Category Archives: Anxiety

Pandemic Diary: 18 Feb 2022

Omicron. Rogue variants. Potential World War III on the Russian-Ukrainian border. The mess we’ve left in Afghanistan, which is costing the lives of thousands of innocent people. And the foundational fear: the Earth is understandably trying to get rid of us with decimating storms, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, dead bees, and plagues.

I “manage” all this stress and anxiety by ignoring it. Feeling it all, all the time, would crush me. So I pay no attention to it. I think it’s what most of us do. We’re all living like semi-zombies these days.

Sometimes, like today, I spring a leak and all the fear busts up to the surface. I feel very needy. Then I push it back down again and ignore it until the next leak.

I get some solace from my desktop window image. It’s from San Xavier del Bac, south of Tucson. I took the photo the last time we were able to go visit friends there, which was a couple of weeks before the plague shut everything down. Little did we know.

Pandemic Diary: 6 Dec 2021

This is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Random fact.

I’ve been having an anxiety attack since last night—it’s now 9pm. A 24-hour anxiety attack. The straw that broke my coping camel’s back was Lucie developing incontinence all of a sudden. She’s 9-1/2 years old, so it could just be old age. Or it could be something more serious. My catastrophic thinking always shoots right for death. Everything points to death in my anxiety-disordered brain.

I’m currently obsessed with a British show, “Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year” on YouTube. When I sat down yesterday to watch the next episode, I got really confused because it didn’t seem to follow on the previous one. Then I figured out that it’s probably due to the COVID lockdown. This is the 2020 series, after all. Seeing it go from crowds of people watching the artists in a light-filled rotunda to a set empty of all but the artists, judges, host (only one now, not two—presumably the older woman was at too much risk), and sitters, with all of them 6 or more feet apart, was a brutal reminder of the state of our world right now.

And, of course, there’s the new Omicron variant, with all sorts of unknowns. It seems to be more contagious than even Delta, but we don’t know if it’s more deadly. With vaccines now, and mask-habits, variants are less catastrophic—for those of us who are vaccinated and wear masks. There are still unbelievable numbers of people who refuse to do either. And as long as they’re around, we’ll keep having variants.

So adding my dog’s mortality to all of that was just one anxiety too many. Deep breaths, singing with James and a friend, having a meeting about my added work responsibilities—which boosts my sense of self-worth—and a cocktail at 4pm and a glass of wine at 6:30pm, aren’t fully alleviating the attack yet, but hopefully after a good night’s sleep, everything will look better in the morning. Thank you, Dad, for that sage advice. I heard it a lot from him when I was growing up!

Pandemic Diary: 2 June 2021

It’s been awhile since my last post because I just couldn’t write about the pandemic anymore—I was feeling pandemic exhaustion, or “languishing” as it’s being called now. I was definitely languishing. But I decided to write in the Pandemic Journaling Project again today, so I’ll post it here, too.

They give two questions to answer, so this will be a little long.

Question 1: How are you feeling this week?

After almost a year and a half of maintaining at least 6 ft of social distance, I have a very hard time when a stranger stands closer to me than that, even though I’m fully vaccinated. Today I was in line at the grocery store and a man came up and stood right behind me, at most 2 feet away. It made me really uncomfortable and anxious. Plus he wasn’t wearing a mask, which also doesn’t really matter now that I’m vaccinated, but it just made it worse for my anxiety level. The same thing happened a few weeks ago. I get really angry and want to turn around and scream, “6 feet, people! 6 feet!” But I don’t say anything because I hate to make a scene. And honestly, I’m afraid the person might be aggressive. So I just keep trying to inch forward to get away from them. Of course it doesn’t work because they just inch forward, too. I by nature have a large personal space, so social distancing has been quite comfortable for me with strangers (not with family or friends, though—I want to be able to be close to them). But I was okay with a couple of feet between me and other people. I don’t know how long it will take me to be able to stand comfortably any closer than 6 feet now.

Question 2: What was the biggest event of last week?

The biggest event started before last week—the COVID situation in India is horrendous. And Thailand is suffering from the biggest surge since the pandemic began. Africa doesn’t have enough vaccines to give out, Europe is still restricted in many places, and the U.S.–Canada border is still closed. With the rate of vaccinations going up in the U.S., it’s easy to feel like the pandemic is ending. But it definitely isn’t. And only 41% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, so we’re not anywhere near “herd immunity” yet even here.

I read an article yesterday about the conflict for vaccinated people who want to feel relieved and happy and optimistic for the future, but so many people are still suffering and dying that we can’t just celebrate. And Americans are still dying, too, so it’s really hard for people who have just lost someone to the disease to see other people going around without masks on, having parties, etc., when a loved one just died from COVID.

We’re entering a very complicated time in this pandemic where some people are coming out the other side of it while others are still buried in it. And some people are vaccinated while others aren’t. The wealth gap is blazing in our faces, both domestically and globally. Why are so many Americans vaccinated when India and Africa can’t get enough to go around? Why is India running out of oxygen for treatments? Why are people in poorer communities here in the U.S. not getting vaccinated as quickly as middle and upper class (and mostly White) folks? I hope this horrible suffering will be redeemed at least a little bit by people seeing the injustices that have been exposed to the light, and doing something to change them. I wish I could be more optimistic about that actually happening.