Is Covid-19 causing anxiety?

With all the news updates, press conferences and social media posts, it’s no wonder the virus is constantly in our thoughts. Panic and anxiety seem to be spreading at the same speed as the virus, maybe faster, which begs the question; are the two things connected?

My answer? No.

Let me explain.

The idea of losing people you love is bound to make anyone feel shaky. And that’s the thing I want to bring your attention to today, that the idea of losing people come with feelings. Sometimes it comes with feelings of love and gratitude, and often it comes with feelings of fear, grief and helplessness.

But the key thing to remember here is that it’s the idea of losing people that gives you the feeling – the idea. It’s not the actual event of losing someone.

A few days ago as the closing prayers were beginning Emmie legged it out of the hall to get ready to collect flower petals from the stage (they throw flowers at Amma’s feet during the Arati final prayer) and collided head on with two boys running in the other direction. The first I knew of it was her cry and I ran out to find her surrounded by concerned adults. A well-meaning swarmini (kind of like a nun) was rubbing her head vigorously. I worked out she’d fallen over and hit her head and she was not happy, especially about being rubbed right where it hurt!

For a while after she was most unhappy and it seemed like she was in pain. I took her home early and she went to sleep, only to throw up an hour or so later. Slightly concerned I searched concussion symptoms on the web. Long story short she threw up again, I took her to the hospital and she was given the all clear.

Then just over 2 days later she threw up most unexpectedly. I was completely shocked and a tsunami of terror seemed to rise from within. I also had to deal with the mess on the floor and on my child and got told off for letting the tap run as I washed her face. For the rest of the day the terror churned inside as I faced up to the idea that I might see my own child die. Now my own death, I can’t say I’m afraid of that; I won’t be around to know anyway. But my daughters, my wonderful, beautiful daughters; well that’s another story.

Of course, her throwing up wasn’t a sign of concussion – she was completely alert and well and her usual jolly self. But although I could see that, I couldn’t stop the reaction that was unfolding with its own momentum.

And I didn’t have to.

What I find most helpful in these times is being able to fall back on my understanding of how feelings are created. This gives me some space (sometimes the smallest space is enough) to see that whilst the movie running in my mind feels very real, it is still just a movie. You see, the movie in my mind wasn’t reality; it was completely separate. It was a movie about my attachment to my children, about my role as a parent, about the grief I feel could consume me, but it had very little to do with what was actually happening.

If I’d been completely caught up in the movie it would have been one hell of a rollercoaster of a day. As it was it was still intense! But knowing it was a movie that ran by itself gave me the freedom to pinch myself every now and again, and keep the movie from taking over my life.

So it played and it played, and I kept looking at it, but each time I looked at it a bit less, and when I wasn’t looking at it I was able to appreciate Emmie was fine and let her laughter touch my heart.

What does this have to do with Covid-19?

Well, in the same way as my emotional ride was nothing to do with Emmie’s health, the emotional ride each of us is on is not caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus. It’s not caused by the increasing death toll. It’s not caused by increasing movement restriction, isolation, food shortages etc. The emotions we have can be correlated to what’s going on outside, but they are not caused by it.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”The emotions we have can be correlated to what’s going on outside, but they are not caused by it.” quote=”The emotions we have can be correlated to what’s going on outside, but they are not caused by it.”]

Whas does this mean for you?

This means feelings of anxiety and panic can change to peace and calm without anything outside changing.

This means your ability to be playful, to be resourceful, to be compassionate towards your children when you’re all stuck in the same room for days does not necessarily have to decrease as time drags on.

This means your ability to feel calm and centred, to feel peaceful, to feel hopeful, does not diminish with the increase in casualties.

This means you have the potential to feel mentally well and stable, even when you’re not physically well, even when you’re maxed out caring for your family and friends, even if you lose someone dear to you.

Dear friends, I wish you all a healthy immune system, and the freedom to sometimes feel anxious but to realise it’s a movie of the mind.

If you want to know more about how I know this as truth please drop me a comment below or message me. And if you would like help seeing this as truth join The Parent Fix Facebook group where I will actively be supporting anyone who needs it.

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