Fear, Survivors, and the Corona-19 Virus
Posted On March 14, 2020
I would be remiss if I did not write a post concerning the Corona-19 virus and how it affects those who have severe mental health conditions like dissociative identity disorder.
However, I am a firm believer that fear is not only detrimental to people with DID and other mental health disorders, but it is a killer.
This article is all about conquering fear over the corona-19 virus and how we as survivors can keep ourselves well.
By the way, the quote by Bernie Sanders at the end of this piece is not politically motivated nor is it meant as an endorsement for him for President.
Fear is Our Worst Enemy
I realize that corona-19 is a scary disease, especially to those who are like myself and are getting older, have underlying physical problems or both. But, becoming fearful will only make yours and my mental health worse.
Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation are only a few of the severe impacts that being fearful have on one’s mental health. While it is normal to feel anxious about the corona-19 virus (and smart), the facts are these.
Chances are, if you do not fit into the above categories you will be okay as it is people over 60 and/or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, and heart disease are at a much higher risk of developing a severe form of the virus.
The rest of the population will be anywhere from lightly ill with the sniffles and low-grade fever to stuck at home with regular flu-like symptoms.
However, just because we are very strong people does not mean we can afford to be stupid. Even strong people die, so acting to prevent our becoming ill is crucial.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have both given guidelines on how to remain healthy.
No these guidelines do not include hoarding toilet paper, cleaners, and food, that is ridiculous. Hoarding anything is simply a gut response to fear.
To remain healthy one only need to do a few simple things:
- Stay away from crowds
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often
- Remember the virus can live on a surface (including your clothing) for up to 3 days so do not touch your face (easier said than done)
If one can achieve the above steps, the virus has no chance against you unless a loved one tests positive or becomes ill. Then it is time to self-isolate to keep others from coming down with this potentially lethal disease.
We Are Survivors, That’s What We Do
God knows as children we faced odds much worse than corona-19 to survive. We lived because our marvelous brains found a way to make it through the hopelessness and helplessness of severe trauma.
Because we are survivors we have the resilience and built-in survival skills to make it through this and just about any other crisis that can be thrown our way. Short of a nuclear attack, it is my belief that I can survive about anything.
My thoughts on my own resiliency include making certain to follow the guidelines set out by the CDC and WHO and keeping abreast of the corona-19 spread in my community. It does not include panicking, hoarding, or being stupid and going into crowds or places where the virus might be.
How to Stay Mentally Well
Do not project. Do not live in a future that may never come. Remain firmly grounded in the here and now because it is when people foretell a disaster that they make themselves vulnerable to what they are afraid of most.
The worst thing to come from the corona-19 virus so far is the fear it breeds in the human mind. It does absolutely no good to consume yourself with thoughts of what will happen in the future and it is foolish as the virus may never affect you in any way.
To ground yourself practice deep breathing exercises and pay attention to the sights, smells, and sounds around you in your environment. Right now in Illinois the robins are back and singing in the trees. I open my window, especially in the morning, just to listen to them. The sound of the robins reminds me that summer is right around the corner and helps to ground me in the now.
My Final Words on This Subject
While it is important to remain aware of what is going on in your community to stay safe, do not allow yourself to be consumed with fear, anxiety, and other disorders resulting from feeling afraid.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by what you hear in the media, turn it off and don’t read it as much as possible. Don’t binge-watch the news and spend an inordinate amount of time reading the newspaper. There is absolutely no reason to place yourself in panic mode.
Remember, follow the recommendations from the authorities and eat well. Do not allow yourself to become run down or too tired or anything that will lower your immune response.
This crisis will pass and perhaps some good will come from it. Not the deaths of people, that is never good, but perhaps, just perhaps, our country can find itself pulling together instead of being pulled apart.
“Love and peace of mind do protect us. They allow us to overcome the problems that life hands us. They teach us to survive… to live now… to have the courage to confront each day.” ~ Bernie Siegel
“I think the overwhelming majority of the American people know that we have got to stand together, that we’re going to grow together, that we’re going to survive together” ~ Bernie Sanders
“Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.” ~ Sun Tzu
World Health Organization Link
Centers for Disease Control Link