Anxiety Over Coronavirus Rises

I am anxious by nature. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was 19 and then developed various coping mechanisms over the next decade, before trying medication (Lexapro) around age 29.

I stayed on the meds for 2 years or so, until we started IVF in late 2018.

Even though we are not doing IVF anymore, I never got back on my meds and have been off of them for over a year.

For me, the medication worked really well. It helped muffle the constant “what-if” and “worst-case scenarios” of my anxiety. I still felt like myself, just less obsessive, if that makes sense.

I have chosen to stay off the meds for many reasons, including that my life has changed drastically since I decided to finally ask for them. I live in a different place (had problem neighbors adding to my anxiety issues), I work from home (would get anxious on the train), and other things have changed, too.

But now, without meds, it is back to needing to manage my anxiety and work through it in my head when it starts to get overwhelming.

As anyone with mental health issues will tell you, when you know you have a mental health issue, you become VERY AWARE of your emotions. I can tell almost right away when my emotions start to become erratic or if I have something wonky or feel that dark cloud of chest-pressing anxiety bearing down.

Coronavirus

The coronavirus is certainly not helping with my anxiety! There are over 100 confirmed cases in my city and it gets scary — it’s impossible to avoid people in NYC unless you just don’t leave your house.

My husband takes the train every day at rush hour. He works in an open office. And while I work from home and am pretty much self-quarantined all the time, my anxiety seems to have rubbed off on him!

We are taking the CDC and common sense recommendations like washing hands more often and trying not to touch our faces and everything, but it is a bit scary.

Of course, the media going nuts over it and the constant headlines aren’t helping, but I get it.

Someone on my FB feed posted about the media making coronavisrus “sound like such a big deal,” and this was my thought on that:

“I don’t agree with people saying ‘Oh, the media is exaggerating the coronavirus! It’s not a big deal!’ I mean, sure the media is talking about it a lot, maybe even too much, but people are spreading it very quickly because 1. they aren’t washing their hands enough, 2. they don’t know they have it (it’s not severe immediate symptoms like SARS) so they’re still going out and interacting with people, and 3. they either don’t think it’s ‘such a big deal’ so they refuse to practice #1 ‘on principle’ or ignore symptoms entirely. And, of course, we have government officials and pundits who are ignoring the CDC’s warnings and TELLING people it’s just not that big of a deal.

The media is reporting the cases as they are confirmed and the CDC has been extremely clear about the risks and potential prevention, city governments are doing their best to quarantine people. Look at Italy right now.

But the CDC has been clear that they think that over the next 2 years, up to 70% of the world’s population will contract covid19 and that the most at risk for severe issues are elderly and immuno-compromised (which typically but not always includes unvaccinated) people. It is clearly spreading quickly (there are over 100 positively tested cases in NYC and over 3000 people quarantined here already), and many people re carrying it around that don’t know yet.

Covid19 is a legitimate health risk and fits the definition of an epidemic. An epidemic is defined as ‘a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.’ It is not an exaggeration to label it as such, it’s just an accurate representation of it.”

I don’t show you this to scare you. I show this to you because you should be taking precautions. Don’t go buy out your store’s supply of toilet paper, but be cautious. Don’t get in people’s faces, wash your hands often, try not to touch your face, COVER YOUR FACE when you cough or sneeze. Be smart about it.

Anxiety

And as crazy as this sounds, something that actually comforts me for some reason is to let go of the idea of not contracting it. In my head, I’ve accepted the fact that I might get it and find some comfort in knowing that as a healthy 30-something, I’ll probably be 100% fine. I was prone to respiratory infections as a kid and young adult (bronchitis often), and I have asthma, so I’ve felt it before and know the respiratory symptoms in myself.

I am not sure why I feel this way, that my anxiety relents if I just accept it might/probably will happen, but it does. I’m also starting to read news about it less, as reading the constant headlines makes it worse for me.

How do you deal with any fears or anxiety surrounding it?

Check out my brand new book Concept to Conclusion: How to Write a Book and learn everything you need to know to conceive of, outline, write, publish, and market a book!

Sign up for my mailing list for writing and freelancing news and information.

Written by

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store