Gaining Perspective: How to Cope With Anxiety During COVID-19

Hiya! How are y'all doing? This is a legit question. How are you doing?

If you want information (scientific and otherwise) about the Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19, please visit the CDC website. We are not here to dispense scientific advice. I repeat, this is NOT A PUBLIC HEALTH CAMPAIGN.

But after the past few days (or weeks, depending on what part of the world you are) of dealing with this unprecedented crises, I figured many of us need perspective. Many of us need something and maybe you are not even sure what you need, so I wanted to write something. And I am free-styling here; this is not planned post at all. So stay with me.

With everything going on, people are really fearful and uncertainty is rising. If there is one thing many human beings can't stand: it's uncertainty. If they are going to die, at least let them know how and preferably when. But now, we are all stuck at home (or at least we should be, SOCIAL DISTANCE, people!) with no inkling about when or how this ends and it's driving people crazy. Ergo, anxiety. Anxious about whether they or their families will get afflicted with COVID-19. Anxious that they could die. Anxious that we will never return to normal, at least not in the near future. Anxious about not having the healthcare they need. Anxious about not getting paid. Some of us are very used to anxiety, and for others, this is unfamiliar territory. Because of that, I want to tackle this first. If you are dealing with anxiety or you already have OCD, then read this. It's funny because as someone who is somewhat of a germaphobe, one of my fears used to be that there are germs on everythang. I hated touching the trashcan. I hated touching people. I hated touching handrails of any kind. I washed my hand every minute. I did not like public food. And to think I was a little right terrifies me. Which is why we have to be really careful. COVID-19 WILL go. But its effects will linger.

So what should you do? Well, first things first, focus on the facts. This is certainly a dangerous and alarming problem. Don't trivialize it, but don't make it more than it is. This also means not obsessing over the news. Newspeople, God bless them, have a job. You should definitely stay informed but control what you consume. I am actively staying away from Twitter (just for a brief while, of course) because everyday I logged on recently, I was sure the world was about to end any minute. Yet, I needed to know what was happening, so I read the news from relatively trusted sources. The thing with media like Twitter is it's a bunch of unqualified, uniformed people rattling off about their own worries. Don't do that to yourself. So choose one source for your scientific information. Mine is CDC. Yours should be whatever you are comfortable with. Now, since it is up to you to choose one source of CREDIBLE information, you must FOLLOW the guidelines. No seriously, FOLLOW the guidelines. Those guidelines provide the modicum of control that we have. This is your time to wield whatever power that control brings by following guidelines. Yes, it affects black people too. No, it's not a hoax created by Democrats to win the election.

Next, be okay with uncertainty. Believe me when I say this was hard for me to type. I am a control freak too. I want to know what will happen next year, next month, next week. I am learning, and you should too that there is a mystery to life  that you and I will NEVER comprehend. I understand the financial challenges many people have to go through now. My heart goes out to people who were already sick and maybe scheduled for surgery and now that's all been postponed. Or people whose files have been lost in the cracks. It's a terrible time for many people. I'm so sorry about this and wish there was something I could do to make it better. The rest of you though, whose main life problem is when next you can party need to have several seats. Learn to accept uncertainty.

And lastly for coping with anxiety, have faith. I can only explain this from a Christian point of view, sorry! But our eternal hope is in Christ. We know victory is ours because of Christ. He has not given us the spirit of fear. You have to believe that no evil will come near you. If this all sounds like BS to you, good for you. It is my own faith and it has empowered me to deal. Yes, I am afraid sometimes too, but that fear can coexist with faith and God is fine with it. Even if you are not a person of any faith or religion, still have faith. I can't really explain why you should in your case, but know that faith overpowers fear all the time.

Also learn to inject a little bit of humor into it. I know, I know. People have died and people are terribly ill. But we have to deal somehow, no? We have to continue our normal somehow. Work like you normally would; let work distract you. Eat well. Exercise. Watch T.V. Donate to food banks or help your community somehow. If the one act of kindness you practice is to not buy all the freaking food at the grocery story, that would be awesome. Do not let fear and anxiety get to you before COVID-19 does.

Now, finally on this extremely long post, take a deep breath, folks. There is a balance between taking precautions and inciting fear. The latter is comparing this (terrible as it is) to World War or the Civil Rights movement. I also see a lot of people saying 2020 is so bad, they want to go back to the 1960s. No. Just no. I will give you some perspective if you did not read your history books or talk to your parents/grandparents. COVID-19 is bad. No, it's terrible even. But it is NOT World War.  If this happened in the 50s and 60s, it would completely destroy us. We are so blessed, so fortunate to live in an era with technological advances to help us. Besides COVID-19, I know 2020 has been hard on individual folks, but you guys, as a society we are making much more progress than our ancestors ever did. We are much less savage and much more compassionate than our ancestors. We are better than they were. No matter how bad this year has been and my heart goes to everyone that has suffered tremendous loss this year, but 2020 is not cancelled. People will have babies this year that they will  cherish forever. People will marry the loves of their lives. Some are already achieving milestones they never even imagined. As for me, I don't want to go back to the 1960s where women were treated like garbage. Don't get me started on how bad black people had it in that era. Again, the scientific discovery and technological advances we have now supersedes what they dreamed of.

I don't know when or how. But I know we will be fine

In the meantime, go forth and isolate, distance, quarantine, and CHILL. And Pray.