One of my friends from NYC shared with a text-chat group that I am in that she is feeling overwhelmed with all of the uncertainty and is having trouble sleeping. She mentioned that several of her friends have had to go on psychiatric medications (SSRIs & beyond) because they were feeling so anxious.
While I am not privy to all of the details in her friends’ lives (at all), knowing her and her area, I don’t think the anxiety is about finances/logistics. I think it is more about the news cycle, the virus itself, and — most of all — uncertainty.
I really feel for her. And — the usual COVID-19 disclaimer — there are many (MANY) out there who have very good reasons to be anxious. Those with underlying medical conditions or loved ones who do. Those in unstable industries. Those who are unable to focus on their otherwise stable jobs at normal levels because of lack of childcare/school.
BUT, for whatever reason, I am not feeling particularly anxious on a day to day basis. I am actually . . . not sure why, in a way. I am not on medication (well, I do take an OCP for PMDD which has helped me IMMENSELY). My job has been more stressful in some ways including in-person hospital duties; I’m back on call again next week. I did initially mourn the loss of anticipated events on my calendar (I’m largely over that now!) and also went through a period of bingeing on news early in the pandemic. It made me feel terrible.
I honestly think that I am not that anxious because I have just made myself too busy doing other things. Work things, kid things, and definitely plenty of my own personal things (like the post you are reading right now). There is a reason that I am focused so intently on daily habits, rituals, creating order in my Hobonichi.
I barely read news anymore. I do still listen to NPR’s Up First and that seems to be an adequate dose for the day. When I accidentally-on-purpose pull up CNN, NOTHING good comes out of it.
Some might accuse me of putting my head in the sand, or fiddling while Rome is burning or something. But I am not the president or a political figure. I am a parent, a physician, a medical education leader, a writer (sort of), a podcaster. If I can continue to be productive and calm, this is going to have more positive impact on the people I lead / teach / parent than any sort of political activism I can imagine participating in (and let’s face it; most news browsing sessions or text debates are more likely to impact sleep than spur on productive political action).
So I plan on going with my current efforts to sublimate and focus on other things (while following recommendations and guidelines of course). I know that not everyone will be able to use this strategy, depending on challenges they are facing. I also know that having stable childcare (and 2 stable jobs) is a HUGE factor in my current calm; I am beyond grateful for this.
Curious how others are feeling. Because in some ways, I feel weird or guilty for my feeling-okayness. Mostly though I am just relieved.
My COPING MECHANISMS:
Ben Franklin-esque tracking
Appreciating the good moments w/ the kids & Josh
And 80 Day Obsession. About to dive into day #3. Wish me luck!