Lately I’ve had an extremely difficult time coping with the sheer amounts of anxiety wracking my brain. First I caught a cold and my brain was trying to convince me that it was Corona Virus, and now that I’m basically over that, I’m struggling to believe that I can step outside of the front door without catching Corona Virus.
It makes no sense. I know this. My neighbourhood is sparse. Large yards, minimal homes, basically no chance of stepping out the front door and meeting anyone. But still, the fear of stepping outside of my front door is very real.
Today I sat in the truck outside of the Pharmacy for a half hour before I could actually work up the nerve to go in. And, when I did go in, it was only because I’d gotten a pep-talk from Knight on the phone.
I’m probably alone in this, but lately, every time I actually go to the store (which is the absolute minimal possible), my anxiety likes to play this game with me where I’ll be wandering the aisles to quickly grab what I want and I’ll feel a swell in my throat. Is it a sickness swell? No. More or less just one of those swells that comes before a big gulp when you’re trying to get past your nerves. But anxiety, damn anxiety, it tells me ‘that’s it… he/she was asymptomatic and he/she just gave it to you without knowing it’.
It’s not logical. I know it’s not logical.
I want to get to a point where my brain understands and appreciates the cautionary measures that I’m trying to make and doesn’t automatically turn them into fear.
Caution, not fear. That is my goal.
It’s important to be cautious right now. And realistically, when I go into a store wearing a mask, don’t get within ten feet of anyone, use the self-checkout and am out of the store within ten minutes, that’s caution. That’s smart. I know what I need, I know what aisles they’re in and there’s no need to browse or wander. That’s caution. Having outside clothing and indoor clothing, washing outside clothing after it’s been worn outside, that’s caution.
I don’t want to fear the world. People aren’t wandering around licking strangers in the store. I know this. I need to learn how to deliver that reassurance to my brain.
Things I’m doing to cope:
- Forcing myself to go into the store because if I need an item and it cannot wait for another day or another time, then sitting in the parking lot, prolonging the struggle isn’t helping my brain
- Reminding myself that no one else wants to get sick either, and with that notion, I should be confident enough to know they’ll want to stay as far away from me as I wish to stay from them
- Careful and calm breathing and methodical movement in public and acknowledging the difference between needs and wants. Planning ahead, so that if I have to go to the store, I’m going to the store once and getting everything in one go
- Going for walks through the bush because exercise is good for the body, mind and soul, sunshine is good for my mood and there’s still so much snow on the trails that they’re basically abandoned (see photo)
- Not allowing myself to feel this productivity guilt that’s become trendy around the web as of late, trying to remind myself that ‘just being’ is enough right now
- Taking all precautionary measures to stay safe and stay healthy
- Learning how to tolerate the uncertainty of the world right now. When will this end? I don’t know. And I have to be okay with the unknown. The goal is to keep as many people as healthy as possible. The goal is not to ‘open the economy’. Knowing that if we’re smart about this, more people can stay safe
- Trying to look forward to post pandemic life, living in the city, working my dream job, paying off my debts, being happy
If I can keep calm, turn the fear into caution, I think getting through this pandemic will be a whole lot easier to deal with.
Has anyone else been dealing with anxiety about going in public? Those times when you have to, when you just can’t avoid it, when it’s a requirement to go out… how do you deal?