Surviving a Pandemic With Anxiety

I’ve had a diagnosed anxiety disorder for fifteen years, though honestly the symptoms go back way longer than that. I’ve seen anxiety described as living life with the final boss music constantly playing in the background – like something terrible is lurking around every corner. It’s something that I and many tens of millions of people around the world deal with on a daily basis. But now? Now it feels like the entire world* is catching up to where we are, and it’s incredibly strange.

*except those spring breakers in Florida. Screw them.

There’s a weird sense of sympathy for those who don’t have an anxiety disorder and genuinely don’t know how to handle the tight chest, shortness of breathe, racing mind, and heightened sense of impending doom that comes with a prolonged panic attack. Like, I’m so sorry. This isn’t a fun thing to deal with. This isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. But suddenly millions of people are joining our anxious clubhouse and I at once want to both welcome them, but also apologize that they have to deal with this shit now. I’m so sorry, man.

In a weird way, those of us who have been suffering from anxiety have gone into this better equipped than the masses. I started disaster prepping back in January. I managed to get some of that toilet paper and hand sanitizer that’s now worth its weight in gold. I’ve been adding to my disaster kit bag by bag for two months and I’m stocked up now. But others? They’re being thrown into this last minute – anxiety gripping them suddenly out of nowhere and sending them running to the store to grab whatever supplies are left before our states get thrown into lockdown.

This doesn’t make me feel any better about the situation. This truly sucks for everyone and I’m so so sorry. Nothing I say or do will ease anyone’s anxiety. All I can say is to please express yourself, even if you think your worries may come off as overblown or reactionary. Because honestly, given the circumstances, that’s totally justified.

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