April 4, 2020

Anxiety

I woke up during the night and my mind started churning, worrying about family and friends staying healthy, worrying about the economy and people’s losses, worrying about people being isolated and alone with their fears. Since this pandemic began, I was relatively immune from the worries that most of you have been having, because I was working either on call or to set up the workflows for managing COVID-19 patients. By the time I was in bed, I was too tired to ruminate much, except for an occasional panic about my health or Jamie’s.

But now I have a 3 day weekend, or at least 3 days not at my office. Still, I have had work and video meetings, but I stayed home. Just like the rest of you have been doing. Wow. We have been doing this physical distancing for close to a month and will do it for at least another month, probably longer.

Make no mistake, it has made a huge difference in Seattle. We have flattened the curve. The hospitals are prepared and not over run. Good job, everyone! And let your loved ones in other areas know how well it works. It pains me to see other states and cities be resistant to these changes.

Here we are, doing the right thing, but our lives and many of our livelihoods are forever changed. How best can we survive it? Especially when we are mourning, not just for what we have lost, but for friends and family. I found another great article from the Harvard Business Review on the contagion of fear, and how we can be influenced by it and influence others, in unspoken but perceived ways. Brene’ Brown has a helpful talk about falling apart and giving permission to feel these hard feelings. They are real and being honest about them is a good first step in managing our situations. All over the Internet and news sites there are links to helping all of us with these emotions. Creating new rituals are powerful healers too. I have found that writing everyday, even just in a journal, has power to help me from the anxiety that gets me nowhere. Sometimes the simplest thing to do is to reach out and help someone else.

https://hbr.org/2020/03/the-contagion-we-can-control

https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/04/social-isolation-mental-health-help/

https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-on-comparative-suffering-the-50-50-myth-and-settling-the-ball/