Anxiety Disorders & Coping with Coronavirus
Anxiety in and of itself is not always a bad thing. In fact, at its core, anxiety is a normal human response to stressful or difficult situations that helps a person prepare to respond in a more adaptive and healthy way. Some people are able to tolerate normal degrees of anxiety, and can cope with the challenges they face. However, people who have anxiety disorders have a great deal of trouble coping with even “normal” levels of anxiety.
And, during the current coronavirus pandemic, everyone is facing dramatically increased challenges. This includes the inherent anxiety that accompanies the fear, uncertainty, isolation and financial burdens of these unprecedented times. Not only are these difficulties triggering or exacerbating anxiety disorders – but Covid-19 is giving rise to anxiety issues in people who could previously manage stress in a healthy way.
Coronavirus & Pre-existing Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can take many different forms – and can affect individuals in a variety of different ways. You may have already been “diagnosed” with a specific anxiety disorder. Or, you may have been suffering with an anxiety disorder without seeking professional help, and so have not been diagnosed.
Anxiety disorders are generally classified into five different categories:
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): chronic anxiety or exaggerated worry – even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors or “rituals” (compulsions).
• Panic Disorders: unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear – along with physical symptoms such as chest pains, heart palpitations, shortness of breath or dizziness.
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): develops after a terrifying event or traumatic incident – such as a violent assault, disaster, accident, or military combat.
• Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations.
Therapist Support for Anxiety Disorders during Coronavirus
Seeking the help of a therapist is the best way to deal with anxiety due to Coronavirus (or due to any other challenge.) Contrary to what many people think, therapy is not just “talking about your feelings,” as it is simplistically shown on television or in movies. A trained therapist can actually help you manage and reduce your feelings of anxiety with the help of specific, clinically proven, psychological techniques.
When you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or debilitated with worry, it could be that while some of your feelings are from the present coronavirus challenge, much of the anxiety may also stem from challenges you have faced in the past. A therapist can help you clarify specifically where your debilitating feelings of anxiety are coming from.
Doing this work with a therapist can enable you to identify and separate out the feelings that stem from the past, so that they do not affect or govern how you feel in the present.
And, a good therapist can help you learn to reassure and remind yourself that you have the resources — both internal and external — to manage your feelings and reactions to the current coronavirus situation. In other words, a therapist can help you take the first step toward managing anxiety: believing in yourself and believing in a course of action that you can set in motion.
Mantras for Coronavirus Anxiety
You and your therapist can develop a personal “mantra” or “reminder statements” to use whenever the anxiety begins to creep up on you. Your mantras can be something like this:
• “I know I can manage this. I will take control of the situation by doing things I know are helpful such as …” (which could be working out, calling a friend, delivering food to the elderly, etc.)
• “I know that in managing my feelings I can always seek support from these people ….” (which could be a close friend, a sibling, your therapist, etc.)
• “I am used to feeling anxious or helpless, but that was then and this is now.”
• “By taking control and using these strategies, I will be able to calm my nerves in order to live my life, making good, healthy, productive choices.”
Coronavirus Anxiety IS Manageable
Together with the support of a therapist and others in your life, this type of self-guidance WILL work for you to help quell anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.
Remember, since the beginning of human history people who have experienced tremendous adversity and trauma have mustered the strength to forge ahead and live happy, productive lives. It is human nature to survive and thrive – but for people with anxiety disorders this can be exponentially more difficult.
However, seeking therapy can help you separate out feelings from the past, and help you to remind yourself that you DO have the strength and ability in the present to prevail, and set a path forward for carrying on.
Oakland County Therapist – Coronavirus Anxiety
Telehealth / Telemedicine Video Appointments Available
There is no need to feel helpless or alone if you are dealing with anxiety or depression related to the challenges of the current coronavirus pandemic. I am available to talk to you via video chat (sometimes called telehealth or telemedicine). And, insurance companies have been very good about covering this type of treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
I am an experienced anxiety and depression therapist in the West Bloomfield area – and I am here to help you. With a warm, thoughtful, supportive and caring approach I will be happy to work with you to help you deal with the emotional and psychological toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
Talk to a Telehealth / Telemedicine Therapist About Coronavirus Trauma: 248-476-4515