anxiety, compassion, coronavirus, COVID-19, epidemic, mental health, mental illness, pandemic, panic, panic attacks, xanax
I’m on Xanax. Been on Xanax for a while now. It helps me sleep, so I take one at night with the rest of the handful in my cocktail. Every so often I have a random panic attack, and I take one then. Soldiering on, so it goes, etc. But yesterday was different.
See, my generalized anxiety disorder tends to not get triggered at work, because I’m too busy to live in my head. But yesterday felt like a movie. You know what I mean, I betcha, because you’re starring in one too. It’s the Doomsday movie with the mysterious virus which decimates the human population.
Because talking about our feelings is not only OK but encouraged at staff meeting (I’m a peer specialist), I admitted to feeling just plain scared–of what, I don’t know. And others agreed. As the day wore on, and we poured ourselves out upon the two or three people who made it in, it was hard not to notice the deserted halls. Panic hung in the air like an impending thunderstorm, with the same sense of pressure on the soul.
The coup de grace came when our director came in and announced that as of Monday, we would be closed until further notice. The phone support line folks can come in, but not those of us who do face time. Instead, my boss and I will spend some quality time doing some overdue things like writing an employee manual. Hi-ho. I’m trying to look at this as a weird Lenten vacation, sort of like Spring Break, only without the cheerfulness.
This is not the first pandemic H. sapiens has endured, and it won’t be the last. 9/11 showed us how cohesive our society is, and so far the 1918 Spanish flu makes this viral reaper look like a pitiful tryhard. So have some faith, beloveds. My hope is that the survivors take some lessons to heart, primarily that once expressed by the old saw “Man proposes; God disposes.” I expect to be one of the survivors, but I’m high risk, so time will tell. We are now all on an adventure; I am hoping the treasure at the end is an increased mutual trust and compassion.
Which is all very well, but my anxiety level is through the roof. (It didn’t help the bing-bing-bing that I was out of my ADHD meds yesterday.) So I have messaged my shrink like a good girl, and I am about to start applying all the non-allopathic tools I’ve assembled: Meditation, art, writing, breathing (I was probably on the edge of hyperventilating yesterday from all that deep oxygen intake), listening to music, and *sigh* processing my feelings.
Which sucks as a general thing, but fear is an old, old friend.