Anxiety and Depression due to pandemic, maybeeeeee. What do you do?

Lifestion

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Ive only recently come to terms that I have anxiety an ive had it all along but its just never been dealt with and i know that this is going to be one of the toughest fights of my life.

I dont want to rattle on because there is probably people on here are far worse off than me.

But I hope we all can find true peace eventually.
 

Croaky Keith

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Knowing that you have a problem is half the battle, I think, accepting it & making adjustments is the way to get along with it.
 

plunker

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When I was young I ad asthma really bad, like all the time. A doctor recommended a brass instrument as breathing exercises. Figuring that s kind might play music and get breathing in at the same time as just doing breathing exercises by themselves would last because of boredom. I picked trombone. Which I played through my sophomore year. Dad asked the doc to write a prescription for it to try to get CHAMPUS insurance to pay for the horn, it didn't but he did get a letter from the doc and took it off on his taxes.
Fast forward 60 years./ Anxiety, depression boredom with covid. Doctors need to prescribe ukuleles. Maybe the insurance companies would pay for them a ligament medical treatment, many times cheaper than counseling. Just think the generics would be cheaper than the name brand. Therapy would include lessons.
 

Neil_O

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I am a 4 square breather. I do 4 seconds in hold for 4 exhale for 4 wait to inhale for 4. I'd be a mess without having a quiver full of breathing exercises! Best of luck. And cat videos help me when depressed.
 

Nickie

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These are great. I am very much into A Course in Miracles. I am gaining some sanity.
I plan to start studying Tai Chi soon.
 

Lifestion

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Appreciate all the advice guys, this forum and my love to music has helped me cope up with this feeling now and back when im not fully aware of this i believe. Acceptance is not an easy task but im willing to make a start. Thank you all.
 

Jerryc41

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I fight against getting depressed, given the current world situation. I make an effort to avoid thinking about anything negative. I can conjure up a huge list of negatives in seconds if I allow myself. I look for humor online and on TV. Sometimes, a good nap will help. Physical activity is also a good cure for feeling down.
 

Jerryc41

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I am a 4 square breather. I do 4 seconds in hold for 4 exhale for 4 wait to inhale for 4. I'd be a mess without having a quiver full of breathing exercises! Best of luck. And cat videos help me when depressed.

Funny, but I learned it with a 5-second count. : )

The actor Paul Sorvino wrote a very good book, "How I Became a Former Asthmatic." He tells his story and offers breathing exercises. He uses his kids as models to demonstrate the techniques. One of them is a young Mira Sorvino.

The current Amazon price is ridiculous. I got a copy for a few dollars.

https://www.amazon.com/Become-Former-Asthmatic-Paul-Sorvino/dp/0688012205
 
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I rarely post anything here, mainly because I mostly think I have nothing worth to be posted that could not better be posted by somebody else. But this made me think alot. Because this is something, I have dealt with a long time of my life. Short background story: I am educated as professional prehistorian. But besides my work for archaeology I worked at a school for children with severe mental issues for many many years. Mainly I gave lessons in practical work. But one of my special duties was to assist kids with anxiety in situations, which triggered some kind of amplified but essentially natural fears in a way, that could be life threatening to them by itself. A small team of psychologists were supervising the work. I did this many years.
Short summary: In my experience, based on years of dealing with exactly this kind of mental problems, the only way to tackle anciety is trust. And trust can be programmed in ones brains by confrontation and relief.
The situation in which anxious feelings arise in oneself is almost always either triggered by an actual threat, one is experiencing, be it a real person who is actually after one or seeing a real car accident happen in which one will likely be involved in coming seconds, so pure situative, or in a second more indirect way by a creative thought which is constructing a possible danger. For the last example think at someone who crawls under a table when hearing a thunder of a coming thunderstorm.
This is nothing which deminishes an otherwise happy life. But think at a person, who sees car accidents happen in their imagination whenever they have to drive or sit in a driving car, driven by someone else. It can be so bad, that they never drive in a car anymore. Or think at people who see someone being after one in every other person they see when they take a walk. It can be so bad, that they avoid going where other people are. When they have to go somewhere where other people will be, they suffer from so severe fears that they can be in danger to even commit suicide. The first mentioned trigger (real car accident, real person who is after one, so own experience) is a natural survival instinct, we can do nothing and shall do nothing against our ability to be "waken up" and focused on a real or highly possible threat. This is naturally programmed in our brains like a kind of a starter package, it is the DOS in our computers. Our strategy is built by stacking real life experiences and we adjust according to these (an ill effect to prevent is a permanent trauma). The second mentioned trigger is something we can only steer clear from by confrontation and programming our brain and learn to adjust our reaction to the real relation. One example are people with extreme fear of hight which in fact is fear of depth, who deliberately climb towers to look down to program their brain (this was typically my part to assist, but also dark, noise, bad news etc..). What happens is that the brain learns to evaluate dimensions of threats and own possibilities to keep control and self confident. In this example the above mentioned person would deliberately go out someplace with people. It is easier to train when someone can induce a situation like climbing a tower or go to public places. It is harder with thunderstorms however where this has to be trained whenever the situation comes unexpectedly. (This is a very short view on this complex theme, there is a lot more in between, but this would lead much too far here).

The Covid situation is something we can't measure by experience so it is hard to evaluate where ones personal risk or that of a beloved person who we fear of losing maybe lies. But what we can do is, learn the dimensions, programme our brain to not gather useless informations, or fixate on this Covid theme too much, and climb the tower to confront us with the reality (simple safety precautions by wearing masks and distancing provided) to learn, that most of the people we know will not be seriously affected by the virus even if single persons we know will. To acknowledge the actual individual risk is key. For example: I am Asthmatic myself. As kid I suffered from severe panicking in the acute states . Now I am knowing exactly the effects of medicine I have, know that my Asthma is under control. I could now focus on the thought that this can change and the things I went through in my childhood come back. But I don't. I forget my Asthma most of the time to be only remembered when I realise that an attack is coming, but then i know I can trust my spray because I have learned hundred thousands of times, how effective it is. This gave me trust.

Strategy for the Corona Crisis:
For Corona, this means, I could think at how it would be, when my lungs were slowely deteriorated by the effect the virus has, me laying in a hospital at the respirator, fighting for air... but I choose to NOT think this way. And try to programme trust into my brains. Because this is no actual situation I am in, and it is more likely that I am among those who even don't realise when they are infected. Chances are so much higher and I know this. I could be wrong, but this would only make my life miserable, when I allow me to be this pessimistic.

A big role is played by the algorythm of the internet. If I click on a bad news headline, an algorythm learns, that this user is especially interested in themes like this and starts to offer me more of this, not to take control like some conspiracy theorists believe, but to offer me the "best user experience" (and the best profit for companies which place advertisements next to the headlines). The more I fall into this trap, the more the world outside seems to be one huge mess of bad news. Like I can programme my brains, I can programm the personal experience of my internet use. As simple as it is, I deliberately avoid clicking on bad news headlines for say a month or so, trusting, that if a bad news really affects me, I would be informed otherwise. I only click on themes that are "positive" and happy or funny or beautiful or exiting themes (music, nature, archaeology, some hobby themes, whatever). What happens is, that the internet stops offering me bad news all over the place whenever I use it. My thoughts come back on the positive side of life. They can recover from being overwhealmed by all the bad things going on out there, when in fact these are only a part of the reality, huge parts of which are still on the light and nice side. If in doubt, I talk to people I personally know that had been tested positive for Covid2. Most of them did not experience more symptoms than that of a mild cold, if any. One of them is a 90 years old grandmother of my wife. There is only one person I know, who still suffers from symptoms three month after infection. This person had quite a hard time, but is finally improving in big steps, she is nearly back to normal again now.
This helps me to evaluate personal risks. I could concentrate on listening to stories about long term health effects. But then I remember, that these are basically also quite usual with other infections like influenza. There is effectively two perspectives from which one can overlook the issue. I deliberately choose the one which is optimistic.

I hesitated to post this. First because I don't think, I know more than others here. And my english is not perfect, so maybe there are mistakes and people could get me wrong. But then I thought, maybe I could help someone, who thinks, there is no way of getting such an "unreal" seeming threat under ones personal and individual control and be the manager of ones life again.

We are not floating on a raft, waiting for something to happen while we can't go anywhere and have to make do with what we have. We must trust the situation that we are in the harbor and the sea is someplace else.


And focus on positive news like the vaccinations, which are a light at the end of a tunnel. There will always be threats like this. When I was a kid I was afraid of a possible nuclear war, then there is the climate threat, the possible next pandemia, asteroids or whatever. But in a daily reality, life can be very beautiful. If we make it happen and if we open our eyes, our minds for it. And this way programme our brains.

Edit: I also try to gently turn communications with people I meet into something positive when I realise that they are very emotional and meandring around the Covid theme for more than neccessary in a small talk. Most times these turns are welcomed by the other part. If not, then I look at my wrist watch and say: "Oh, sorry, I am late, have to leave, see you!" added by: "Will you have a nice time!"
 
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Jan D

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Christian,
Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. I found your words of wisdom to be very helpful. Especially the idea that one can conquer anxiety with trust, which itself can be achieved through confrontation and relief. Our ability to “re-wire” our brain is a fascinating concept.
Jan
 

Jerryc41

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Edit: I also try to gently turn communications with people I meet into something positive when I realise that they are very emotional and meandring around the Covid theme for more than neccessary in a small talk. Most times these turns are welcomed by the other part. If not, then I look at my wrist watch and say: "Oh, sorry, I am late, have to leave, see you!" added by: "Will you have a nice time!"

Good post!
 
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Acceptance is sometimes the most difficult part. I know I will over come this one soon.

What is also important is to know and realise, that the way you are and the way you feel is perfectly part of human nature and the definition of what is "normal" and what is not or even "ill" is almost all time a concept of others. It is a concept of the society which we are part of.

I may give you an example: Today someone with "illness of of the autism-spectrum" is regarded as "disabled". But in certain prehistoric communities these people were not regarded as disabled. The abilities they had were most times included i a way, that everybody had a benefit, also the person itself. They were just a part of the community with very own abilities. You find this in ancient America and also in prehistoric Europe, where some of the most exiting bone or ivory carvings were made by so called autists as studies could demonstrate. They had a role to play in their community.
Or a group where one member is especially emotional and sensitive to fears could benefit from this sensitivity by being alarmed earlier than the others would be. The other way around, in special circumstances, a group member with a lack of the ability to feel afraid by something is especially tough to overcome when the group is attacked. A good example are the Berserks in Viking Age Scandinavia.

These are extreme examples. Imagine now, where you stand with "just" anxiety. There will be a reason why nature has made us the way we are. If we all were the same, this would not have brought us where we are now as mankind. The modern society where all of us should be packed into a small number of drawers is just a result of some kind of human capital management, if you ask me.

This way, acceptance can very well be key of feeling good the way you are. When I can accept the way I am, then I can expect all others to do so as well, as long as I know that I do no harm to no one. To ask, what could it be good for? can be very mood raising. I am sure, anybody would find situations in which the own abilities or mentality would be of a huge advantage, even if they are seemingly disadvantages in times, when everything runs so called "normal" in our modern crazy times.

Of course, a Berserk, who accepts the way he is, will most likely suffer from being accepted by others, even if he expects it. But remember, even here there sure will be an army somewhere which is happy to take him in and accept the way he is ;)

The other thing is, when one is suffering from the own mental state and is unhappy and wishes to clear away from feeling depressed, anxious, sad, whatever. Then it is important to know, that there are ways to tackle this.
The decision to live (!) with it and/or to get rid of this state and live a better life are the only two right options one has. The dicision to not live with it, is the only wrong option. Too many are choosing the latter just because they think it too hard to try the first two first. Once they tried the first two options they notice that this is much easier than they thought. This is the reason why a professional can be of much help. He or she already knows the techniques and tricks. To find a good one can be a very good exercise in itself and shall not lead to frustration, rather to a strange kind of fun.

The bravest is maybe only better in hiding fears than you.

Wish you a happy and successful New Year!

Chris
 

Jerryc41

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...in certain prehistoric communities these people were not regarded as disabled. The abilities they had were most times included in a way, that everybody had a benefit, also the person itself.

Wish you a happy and successful New Year!

Chris

When I was in what we called grammar school at the time, everyone was in one class. Now, kids are divided up into Smart, Pretty Smart, and Not So Smart (not the actual terms). Those below the Not So Smart category wind up in yet another group. I don't know if separating kids like that is the best way to do things. Fortunately, no one wants my opinion on anything. :D
 

Peter Frary

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Not depressed or anxious but it is rather boring not being able to run around town, travel or see friends as I did in pre-pandemic times. On the other hand, the Covid disruption has been a blessing in disguise because I've been working from home and am a lot more productive without the distraction of coworkers and commuting in rush hour traffic. All those extra hours ended up opening up more time to practice and write every single day, rather than just here and there. Plus, a lot more home improvement and gardening gets done!
 

Lifestion

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I could now focus on the thought that this can change and the things I went through in my childhood come back. The Covid situation is something we can't measure by experience so it is hard to evaluate where ones personal risk or that of a beloved person who we fear of losing maybe lies.
 

NewLele

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I agree, its hard to evaluate risk with an unknown. I have never been stung by a bee so I dont know if I have an allergy to them. For me its the same thing.
 
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I could now focus on the thought that this can change and the things I went through in my childhood come back. The Covid situation is something we can't measure by experience so it is hard to evaluate where ones personal risk or that of a beloved person who we fear of losing maybe lies.

Lifestion, you took my exact words, thank you for that! But you have quoted these my sentences without the context. And the context is VERY important. I said:

"I could now focus on the thought that this can change and the things I went through in my childhood come back. But I don't!" That is what I said. Right?

And I said:
"The Covid situation is something we can't measure by experience so it is hard to evaluate where ones personal risk or that of a beloved person who we fear of losing maybe lies. But what we can do is, learn the dimensions, programme our brain to not gather useless informations, or fixate on this Covid theme too much, and climb the tower to confront us with the reality (simple safety precautions by wearing masks and distancing provided) to learn, that most of the people we know will not be seriously affected by the virus even if single persons we know will. To acknowledge the actual individual risk is key." That is what I said. Right?

Ok, now let's go on from here.
What you can see in this example, where you took something selectively from the whole context and make it fit to the momentary mode of thought or your momentary mood, the same thing gets a completely different perspective and meaning, if you expand the context, like I did above. So don't look at things isolated.

Now let's practise this:

"Covid kills" or "A Person, who cought COVID 19 died" This is selective thinking, isolated, no context. VERY WORRYING
vs: "Covid kills in 1.0 to 2.0 out of 1000 infected with preconditions" or "One out of one thousand persons who cought Covid, died", without having accurate numbers, you see that there is a very important difference! Just to give a general direction.

Now, do you see the difference?

You can say: I will sure enough be the one who dies if i catch the virus. But there is more reason to say to yourself: It is most unlikely that I get killed by Covid, as things stand right now. And my personal risk is getting lower with every day proceeding, because there are vaccinations now going on and their speed increasing, numbers of people infected will dramatically sink in just a few weeks from now, and medicine gets better at the same time, medical treatments have improved and are still improving every day. You haven't had the same amount of worries about measles. You could dive into the measles theme and get worried enough instantly. But this was not a prominent theme in comparison with Covid. So you managed to blend out measles entirely. Wow, that means your brain was programmed to evaluate this risk! The same way you can blend out Covid. And programme your brain again! Simply concentrate on common sense, wearing masks, stay a little bit at distance to others, wash your hands frequently, try to avoid touching your face too often (this is a very nice exercise on it's own and can be alot of fun!) and you will be fine. And stop stepping over the line here. Think just that wide, not further, because that is exactly the area under your own control! Just like you know the risks when crossing a road, you are under control when you cross it, you can have the Covid risk under control, and learn or train yourself to feel safe again. Make sure to concentrate on this alone, and you'll be fine. Seek help, when you can't control your worries on your own. There are educated people to show you how you can do it and who are on and at your side when you are exercising and practising ways to feel secure and safe again. And take control!

To continue on this path of thinking: Even if one day sooner or later there will only 1000 people worldwide per year get infected with a hopefully then very rare Covid2 virus in the future, there will still be the same ratio of 1-2 per 1000 people with this infection dying from Covid. How big is the chance of you to die from it then? You are one out of 7.5 Billion People on earth. Your personal risk will be near zero. You can see from this example, that risk is a calculatable thing. Your personal risk is always very low!. And to take control over your worries is to take control over these calculations, and try to climb a tower to get a general overview over these risks without diving into details of rare conditions that may become true or not. Try the media thing I mentioned in my previous replies to your post. If you click on positive news for say three weeks and conciously leave out the bad stuff the internet is too full of, only three weeks, and go pessimists discussions in your personal environment out of the way or turn these conversations to more light and positive themes, you will realise how you will feel better and better yourself. It is not about to put your head into the sand, as we say over here, just to stop thinking negative when it has no positive effect, if you get me.

I wish you the best of luck. If I could I would jump through the internet and pop up at your side, smile, say hi, and go through it with you. I can't. But there will be someone near you who can!

P.S.: If nothing helps, humor helps (Jerry's example!)
 
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I agree, its hard to evaluate risk with an unknown. I have never been stung by a bee so I dont know if I have an allergy to them. For me its the same thing.

Lifestion took this example from my text but without it's context. In this context, your example with bees would mean: You don't know if you are allergic against bee's poison. But you don't think at it every time you leave your bee free home. You are fine.