When Anxiety & COVID Collide: Living in the Aftermath of a Pandemic
Anxiety is something that many people deal with. I would venture to say that we all have experienced it at one time or another. When we experience fear of the unknown, this is anxiety. When COVID first hit, there was a tremendous amount of anxiety because no one, not even the medical professionals knew exactly what COVID was or how it was going to affect our families, or our world. The fear of “what is going to happen” gripped many. This anxiety triggered many and caused reactions that were not necessarily anticipated. Seclusion and isolation, excess drinking, depression was all a result of COVID.
Because of the nature of COVID and the constant reminder to “shelter in place”, don’t go in public, stay 6 feet apart, don’t touch anyone, wear a mask . . . . all these instructions given to keep us safe were also a catalyst for fear. Many decided that, because there was no concrete information on the results of COVID, decided to stay home and remove themselves from society, believing this was the best way to stay safe. However, seclusion rarely helps any condition or situation. Yes, it limited the amount of contact had with anyone else, however, the residual effects were depression, suicide ideation, loneliness, and the like.
I remember when COVID first hit, and the entire city was flailing. Stores were closing and only first responders were able to freely travel to and from work. The state was attempting to limit the contact in an attempt to keep people safe. Though many stores were closing, the liquor stores remained open, and some did not know why. Well, if you are dependent on alcohol, you can’t suddenly stop without possible major health issues or death. So, because these stores remained open, more alcohol was consumed. I dare not say I know why people were drinking more. I will say that if you have anxiety, substances do not help. Your fear does not go away because you have taken a drink, or three. You may forget about it temporarily, but it will come back. Do you want to have to constantly drink or take a substance in order to not have anxiety or would you rather explore healthy ways to deal with your fears? I vote for the latter.
Several therapists found that during COVID’s beginning stages, those seeking help because they were experiencing depression increased. Being forced to shut-in brought depression to the forefront of many lives. Those who thrive from social interaction struggled tremendously. But surprisingly for me, those who didn’t need much social interaction, struggle when COVID pushed them to have little to none. Sometimes we are unaware of what we need until it is no longer available.
Don’t do it alone. Understand that people need people. Isolation is not a healthy way to deal with anxiety. We are not built to live life completely alone. If anxiety goes unchecked, it can result in more harmful behavior. Seek someone to help you deal with any fears you may have.
Deal with it. Not dealing with anxiety in a healthy manner can create other issues. When you feel anxiety arise, deal with it. Talk to someone about what you are feeling, and if the need arises, see a professional who can help you address anxiety from the onset.
Do the work. It can be easy to know you need help, but it is often more difficult to admit that to anyone else and even more daunting to do the work needed to address your fear and anxiety. The idea that “real men aren’t afraid” is a lie society has instilled. Real men have fear. Real men have anxiety. Real men admit that they need help. Real men get help. Your manhood is not in question. If you want to experience life more freely, and feel lighter, do the work to conquer anxiety.
At Mind Works Counseling in Lubbock, Texas, we specialize in providing help for those who are experiencing anxiety. We have counselors available to help. Please feel free to give us a call and schedule an appointment.
Learn more about the Anxiety Counseling services we offer.
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