Listen Up – I’m Scared!
I see the daily reports on television. People are worried and rightly so. They are concerned about their jobs, finances, whether or not they can visit loved ones, or if they can keep their holiday booking.
What I don’t hear is anyone acknowledge fear of catching the virus!
In this blog I scratch the surface of Covid fears from the perspective of my own lived experience. From looking after the elderly relatives, too missing grandkids to continuing therapeutic work with clients.
Impact of a pandemic
Well here’s the thing, yes I’m concerned about the economy, worried about my business, (which by the way is not and has not been entitled to any financial support) I’m also extremely concerned about the impact on mental health.
But, I am also scared of Covid 19.
I’m scared I may die if I catch Covid!
There you go I said what others don’t seem to be saying.
I don’t want to die, or to be seriously ill and I don’t know how I will experience Covid if I catch it. So, yes:
I’m fearing the unknown.
If I catch it and don’t take seriously ill, well that’s ok then isn’t it? Well no – its not.
We hear more and more about transmission and longer term effects. I don't want to risk my clients health no more than I want them to infect me. I have a social responsibility to safeguard and therefore am constantly aware of the need to minimise risk.
I also take care of elderly relatives trying to ensure they are ok and that all their needs are met.
Practically this means shopping and maintaining contact to keep them mentally well and surviving isolation.
Technically my father in law is in my bubble because my parents live together. But in reality, my mum is in the most need. Her care needs are far greater than those of my father in law who is reasonably independent in the main. So, I have to knowingly and willingly bend the rules for the greater good. Weigh up the risk of mums deteriorating mental health against possibly infecting her with Covid.
Simply put I know that without symptoms I could easily transmit the virus to the very people I am trying to protect and support.
Constant awareness and hypervigilance
This is a constant fear, every time I walk around the block with mum to keep her physically moving, every time my father insists I read this or do that and he mocks the mask I wear and refuses to wash his hands. Every time my father in law edges closer and closer as we talk and I’m conscious that I have felt unwell for a day or so.
This state of constant fear and constant risk assessing is draining. It increases the anxiety levels of each and every one of us.
What if I die?
Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum. What if I catch it and am seriously ill?
Who will look after the elderly relatives then? What if my loving husband catches it? Chances are if one of us catches the virus then we both will. His cardiovascular system is much stronger than mine but that doesn’t mean he will escape serious illness or even death.
Fear of the unknown.
I don’t want to die, nor do I want to be ill or facing a long recovery. I want to look forward to happy times with my husband and grandkids. I want to focus on building my new business, helping clients and delivering wellbeing programs to the community.
So how do I deal with the unspoken fears?
???????? "Its a hoax I tell you"
I can bury my fears.
Pretend they don’t even exist.
I can focus on all of those people who have tested positive without so much as a symptom in sight.
I can turn the statistics to my advantage create a more positive view.
After all, if 1/100 are getting Covid then I would be unlucky to be that one in a hundred, wouldn’t I?
If I was that unlucky then how much more unlucky would I have to be to be ill, or seriously ill? The chances of that sound small now don’t they?
Or I could believe its all a hoax. Dreamt up by a consortium of international leaders, it’s a conspiracy to make us all compliant as our liberties are eroded bit by bit.
That’s it, I have nothing to fear you see!
But I do and I don’t hold with the conspiracy theorists. So here's what I do:-
I allow myself to feel fear and uncertainty.
Its only to be expected. I'm juggling my needs against those of loved ones against those of clients and the business. And all of this against a backdrop of the unknown.
But there is a reality I have to keep in mind and it’s this:
‘There are many things I cannot control, or have no control of, so my energy is better spent focusing on the things within my control’.
And that is what I do.
I listen to reputable news, but don’t get obsessed with it.
I do what I can but accept I cannot do everything for everyone.
I maintain a realistic balance between risk and need.
I cannot prevent my old folk in their 80’s from deteriorating. That’s out of my control.
I have no control over the actions of others but can minimise risk when I come into contact with them.
Knowing what I can control and taking charge of those things gives me a sense of empowerment.
What this means in reality is that I work on improving my fitness so that if I do catch the virus I have a better chance of recovery.
I minimise risk wherever I can, work with a screen between me and clients or work online, wear masks when caring for parents, disinfect, ventilate, avoid unnecessary contacts and give myself the same considerations I would give to any client.
Do I miss my grandkids? Absolutely.
Do I wish this was all over? Yes to that too.
Am I going to work on doing the best I can and to be the best I can through these difficult times? Of course I am –because everything else is out of my control 😊