent in doing things that promote positivity, calmness and hope.
My 2 Cents
My father used to say, this too shall pass and I have to hold on to that. One day this will all be over, hopefully soon.
I worry about what THIS is doing to the nations mental health and the after effects of THIS on the nations mental health.
We need to try to take this one day at a time. Sometimes thinking about tomorrow does more harm than good.
These are hard times and even though we know about self care and taking care of our mental health, this could be hard for some. Don’t feel guilty, when you recognize you’re in a downward spiral. Do your best to come out of it. Small steps can lead to big results.
I will be okay! I went through hard times before and will get through this, one day at a time <3
I believe in you Brown Girl.
You got this and you are NOT alone!
Did you know that I now have a podcast? It's called, For My BrownGirls! Podcast and you can listen to it HERE!
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*I am not a licensed therapist. This post does not serve as a form of therapy or diagnosis. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or your doctor.