July 19, 2021

Anxiety-ridden, through a Pandemic.

Anxiety in times of Covid.

When this pandemic started, we all thought it would not last. But then people were dying all around us…and here we are over a year later. The virus is still spreading, but vaccines are helping…and I am still riddled with anxiety.

My anxiety before this pandemic was at a level I could handle. Coronavirus hit and I went to the doctor for meds to help, even though I knew it was not the answer for me. Like everyone else, I was freaking out.

I started working on my art more. When I was done, I noticed my anxiety had eased. Then I started practicing drawing, painting more, and trying new techniques, and writing more than ever before in my life. I threw myself down an art hole. I was working through this pandemic as an artist …until that did not work either, and I knew I needed more help.

Anxiety is a tricky widget. It has no timeline, no rules, it comes in with a rush and leaves like a trickle.

I was just trying to get through the day. I struggled with breathing. I felt sucker-punched by this pandemic. I was still going to work, but a lot of my colleagues had gone to work at home. I was panic-stricken in my office. I wanted to shut the door and hide under my desk. Asking me to step into someone else’s office instantly placed me in a panic attack. Meeting a new person at work set me off—maybe they had covid. Why would I want to meet anyone?

As we moved through this pandemic, I noticed people singing out their windows, doing aerobics on their roofs. People were still trying to live their lives. I needed to do something, so I started hiking again. I figured there were not a lot of people in the woods. I would go to state parks and be there when they opened. There are fewer people at the crack of dawn than later in the day in the park.

My watch told me I had hiked the length of Italy. I snort-laughed at that. I think it was the first time I laughed in months.

Perhaps you have dealt with your anxiety differently, but I know we are all in this together in figuring out the right next step. Maybe you took up kayaking or something else where you were alone, yet still out in the world.

Figuring out what works for you and your anxiety is key. For me it was not the solitude of the pandemic, it was encountering other people I did not know or trust that threw my anxiety into panic mode.

As we struggle to emerge out the other side of this pandemic each and every one of us has dealt with this differently. We only know what is right for us. Families went to the homes of loved ones and stayed for a year, or more. Others have not been out of their homes since this all happened. I hope you have found something that works for you, and your anxiety.

If nothing else, write it out, write how you coped with all the chaos or how you did not cope with it at all and are riddled with anxiety too. Writing my thoughts down, my feelings, and my emotions helped me see how covid affected me. It helped me get clarity, which helped me find solutions.

My anxiety is still there. It lays in wait for me to freak out again about this pandemic, but I have made my peace with it.

Well, for now. I hope you have too, but if not find something that helps. Reading, writing, art…perhaps working with clay? There is a solution out there for you. I pray you and that salve meet soon but knows it will appear only when you are ready to greet it.

Now, if you will excuse me, my anxiety and I need to have a talk.

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