All I Can Do Now is Be Anxious

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Don’t touch your face. [Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash]

I wish I could write an eloquent thinkpiece right now that could bring comfort to others, and more than anything to myself. I wish I could focus my attention to collecting data or on the flip side making a funny video to help people laugh. But honestly this is my brain right now:

anxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxietyanxiety!!!

I like to think of myself as a woman of science and don’t usually give in to fear mongering, but I think what’s getting to me the most is first hand accounts from current patients with COVID-19. I know that at 26 years old I’m in relatively good health, but I also know I’m an overweight asthmatic who has to take corticosteroids for her asthma twice a day. I’m scared for it to reach me, even though I know that symptoms are different for everyone. For all I know it could hit me and be just like a mild flu, or maybe I won’t even show symptoms. Who knows, I might have even already had it. But there’s a little voice in my head often saying: for all you know, you could be dead next week. And here, let me detail step by step what’s going to happen to you. And then I cry and work on my will and have myself a panic attack and then take myself through my coping steps: wash my face, listen to a meditation on my phone, and write. Even if it’s gibberish, writing helps.

Another thing that’s helped a lot is routine. I’m still working from home since in the animation industry we can get a lot of things done remotely, and I am deeply grateful for the schedule (and the paycheck!). My parents and sister are quarantining as a unit a few miles away, and though I’m not with them at least I have a roommate, which helps too. I talk to my boyfriend every day and I’m video chatting with friends and loved ones, and overall I feel okay.

But it’s always there.

Anxietyanxietyanxietyanxiety. And it can feel like I’m suffocating. Which, my brain tells me, is a good idea of what might be up ahead.

But I’m going to try not to think about it today. I’m going to finish my smoothie and go on a short walk around my neighborhood. Then I’m going to come home and read some materials for the work meetings tomorrow. Then I’m going to do my home workout (today is lower body day, because if I die my booty should at least be poppin’). Then I’ll eat some more and watch TV or play video games. I have to keep reminding myself it’s one day at a time. Baby steps. One foot in front of the other. Don’t touch your face. Wash your hands.

Breathe in, and breathe out.

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