No one needs to be reminded of the pandemic we’re in the midst of. We live it every day. The novel coronavirus has attacked with a vengeance, proving that no one is safe from its ruins.
The actuality of being quarantined and the practice of social distancing have resulted in the hoarding of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and food. The upsurge in the number of people contracting the virus, declining in health, or passing away is a sobering verity.
The hysteria surrounding the virus is extreme, and most of us are stressed out. We are on high alert, which adds to the anxiety experienced by many of us with multiple sclerosis and other chronic illnesses. The intent of this week’s column is to encourage you to remain calm and be careful.
This is undeniably a catastrophic time in our nation. Social distancing has many feeling isolated and overwhelmed. We are instructed to remain in our homes to protect ourselves and others. Our communities are struggling with depression and displacement. Every aspect of our lives, from the economy to the healthcare system, is compromised.
We are cognizant of what is lacking. As people living with MS and chronic illness, we are vigilant in using caution with our care. Compromised immune systems render us human petri dishes to bacteria and viruses.
Many of the self-care, safety precautions, and prevention protocols are already practiced in our communities. Hand washing, sanitizing, and disinfecting are the norm. Staying in when we are ill or requesting that others stay away when they are ill are common practice. However, we know that not everyone follows directions.
Lack of control and fear of the unknown can quickly spiral me into bouts of anxiety. Days ago, I experienced a panic attack. At that moment, I had a “sole session” (pun intended). I cautioned myself to recollect the ruinous effects of fear and anxiety. Both lower immune response and pilfer peace and serenity from my existence. I resolved that much of this pandemic is beyond my mastery.
I would like to share with you a few techniques that help me manage fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Just as the manifestation of our illnesses and symptoms are different, so are our coping mechanisms. Please take what you need.
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