Your Feelings are Valid; Your Pain is Real. Coping During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected each of our lives in one way or another. For some of us it’s a minor setback; grieving cancelled vacation plans and cancelled party plans. Others are grieving the loss of loved ones to this illness, or worrying about their health and well-being.Whatever feelings you have are valid. Your pain is also real.

I’ve kept quiet about my worries on social media. However, the mix of emotions I’ve experienced in the past few weeks are strong. Although I don’t often show my feelings, the anxiety is more real than ever. I know some of you with mental illnesses have remained calm until recently. Life with a mental illness like anxiety often prepares us for these circumstances. We see neurotypical people experience feelings we have on a daily basis. Some of us have struggled since the beginning of this pandemic. Again, your feelings are valid; your pain is real.

Today I’ll share some of my worries including some new anxieties I’m experiencing. You’re welcome to share your worries in the comments, or direct message me on instagram or facebook. While we might feel isolated during social distancing it’s important to reach out, even if you can’t reach out to someone in person.

General Mitchell Airport; Spring Break season 2020

img_20200323_071147If you read my last blog post, or followed me on social media you know I recently got laid off from my job. I don’t know when I’ll return to work. Along with being unemployed, like many I got locked out of my state’s unemployment website. According to the last email unemployment sent, it could be several days before I speak to someone.

On that topic, a third shift parking lot attendant at my workplace tested positive for COVID-19. I don’t know if a passenger exposed them to the virus, or they exposed the virus to people I interacted with on a daily basis. Over a week has passed since I’ve been laid off though. Knock on wood, I’m not showing symptoms. However, I worry that if I get sick, I’ll get someone else sick. I know I’m healthy enough where I’ll recover but worry about other people.

I also lost my insurance, and worry about finding supplemental health insurance during this time. Just before we started social distancing I got referred to an endocrinologist. I just found out I have a microadneoma on my pitutiary gland (small benign tumor). I also worry about having to cancel my 30th birthday party.

Another thing I worry about is human greed and lack of common sense. I understand wanting to wear a mask. In fact the CDC now recommends wearing a mask whether or not you’re showing symptoms. However, most people don’t need N95 masks. Unless you’re symptomatic or in direct contact with the sick an N95 isn’t necessary. If you’re hoarding these drop them off where they’re needed (hospitals, nursing homes ect). These people don’t deserve to go without due to human greed. All you need is something that is breathable and will prevent any potential germs from going airborne.

Lastly, I worry that people wearing gloves are going to spread the virus. I know this sounds controversial but, if you’ve ever worked in an industry where you sometimes use disposable gloves (healthcare, food service, childcare ect) you know gloves are used to prevent cross contamination. For that reason you change your gloves and wash your hands in between tasks. Most people don’t realize how many items they touch while wearing the same gloves, and that they’re only spreading the virus by wearing the same gloves most of the day. Another thing I’ve noticed is many people don’t know how to take gloves off in a way that contains potential pathogens while touching the gloves as little as possible. Despite all of this my biggest worry and frustration is people who dispose of their gloves in parking lots and shopping carts.

When you dispose of used gloves anywhere besides your home, you risk exposing others to potential pathogens including the essential employees who need to clean up your mess. Not to mention, those latex gloves you threw onto the ground could blow into the face of someone with a latex allergy. If you’re going to wear gloves you should be changing them more frequently than you’d wash your hands, and you should at least wash your hands or use hand sanitizer in between.

I’m not telling anyone what to do. However, you might want to research cross contamination before determining whether you want to wear gloves. In my personal opinion you’re better off washing your hands in between stores or using hand sanitizer. However, if you feel better using hand sanitizer you need to rub it into your skin like you would soap.

I apologize if the end of this post sounds condescending. Unfortunately, the amount of greed and ignorance I’ve seen in my area has me concerned. Despite the greed and ignorance I’ve seen a lot of kindness too. I’m sure many of you are worried about some of the things I’m worried about. Maybe your anxieties are quite different from mine. Either way, we’re in this together. If you’re hurting during this, I see you, and I’m here to talk. As always, remember to wash your hands, stay safe, and give excess hoarded supplies to those who need them most.

Grocery shopping during the coronavirus: Wash your hands, keep your distance and limit trips By Ann Maloney April 2 The Washington Post

Dr. Siegel: Why wearing gloves at grocery store is not necessarily a good idea- FOX News Flash

Who Knew Grocery ShoppingCould be so Stressful? The New York Times

Images: Canva MKE Airport photo is mine and unedited.

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