amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Ottawa, April 28, 2020 Don’t Panic…Yet

Too nice to stay in, so I went for a walk outside. Ran into a neighbour waiting for a friend who he could walk six feet apart with. We had a conversation. It was good to talk to someone in person, even if we did have to shout across the sidewalk.

I listened to most of the CBC Ontario Today show at noon. A child psychologist was on to help parents and children deal with anxiety surrounding the lockdown. I liked her advice. The main piece of advice she had for everyone was to take it easy on themselves. To give love and hugs as the main thing to help their kids. That makes sense to me. The other piece of advice was to a woman who was dealing with her own anxiety about having to go back to work as a teacher in the Quebec school system, possibly in two weeks. There were a lot of issues the woman raised that the psychologist couldn’t deal with because she didn’t have the information, but the one she was able to deal with was the anxiety. The woman needed to figure out which problem was the most important and try to tackle that. She had to brainstorm possible solutions and then do the best one. Problem-solving skills come in very handy right now. You can listen to the show here.

As someone whose anxiety levels increased when periomenopause started, I am familiar with that feeling of free-floating anxiety and feeling out of control. The first lesson is always to breathe, focus on the breathing and just be in the moment. Once the panic has subsided, I make lists of all the things that I’m anxious about, trying to name them all. It feels less scary when I do this. Once these feelings are on paper, I can usually realize that there are ways to solve a lot of them, and that makes me feel less overwhelmed.

The walk was mostly lovely. It’s sunny and warm out there, the flowers and the couches are starting to bloom. Somehow I ended up a bit further out than I expected and I noticed a bus was coming soon, over at Slater and Booth, so I waited. I haven’t taken a bus since a few days before the lockdown, but I was getting tired and hot, and the bus was about to arrive. A man came to wait also. He was wearing a mask. He was good about staying far away from me, but then he moved to the edge of the curb, pulled down his mask and spat into the road…multiple times! I backed away.

The bus came, he got on and then I got on. We had to go through the back door because the front was for those who needed the ramp only. The yellow caution tape separated the back from the front and there wasn’t much room between passengers. I have to say it was dire. I was shaking a bit. I concentrated on not touching my face. Once I got home I washed my hands like I was Lady effing MacBeth. All I did was go for a walk, get on a local bus. Came home trembling and nervous. This is not a normal time. I washed my hands, I wiped down my phone and all the knobs and bits and bobs I’d touched and more.

Writing these little blog entries helps to keep me grounded and helps to alleviate my anxiety. We’re all dealing with the anxiety of this Covid-19 pandemic, whether it’s something small like some idiot spitting into the road or something larger like worry over whether an elderly loved one is safe in a long-term care home, or worry over money issues. There’s a lot of scary in this time.

I was riding the elevator back up to my apartment, and because I was already anxious, I could feel my claustrophobia and anxiety worsen even more. It does that if I’m already nervous, as if my guard is down or something. I do what I always do when I start to feel panicked in the elevator. I take deep breaths. I count the seconds and I tell myself something. In this case, I found myself saying, “don’t panic now,  save it for when something bad actually happens.” That seemed to help.

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