Here’s the thing though: If you live with some types of anxiety, a lot of your constant brain gymnastics involves the weighing of Pros and Cons. What happens if I go to this party? What happens if I make this left turn? What happens if I fail my kids? It’s part of our routine and why we need treatment and therapy because it’s exhausting and impossible to sustain without creating depressive episodes or manic episodes.
I think lately EVERYONE is feeling the pain of that lifestyle. Should we go on a hike? Pro: We get out of the house and into the sun and we get some exercise. Con: We have to cross other hikers on a single-track trail where 6ft separation is impossible.
From parents trying to decide if they can trust their kids to keep social distance if they ride bikes around the neighborhood (Spoiler Alert: We saw a bunch of kids at the school, bikes on the ground, all hanging out in close proximity and NOT keeping social distancing) to Superintendents trying to decide the pro/cons of shutting down schools. (Ours just got shut down for the year.)
Last night our neighbors asked everyone to come to their yard and sit six feet apart so we can get some interaction. Pro: Much-needed human interaction. Con: Can you really have a conversation in a circle where everyone sits 6ft apart? And is it even stills safe it these times? It ended up going fine. It was definitely more like, “Holler around for one-on-one conversations and cross talk,” but it was totally worth it. I hope?
I think it’s hard to judge other people’s pros and cons during this time because we don’t really know what the future holds. We don’t know how bad the economic crisis will be and we don’t know how many people will die and so everyone is doing their best-guess dance around these decisions.
But what I worry about is the state of everyone’s mental health with this constant refrain of anxious thinking. If you’re not used to it you’re not used to thinking about the ripple effects. It messes with your sleep which is terrible for anyone’s mental health, it causes depression because you feel overwhelmed at not being able to predict outcomes, it changes your physiology by producing more fight/flight hormones and raising your blood pressure.
Keep an eye on yourself. Please. This is uncharted territory for everyone and we need to keep check on our mental health as much as we monitor our fevers.