I don’t know about you, but when I am facing uncertainty, I play out many scenarios in my mind. What if Jean-Claude gets the novel coronavirus? What if I get it? Will our symptoms require one of us to be hospitalized?
There is also the fear of not enough equipment at the hospital or not enough ICU beds, or ventilators. Those are the concerns of many, but for us, if one of us goes into isolation at the hospital, I will lose my primary source of support in managing schizophrenia.
If I am in isolation at the hospital, Jean-Claude will not be allowed to visit me. I don’t know how being in a hospital surrounded by strangers, without any family or friends will impact me. I don’t think I would fair well.
If Jean-Claude goes to the hospital and into isolation, I know that my symptoms will increase dramatically because of stress. Not seeing him and not being able to judge if he is improving or declining in health will make the situation even worse. Not only will my symptoms be exacerbated, but the person who helps me manage those symptoms will not be present—a tsunami of worst-case scenarios.
I know that most people are experiencing elevated levels of stress right now, but for caregivers and those who rely upon them, the level of stress can be challenging to manage. I know everyone talks about self-care, which is currently over a billion-dollar industry, but most people’s ideas of self-care (watching Netflix, drinking a glass of wine, taking a bubble bath) would do little or nothing to help out in this situation. Coupled with the stress is social isolation. In an ideal world, caregivers have help from family members or friends who can give them a break or carry some of the load. Right now, most of us, if we can, are practicing social distancing.
All of these things add up to more than just a problematic scenario. There is a possibility of a real crisis here for many people. What are all of you doing to take care of yourself and the people you love? Do you have an emergency plan in place? Do you have people checking in on you virtually? What are you doing, thinking? I would like to hear some creative ideas if you have any.