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The Domino Effect: Coronavirus and Anxiety

The devastation of the Coronavirus pandemic has left many around the world unsure, anxious and worried about what the near future will look like.  As someone with an anxiety disorder, I find that self-isolation can have a negative effect on the brain. Personally, when I go through deep periods of anxiety, I retreat into myself in order to cope with what it is I’m experiencing. Spending alone time with myself enables me to reflect, to calm down and to understand what I’m going through with a clearer mindset.

With the addition of social distancing, it feels like the world is closing in; I know that for me, my walks to class at Lesley were my moments to reset before jumping back into the flow of lectures and conversations with friends. Being outside in the fresh air helped lift my spirits, making me feel more connected with the world surrounding me.

In this time of crisis, the unknown is extremely anxiety-inducing to individuals who already experience anxiety on a near-regular basis. The limited outlet of social interaction in the physical setting, having the ability to converse with people in person or to see friends for the few minutes you have before you have to run to class- all of these little moments during the day are now unable to happen; the sudden onset of
change propelled by the coronavirus is where my anxiety is stemming from.  The rapid rate of how fast life can change in the blink of an eye and the adjustments necessary, but stressful nonetheless, can create a domino effect, with a linked chain of anxiousness and uncertainty.

For me, the unknown is the fuel to the rocket that my anxiety and depression ride on, making it easier for both to overwhelm me completely.
While I know that this pandemic won’t last forever, the uncertainty surrounding just when it will all settle down is what makes me feel the most nervous.  Meanwhile, I have found a few coping strategies:  I’ve been painting, and I’ve also been talking to people on FaceTime or Zoom.  That really helps. I also hold onto the hope that we will all do our part to make this virus settle down by continuing to social distance. But it’s also important to reach out whenever we feel most alone.  Never forget that communication is a powerful tool, even more powerful during times like these.  That’s why it’s so important to continue to connect with others, so we can continue to help each other through this difficult and uncertain time.

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