Anxiety and the New Normal

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

What better time to get back to blogging than when the world is invaded by a new virus that no one understands, and everyone's routines are disrupted?! These times are a breeding ground for anxiety, which just so happens to be the topic of this fine blog - you know, in case you've forgotten in the nine months since I last posted. Whoops...

I'm one of many people currently working from home to avoid further spread of COVID-19. I always thought it would be great to work from home - you can watch TV while doing your work, you don't have to worry about childcare, you don't have the commute adding to your time away from your family every day... 

Let me just say, I WAS WRONG

I miss my routine! I miss my work friends stopping by my desk to chat, breaking up the day. I miss my coworkers physically handing me work to take care of. I miss going upstairs to check the mail, and walking across campus to take care of something. I also extra super miss working with my student club, and hate that something that has helped these students through their time in college has been taken away - some for the rest of their time at this institution. 

I also miss working without my cat walking across my keyboard, my dog licking her crotch very loudly two feet away, and my son leaning on me to see what I'm doing - though that last point is pretty cute. 

Most people with anxiety and other mental health issues really struggle with being taken out of their routine. For us, routines help us feel some sort of normalcy. For folks who rarely feel normal (whatever that is), that's a really big deal - especially for folks like me who rely on routine to remember to take our meds. 

Though I'm an introvert and value my alone time, I also thrive on having human contact. Sometimes I'm happy to be alone all day, being in charge of how little or how much interaction with the outside world I have. But when I get lonely, I get depressed. It doesn't take a lot for depression and anxiety to take over and make me lose rational thought. 

While my rational brain knows my boyfriend isn't texting a lot because he's keeping himself busy, anxiety and depression convince me it's because this time has shown him he's fine without me and has realized how dispensable I am. (Don't worry, I spoke to him and he assured me he was just taking care of some things and just didn't have much to say since he'd been at home all day. YAY communication!)

Then there's that great gal I've been talking to, but have yet to actually meet. Thanks to Coronavirus, our first date was canceled and it'll probably be at least a month before we can meet. Anxiety has convinced me in that time she'll realize I'm not actually all that interesting, and probably not worth meeting. I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Trying to stay positive on that front! 

So, my advice to my fellow spoonies is this: 

Try to stay positive. 
Take your meds! 
Do what you can to establish routine. 
Reach out if you need help, or even just to chat. 
Airplane rules - take care of yourself first - you're no good to others if you're not well yourself. 
Wash your hands and don't touch your face! I know how hard that is for those of us with anxious tics, like touching our faces. I'm guilty of that, so I'm trying to make sure I keep my hands clean. 

Stay safe and stay sane, my friends. 


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