Coronavirus and mental health – how I beat my anxiety in one day
“First time in history, we can save the human race by lying in front of the TV. And doing nothing. Let’s not screw this up.”
How are you feeling about the coronavirus?
I’ve been experiencing a variety of feelings….
From anxiety, confusion, and stress to faith and hope.
Do you feel similar?
What I fear the most perhaps is that I’ll fall into depression. Again.
I’ve been here almost four years ago when I was stuck with my little boys at home. We lived in an apartment in the house with no lift at the time. The stairs had also a tricky angle which made it difficult to carry the buggy downstairs – both physically and mentally.
So I was kind of trapped which was one of many triggers for postnatal depression.
Over time, the boys started to attend the nursery a few hours a week. At the age of three, they got 30 hours free childcare which is when they started to attend nursery daily.
This is when a real change happened.
Finally, I could breathe again. Finally, I had a chance to enjoy the boys properly. I spent much more quality time with them. I felt less anxious. I could work during the day instead of nights…
So naturally, having to stay at home for an uncertain period of time scares the hell out of me.
If you have a history of mental health illness, you know exactly what I am talking about.
It is something you can’t control. It has nothing to do with how strong you are. When it hits you, it hits you and there is only so much you can do about it.
And then, there are also people who panic and panic buy. Seeing empty shelves in the shops and old people struggling to get basic stuff doesn’t add to my mental wellbeing. Or to anyone else’s mental wellbeing for that matter.
To sum up, my anxiety has been quite intense.
There are moments when I cried and felt like I wouldn’t cope. There were moments when I couldn’t breathe. When a single thought of the unknown drove me mad.
If it hadn’t been for my past experience with depression and my husband Yaw, I don’t know if I would even get to the point of writing this post. I might be hiding under my duvet wrapped in my anxious thoughts right now.
But I am not.
Thank god for that!
You know, the experience with depression taught me so much. Such as, how important it is to talk about your feelings and to allow yourself to feel down.
So I was open about it. I admitted I’d felt anxious and scared.
I really did…
Until one sunny morning, when an idea occurred to me and my mindset shifted literally in seconds. (Well, I am not sure if it actually was sunny, but it definitely felt like it in that moment)
Suddenly, I thought: ‘Wait a minute, this is actually a great a opportunity for you!’
In that instant, a list of all the things I’d be able to do only thanks to this experience, started to build in my head. As though all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
I am not trying to diminish the seriousness of the situation. Of course, this is an extremely worrying time and we cannot change what is happening.
What we can change though, is how we see it.
I realised that I can make a conscious decision of how I’m going to get through this.
We all can. We can choose to be miserable or see this is as an opportunity for growth.
Truth is, we are creatures of habit. We spend 90 % of our daily lives doing things subconsciously. We are doing the same things over and over again…. Often without even realising it.
So when these patterns are taken away from us, it is a great opportunity for us to create a new reality.
Try and think of the things you have always wanted to do, but you have always put off. Things you thought you should do or wished to do….
Did you want to start to practice meditation? Did you want to slow down? Work less? Spend more time with your children? Work on your mindset? Start living in the present? Spend more quality time with your children?
This is a great opportunity to do it.
When we start changing one habit, we can start changing another habit, and then another habit… And we can become something we didn’t even know was imaginable.
If you are scared, that is absolutely fine. This is a new situation for each of us so of course, we are scared. But it can be a good scare.
Remember when you changed school, when you got your heartbroken, when you fell pregnant, when your little one was born… All these (and many more) milestones felt like a roadblock at the time.
But when you look back at these milestones now, you learn they all led to something beautiful.
And so will this in time.
So, what I want you to do now, is to put together a little plan. It doesn’t have to be anything major – just a simple plan of your goals during this once-in-a lifetime experience.
Then write down the concrete steps to achieve these goals. And make sure to follow them. But you need to take that first step!
What I’d wanted to do for years was slow down and stop (or at least reduce ) overthinking. A few days in, and I already have done both. Furthermore, I even started to be more organised, which, I’d thought, was impossible.
I promise you, if you choose to see this as an opportunity, your feeling – and life – will change dramatically.
If you want to go even deeper, you can see this as an opportunity to see ourselves as a world community… To work together and support each other…
The list is endless.
Isn’t it wonderful?
Remember that life isn’t happening to us. Life is happening for us.
Always has and always will.
Can’t believe I almost forgot.