How are you handling anxiety in this time of COVID-19?

Posted by tnmama @tnmama, Mar 20 9:39pm

I have health anxiety and I have noticed this coronavirus stuff makes it tons worse. I am constantly looking at the numbers

@georgette12

I really enjoy hearing how others are dealing with anxiety at this time. My husband can't leave the house due to lung issues. But, if I don't leave the house, I'd have to kill him! He's a dear and wonderful person but we handle stress completely differently. So I'm still working as a home health caregiver in our small community. Employees and our clients are monitored daily in terms of health. So far I am considered healthy and can go into homes. However, since there's no testing and we can have the virus without symptoms, I don't think anyone can be considered really healthy unless we are tested. But people depend on home health care for medical, medication, and personal care, because there is no one else to help them. I'm 76 and several of my clients are younger than me. It's a challenging situation for people who need help and people in the helping professions.

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@georgette 12 I know how hard you work just be very careful and safe from a former nurse

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@sueinmn Love hand and foot use to play every week but no more can't find anyone here to play

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@sueinmn

@artscaping We play Hand and Foot – a form of Canasta. 4 hands take about 2 hours, exercises our strategic thinking and counting skills, and we stick to pleaseant conversation topics, so it's refreshing. Plus we live in tiny homes, 100 – 400 square feet, so for those of us with partners/spouses, it gives us time apart. Since we all usually have many separate activities to occupy us this is a great stress reliever.

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Hi there @sueinmn, Hand and Foot. I hear the ladies at Mahjongg talking about that game. Do you have to remember a lot of things and sequence plays. That doesn't work well with my recent memory issues. Mahjongg works because the other players at the table quickly learn that they need to whisper what play is required all through the opening when you pass tiles. 2 hours is about my max for sitting.

Tell me about your tiny homes….when are they? Do you find it difficult in such a small area? We are finding that sometimes we don't talk from breakfast or brunch……until it is time for dinner. And sometimes we forget about dinner. It is still a bit brisk to go outside so we do yoga in the living room every morning. I want OUT. Can't sleep! I need to walk outside.

Be safe and protected. Chris

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@artscaping

Hi there @sueinmn, Hand and Foot. I hear the ladies at Mahjongg talking about that game. Do you have to remember a lot of things and sequence plays. That doesn't work well with my recent memory issues. Mahjongg works because the other players at the table quickly learn that they need to whisper what play is required all through the opening when you pass tiles. 2 hours is about my max for sitting.

Tell me about your tiny homes….when are they? Do you find it difficult in such a small area? We are finding that sometimes we don't talk from breakfast or brunch……until it is time for dinner. And sometimes we forget about dinner. It is still a bit brisk to go outside so we do yoga in the living room every morning. I want OUT. Can't sleep! I need to walk outside.

Be safe and protected. Chris

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@artscaping
Hi Chris – I'm hoping by the time I go home to Minnesota, our senior center will reopen so I can keep playing Hand & Foot.
Tiny homes – My home here is an older 400 square foot mobile home, called a "Park Model" because it is specifically intended to be in an RV Park, one bedroom, bath, "great room" (giggle) – that includes 5X6 kitchen area (one person at a time please) 4X6 dinette/all purpose table area, and a modest living room. This is like paradise for us, we used to winter in a 6.5'X18' camper without our own bathroom! And while it is smaller than our northern home, we have always lived in a fairly small house, so except for missing my sewing room & not having my own washer & dryer, this is pretty nice for us. Being old for a mobile, we have the usual maintenance issues, fortunately my husband can fix most of them. Our friends have dwellings like ours, or campers or motor homes. They range in size from around 100 square feet to maybe 750. Many of us have a covered patio or enclosed porch, which is where most socializing happens. And when we're not on lockdown we have two wonderful buildings for numerous activities plus a pool. These are open now for necessary things like mail, but no gathering. Here in Deep South Texas, we can be outdoors part of almost every day, which eases the closeness. I am also much more of an extrovert, out and about chatting & doing, while my husband stays in except for his few select activities.
But the small area can be a challenge – especially now with travel beyond our small park so severely limited. If it gets tense I just go for a walk, whether I want to or not. The worst is the constant loud TV from 5pm to midnight with no escape, no matter what is on it. At least there is no daytime TV habit – nor much to watch on our 5 available channels.
I know what you mean about forgetting dinner, but I have been trying to get him and his grill going more often – gets him busy planning & cooking. Also, we find it helpful to plan dinner one day that can be served at least 2 more times. Once as pure leftovers, and then as something else. For example, tonight is smoked & grilled pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and cole slaw. Tomorrow will be same, except maybe a veg instead. Then I will thin-slice the remaining pork and make hot pork sandwiches and salad (either Wed or into the freezer for a later date.)
Almost time for my morning walk need to grab my coffee & get dressed.
Stay positive and safe
Sue

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@lewisma9

If you want to watch something serenely beautiful and calming, check this out from the Monterrey Aquarium:

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Love it!! Have a tank at home, but nothing compared to that. Maui every year to play in the water with the fishies, but probably not this year. Have’t canceled yet scheduled for October. (Maui closed it’s doors) If we have a decent summer here, I will pretend. Thank you for sharing.

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My anxiety is starting to go up. I want to go to the store to buy extra food incase we have to shelter in place for 2 to 3 weeks. He wont let me. I have asthma and am 62 a d I want to go out as least that I have to. I also work for the school system and we still have to care for children of emergency workers. So yes a little scared.

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Wow. There are those emergency workers and we want to support them. Yesterday, I thought we (husband and I,68-69 yrs old) need to deliver food to housebound seniors. My husband reminded me that my immune system is still not so good and he was just diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (first round of treatment yesterday), so I had to “reel it in”. You are already dealing w/a respiratory issue. Can you fill a need w/out putting yourself in a risky environment? Maybe there is something you can do more in the “administrative” scope; so that someone else can step in your place. Don’t know all the pieces, but I think your fear is reality based, for no other reason, there are still too many unknowns about this virus. Where I live many stores have crested days/hours for senior only shopping. Surprise, that it not happening where you live. Maybe, you can be instrumental in making that happen. Going a little stir crazy myself, so I can relate.

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@suerc

My anxiety is starting to go up. I want to go to the store to buy extra food incase we have to shelter in place for 2 to 3 weeks. He wont let me. I have asthma and am 62 a d I want to go out as least that I have to. I also work for the school system and we still have to care for children of emergency workers. So yes a little scared.

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@suerc– I bet everyone is feeling tenser. I know that I am. I have lung cancer and it's not too great of an idea that I go out. Please tell me more about taking care of children. Are these the children of police and nurses, Drs. and anyone else taking care of emergencies?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @nannymed, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. How are you staying connected with your sisters and mother during this time? Any creative things you're doing together while apart?

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My wife and I are empty-nesters in our mid-60s living in Florida. I try to make a daily plan for activities. And, of course, think of new things to do. I never cared much for board games, but I think today is going to include Scrabble with my wife. Unfortunately, I suffer from peripheral neuropathy in my feet and hands, which tends to be worse in times of stress, and I have a long-standing anxiety disorder. All things considered, I'm doing fairly well. One thing I always do is get outside. If you're capable, try to figure out ways to get at least a half an hour of vigorous exercise in. I ride my bike around the neighborhood at a fast clip for about 20 minutes, then do some exercises in the house. I'm trying to replicate what I would ordinarily do at my beloved YMCA. I did yoga via YouTube yesterday. I restrict my TV watching to at night, for the most part. I want Netflix etc. as something to look forward to at night, not to burn out on by watching all day. And I only watch short segments of news. If it's important news, it'll get to ya. By the way, it's National Puppy Day, so I suggest celebrating it by looking at pictures of cute puppies. It should raise a smile or two.

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@eric65

My wife and I are empty-nesters in our mid-60s living in Florida. I try to make a daily plan for activities. And, of course, think of new things to do. I never cared much for board games, but I think today is going to include Scrabble with my wife. Unfortunately, I suffer from peripheral neuropathy in my feet and hands, which tends to be worse in times of stress, and I have a long-standing anxiety disorder. All things considered, I'm doing fairly well. One thing I always do is get outside. If you're capable, try to figure out ways to get at least a half an hour of vigorous exercise in. I ride my bike around the neighborhood at a fast clip for about 20 minutes, then do some exercises in the house. I'm trying to replicate what I would ordinarily do at my beloved YMCA. I did yoga via YouTube yesterday. I restrict my TV watching to at night, for the most part. I want Netflix etc. as something to look forward to at night, not to burn out on by watching all day. And I only watch short segments of news. If it's important news, it'll get to ya. By the way, it's National Puppy Day, so I suggest celebrating it by looking at pictures of cute puppies. It should raise a smile or two.

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Hi, @eric65 – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. These are all excellent ideas. Sounds like you are being very proactive in planning activities, and trying to replicate some of your normal routine. I've been getting out walking in the neighborhood or a nearby lake with my mom for walks, since her gym closed, and I think the physical activity is good and that the cardio in addition to the outside time is refreshing for the soul. I am not at all a doomsday type personality, but when I've been out to get some groceries or the like lately it is feeling more empty of people and activity, and kind of dark to me. I think we all could use a lift in any constructive ways we can.

I wanted to let you know that we have a Connect Neuropathy group you might check out for discussions that might be relevant for you https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/neuropathy/

If you've not yet checked out other discussions in the Connect group this thread is a part of, do look at the threads in the whole Depression & Anxiety group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/depression-anxiety/

How long have you had an anxiety disorder diagnosis, eric65? You mentioned you are doing fairly well right now. What would you say is making the biggest difference for keeping your anxiety reasonably well-managed at this time with the COVID-19 pandemic?

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Hurray for National Puppy Day!!! Hello Florida. My husband and I are also empty nesters. Our Y is closed also, but our weather not as good as yours (Washington is the green state for a reason) you have to be part duck to live here. I’m used to running/walking in the wet. Netflix watcher like you guys, but try to limit it too. (May have seen my chat yesterday about learning to speak Chinese and Korean by watching subtitled Netflix shows😀). I don’t know if anyone has talked about this as a time passer. ROCK painting. No artists allowed (not Really) the group in Cowlitz County have over 8,000 members. (Unbelievable, huh?) These groups are everywhere ( many states). It started as a kindness project and turned into a phenomena. You can paint and hide, you can hunt and collect. Rocks r everywhere and supplies can be bought online. Just had a fundraiser -rock bidding war- all online (except rock pickup) raised $ for a struggling family. Anyone can start a group. Everyone monitors their behavior ( we’re all grownups, right?). Everybody ( no ageism) love this. The best thing is it promotes good will and people find a rock and post or create and just post. Many members complimenting/encouraging budding artists. No judgment. I have seen beautiful painted rocks , pictures, patterns ,unlimited possibilities. Have fun. Give a rock Make somebody’s day. Rock on people. Virgo1952 yes, I’m a flower child🤣🤣🤣🤣😊

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@lisalucier

Hi, @eric65 – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. These are all excellent ideas. Sounds like you are being very proactive in planning activities, and trying to replicate some of your normal routine. I've been getting out walking in the neighborhood or a nearby lake with my mom for walks, since her gym closed, and I think the physical activity is good and that the cardio in addition to the outside time is refreshing for the soul. I am not at all a doomsday type personality, but when I've been out to get some groceries or the like lately it is feeling more empty of people and activity, and kind of dark to me. I think we all could use a lift in any constructive ways we can.

I wanted to let you know that we have a Connect Neuropathy group you might check out for discussions that might be relevant for you https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/neuropathy/

If you've not yet checked out other discussions in the Connect group this thread is a part of, do look at the threads in the whole Depression & Anxiety group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/depression-anxiety/

How long have you had an anxiety disorder diagnosis, eric65? You mentioned you are doing fairly well right now. What would you say is making the biggest difference for keeping your anxiety reasonably well-managed at this time with the COVID-19 pandemic?

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Thanks for links, Lisa. I guess "doing fairly well" is a relative thing. It's still a major struggle.

I had my first anxiety attack at 19, and struggled through most of my 20s. At around 30 or 31, I met a psychiatrist through an anxiety self-help group. He convinced me it was a brain chemistry issue, and put me on a Prozac and Clonazapam. It kicked right in and I would say that my anxiety was under control — often not even a factor — for 35 years. I would have setbacks occasionally, but was able to work through them. I retired from full-time work in late 2018, and everything was bliss. I had a nice freelance writing business. We were all set to travel, get out of Florida in the summer. Then early last July, shortly after returning from a three-day trip to a resort in Pennsylvania for a travel writing assignment, I got hit with a massive case of itching. That quickly transitioned into tingling in my hands. I was having nights with only intermittent sleep. On advice of a neurologist, I increased my low dose of Clonazepam.

My anxiety spiked way up and stayed after the neuropathy took hold. Switching to LexaPro helped. But I'm still struggling. Probably worst of all, my neuropathy has worsened so that my toes and fingertips are numb, my feet often burn, usually at night, and the tinging in my hands is more like stinging. It ebbs and flows in intensity, but it's never gone.

My biggest fear at the moment is the potential for continuing spread of my neuropathy. I really don't have health anxiety. I'm not consciously afraid of catching the coronavirus. I know I'm doing all that I can. I am concerned about a continued stretch of isolation, although my wife and I get along great. Now and again, my mind wanders into: Am I going to be able to handle this for two, three months? Will I end up a basket case in a rubber room? Ultimately, I know that's not what happens with anxiety disorder, that the spikes always recede.

I recommend to all folks who have anxiety disorder a book and app called "The Dare Response," started and written by an Irishman named Barry McDonagh. https://dareresponse.com

Also, for pain, an app called Curable that takes a mind-body approach is effective. https://www.curablehealth.com

And finally, as very good program by a psychologist in California named Alan Gordon. He has a free 21-day program that takes a different approach to managing or eliminating pain. https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/

While the program has not improved my PN symptoms, it has helped me cope and given me new insights.

I've just written a memoir. I'll stop now. Thanks for responding. I just did 90 minutes in a dentist chair w/o anxiety to speak of. We're supposed to acknowledge our victories, however small they may seem to others. So, yipeee. OK, I'm really going to stop now 🙂 — Eric

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@eric65

Thanks for links, Lisa. I guess "doing fairly well" is a relative thing. It's still a major struggle.

I had my first anxiety attack at 19, and struggled through most of my 20s. At around 30 or 31, I met a psychiatrist through an anxiety self-help group. He convinced me it was a brain chemistry issue, and put me on a Prozac and Clonazapam. It kicked right in and I would say that my anxiety was under control — often not even a factor — for 35 years. I would have setbacks occasionally, but was able to work through them. I retired from full-time work in late 2018, and everything was bliss. I had a nice freelance writing business. We were all set to travel, get out of Florida in the summer. Then early last July, shortly after returning from a three-day trip to a resort in Pennsylvania for a travel writing assignment, I got hit with a massive case of itching. That quickly transitioned into tingling in my hands. I was having nights with only intermittent sleep. On advice of a neurologist, I increased my low dose of Clonazepam.

My anxiety spiked way up and stayed after the neuropathy took hold. Switching to LexaPro helped. But I'm still struggling. Probably worst of all, my neuropathy has worsened so that my toes and fingertips are numb, my feet often burn, usually at night, and the tinging in my hands is more like stinging. It ebbs and flows in intensity, but it's never gone.

My biggest fear at the moment is the potential for continuing spread of my neuropathy. I really don't have health anxiety. I'm not consciously afraid of catching the coronavirus. I know I'm doing all that I can. I am concerned about a continued stretch of isolation, although my wife and I get along great. Now and again, my mind wanders into: Am I going to be able to handle this for two, three months? Will I end up a basket case in a rubber room? Ultimately, I know that's not what happens with anxiety disorder, that the spikes always recede.

I recommend to all folks who have anxiety disorder a book and app called "The Dare Response," started and written by an Irishman named Barry McDonagh. https://dareresponse.com

Also, for pain, an app called Curable that takes a mind-body approach is effective. https://www.curablehealth.com

And finally, as very good program by a psychologist in California named Alan Gordon. He has a free 21-day program that takes a different approach to managing or eliminating pain. https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/

While the program has not improved my PN symptoms, it has helped me cope and given me new insights.

I've just written a memoir. I'll stop now. Thanks for responding. I just did 90 minutes in a dentist chair w/o anxiety to speak of. We're supposed to acknowledge our victories, however small they may seem to others. So, yipeee. OK, I'm really going to stop now 🙂 — Eric

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@lisalucier I forgot to put your @handle in my voluminous response to your post.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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Sending you a huge hug, God Bless you it cannot be easy, Celia

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I suffer from anxiety and take medication daily to help me get thru it, and especially at night. I try to find other things to do during times like this. For this reason, I try really hard to do something I like to do, or do things with other people. Since that isn't possible now, I trying really hard to exercise and keep that routine up. My trainer is making videos every MWF for us to use, and sent out our individual workout sheets for us to work off of. She also really stresses that exercise is very important during this time. Is it hard – you bet it is! But I believe that it can be very helpful.

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