If the Headlines Are Giving You Anxiety These Days, You Are Not Alone.

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Anxiety is a silent killer. It really truly is. If you’re anything like me, you have moments when your anxiety gets so bad that you surrender to the thought that this is barely a life at all. Why have so much anxiety about things going wrong in your life, when you aren’t even able to live? When your nerves are running this high and you’re this on edge 24/7, it is not favorable. Not even close.

I had this exact thought on Tuesday, 5 months into this pandemic, while sitting in the bath at 7:45 am trying to slow my thoughts and my heart rate before I got in my car to go to work. If you’re wondering if anxiety can ever be so bad that you take a bath at 7am… it can be, and it happens to me all the time. Everyone has their coping mechanisms and this is one of mine. Someone with anxiety has probably been on a rollercoaster throughout this whole coronavirus extraordinaire. Some days are good, some days are bad… and some days are nothing at all, and honestly those days may be the worst of all. The ones where you’re sick of being scared, but you can’t find the ability to be hopeful, so you just cruise through it on autopilot. A lot of this pandemic has been an autopilot situation. It’s exhausting.

If you’re like me, you may have felt like Adam Sandler in the movie ‘CLICK’ where he just presses a button and fast forwards through all of these important moments in his life. Like he’s there at the store, there at the dinner table, there at work… but he’s not there. He’s not present. His body is present but his mind is elsewhere. I’ve struggled with presence my entire life, but these last few months have made it a whole lot harder to have a mind that stays in the moment with you, and doesn’t wander away like a kid you cannot control.

Peaks and valleys, right? That’s how everything in life goes. As things start to reopen, things are low for me. Maybe you relate. Like, you’ll go to a bar with your friends and spend the next 5 days worrying that you contracted coronavirus and you’re going to give it to all of your friends and everyone is going to die because of you, and then the following weekend there you are at the CRAFT rooftop patio like nothing ever happened, and like these thoughts hadn’t plagued you just 24 hours before. That’s what anxiety does though. It hides and sleeps deep down in the pit of your stomach, and it wakes up with your hangover, or as your brain takes in articles online about outbreaks in your city. That’s when anxiety opens its eyes and starts to creep into your mind. That’s when it’s the worst.

This week has been hard for me. This is why I’m writing this, just in case it’s been hard for you too. Moments where it’s hard are the moments you need to know you’re not the only one feeling it. It’s not selfish, it’s just human nature. Being alone and isolated is something (most) people don’t necessarily handle very well. If you’re one of those people, I’m here to tell you I’m feeling it too. The headlines have their ebbs and flows. They’re bad, then they’re mediocre, then there’s good news… then they’re bad again. This week, headline wise, feels bad.

It was a lot of celebrity deaths, a lot of record breaking covid cases all around the world, a lot of what seems like bad news and weird news (like Kanye, can you not?). Today in Calgary there have been several gym closures due to out breaks and potential cases within them, and if you’ve been going to the gym since they reopened in phase 2, this may have made you feel scared and guilty and weird about the risk you’ve potentially run by going out into the real world and living your life after months of isolation. The point I’m trying to get to, though, is just breathe. If you’re like me and blame and guilt find you at every corner just know that you’re living the same life as everybody else, and that everything is going to be totally fine.

The “pandemic anxiety” as I like to call it, is so entirely subjective. It is there one day and gone the next (like spider man, masks and all) and there’s no way to even explain why it hits or where it goes when it leaves. I’m sure that some people have found a way to maintain their chill throughout, and to those people, I salute you. Your mental willpower must be incredible.

If you wake up some days and feel overwhelmed, or if overwhelmed doesn’t even cut it. If you wake up and feel like you’re drowning in things you’re worried about. If you feel like, if you read one more headline your head will explode. If you feel like you’re scared to even leave your house because you don’t know what could happen. If you feel like you’ve played out every single scenario in your head over and over and you keep coming up with the same result. If you miss hugging your mom all the time, or traveling to see family, or being in big groups, or not being scared of stepping outside your front door. If you are overwhelmed, afraid, just straight up don’t know how to feel… it’s a pandemic. You’re allowed to feel these things. You are so valid and so not alone.

I know we’re 5 months in, and you may feel as though you should’ve found your footing by now… but there’s no rule book. We are day by day step by step in this together. I completely feel you and am here for you. Have an amazing weekend, and wash your hands.