I’m on the tail end of a panic attack. It was so bad; I had to increase my medication today (something I try not to do unless I have to). I wish I could sob. Not cry, as I do many times each day now, but let the tears and snot fly. I need a release.
The tears that I cry on and off all day are from hearing stories about people dying alone in isolation. I also cry when I hear about all the kind things people are doing right now, like bringing groceries to seniors or families visiting through windows at nursing homes. There are so many sad and sweet things happening right now, there is no shortage of emotion, but I need something more than misty eyes or a single tear that rolls off my chin.
The stress I feel is like a pressure cooker. The tears I cry throughout the day are a small release valve, but I need to pop the lid off the pot and let all of the steam out. Staying home isn’t stressful for me. I stay home all the time, but thinking about getting the illness or a loved one getting the virus and not having a hospital bed, enough nurses or doctors, or no available ventilator builds up the pressure.
The stress of doing everyday tasks like getting the mail, going to the supermarket, taking the trash down the hall, or going to the garage to do laundry, these things, once easy and that required no thought, have become stressful, and they require special preparations and precautions. Everything is harder during this stay-at-home order.
I asked my “friends” on social media what the saddest movie they have ever seen is because I need a terrific cry. I honestly do. I don’t know why the level of stress has kept me from sobbing, but it has, maybe it is all the adrenaline.
I have my first telehealth call with my psychiatrist on Thursday. I am going to ask him to recommend a therapist. I feel like a therapist could help me get through this difficult time. Not everything is terrible, I love having my husband home, but I don’t love the reason why he is at home. The uncertainty of information is hard to handle.
Some officials say that California is successfully flattening the curve, but at the same time, they say things are going to be horrible over the next few weeks. What does that mean? If we are flattening the curve, then isn’t that a good sign, and shouldn’t we be able to avoid shortages and a catastrophe in our health system? No answers, or no certain answers. We are all living on hope.
Typically, hope is such a positive and welcome thing in my life, but I have to admit, I’d be happier with facts and statistics right now. Show me graphs, numbers, and science. Today, it was rough. I’m taking steps to make it better (I plan to watch a tear-jerker before bed), and I’m seeking out my treatment team and looking to add another member to that (a therapist).
If you are feeling the pressure, the stress, the uncertainty, and it is getting the best of you, please find a way to take care of yourself. We all have to be creative about what we can and can’t do to protect our mental health during this time. Reach out if you need to reach out. Watch a sad or funny movie if you think it will help. Don’t forget those who help care for you under normal circumstances like your primary care physician, your psychiatrist, and others. It is an excellent time to use all of your available resources to make sure you are okay. It’s not forever, but it is right now.