I was surprised by an opinion piece by CNN’s Chris Cillizza about his anxiety about Covid and why it’s growing now. He talked about how his personal struggles with pre-pandemic health anxiety and compulsive behavior worsen now as he tries to navigate himself and his family through the intricate complexities of Covid’s mobile goal. .
“I’m exhausted from not knowing it constantly,” he says. “Every new day seems to me to carry a bleak prediction of what the future holds, and I’m tired. I’m a child of habit. I love knowing what it will bring the next day. With the pandemic, it seems like the situation is changing.” hour “.
As a psychotherapist and as a human being with my own inclination towards anxiety, this resonates with me and I know it for many others as well. Everyone can relate to Covid’s “fatigue,” but what Chris is talking about is different. If you do not have a mental health vulnerability across the spectrum of anxiety or a history of threats to your physical, emotional, or psychological security, you may not understand those who are activated again now as we move forward. the murky waters of Covid. this time with Omicron.
I have noticed that there may be a very harsh or contemptuous response to those who express fear or a strong need to follow the recommended security guidelines to avoid getting the virus. You may feel very isolated if you are part of a social group that does not seem to have the same concerns. The same goes for if you’re in a marriage where you and your partner aren’t aligned with your Covid paradigm. What does this mean for the family? How do you model aligned behavior with your children if your partner is out of sync?
Many are simply above and as a coping mechanism, they have simply put their head back underground. However, others are defiant: “I’m not going to live my life driven by fear!” And they continue to do as they have done. It’s hard to believe that it was two summers ago that I wrote this piece, Couples: Virus Fear vs. Virus Fatigue and how couples can best navigate their differences on this topic. Let’s talk about this again, but thankfully, with what appears to be less virus threat (for vaccinators) and more tools and wisdom to handle the situation. Although we still need to understand the potential impact of Long Covid (post-Covid syndrome), even with a mild or asymptomatic case. (Personally, this is enough to motivate me to continue doing my best to avoid Covid for my family).
Have compassion for people with Covid anxiety. Because?
Although we are not in the same place as a year ago, fortunately, there are still many unknowns about the total impact on society of the current variant. “Not knowing” what’s coming can be very difficult for people with anxiety. They often organize their lives around perceived control as much as possible (though often not helpful). The rapid spread of Omicron may be making them feel out of control. Keep in mind that some of these feelings may also be related to legitimate life concerns, such as questions about employment impact and financial security.
People who have been traumatized may be internalizing this latest highly infectious wave and intense news coverage around them in the same way. Your brains and nervous systems are possibly in a fight or flight mode, which could seem like hypervigilance, ruminating aloud, worry, impatience, or the expression of other challenging emotions. Imagine how you might feel in an emergency. They may feel this way chronically right now.
People with Covid anxiety may have valid health problems that put them or their families at greater risk. I’m pretty sure most people will move mountains to try to protect their loved ones if they can. Wouldn’t you?
How can you help.
The most important thing you can do is do NOT. Avoid telling them that they are paranoid or overly tense, which makes it even more painful for someone who suffers emotionally to feel disconnected from you. Consider it an emotional abandonment in your time of need. Rather, validate your fears and offer an ear. Even if you don’t understand. The complication of this could be in the way you are dealing with Covid. If you are in a more challenging mode to avoid your feelings about the pandemic, you may not be in the best place to hear them. Know this. Think about it and maybe even explain it to them. People have different ways of dealing with psychological challenges and sometimes face them.
Think of relaxing activities that you can do together that can also serve as distractions. Quality connectivity, family board games, and TV shows can help them stay away from their worries. Give them lots of hugs. He suggests that they may reduce their media consumption a bit.
Going back to Chris Cillizza’s piece, it reminds me of the importance of authenticity. Sharing vulnerability during difficult times can be calming and normalizing for those who may now feel alone in their experiences. We know that we are a country of divergent narratives that, at this point, is proving to be a challenge. But where we cross is in our humanity.
How do you feel about being human? No matter what happens around you, never forget your humanity. OUR HUMANITY.
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