I struggle pretty regularly with depression and anxiety. It comes in heavier waves, leaving me empty and unable to function for a period of time, sometimes up to a week. Lately, with the state of things, I’m having more frequent panic attacks accompanying the anxiety. I couldn’t sleep last night. I had such bad anxiety that I couldn’t sleep, which led to a panic attack somewhere around 3am. It felt like the world was getting smaller, closing in on me. I could barely breathe. I managed to distract my mind with a show I hadn’t gotten around to starting. I watched the whole first season. As soon as I turned it off, I spiraled. Eventually, around 11am I had a worse attack than the one earlier. It felt like there wasn’t enough air, I couldn’t catch my breath, my heart was pounding, I couldn’t shut off my mind. Like a dome surrounding earth and it was closing in, crushing everything in its wake and the oxygen being limited. I completely lost hope somewhere in all that, that things will ever get better. I took a shower to try to calm myself down and after that started watching season two of the show I started. At some point, because of sheer exhaustion, I fell asleep. I woke up tonight just feeling like I have tears catching, still a little anxious, and thoughts all over the place. I went for a short drive to get a Starbucks, something I haven’t done lately. I left the windows down, the cold air piercing my skin and filling my lungs. I’m doing everything I can now to try to keep calm, but I feel like shattered glass stuck in a window pane. It hasn’t fallen yet, but its fragile. I don’t know how to get through this. These attacks are gaining frequency and when they happen, I can’t stop them. I don’t want to exist when they do. Its all so overwhelming.
I’m sorry to hear all this. I never had a panic attack so I can’t relate. But I will be praying for you. I hope these will stop and you can have peace.
I’m so sorry, friend. This sucks. I know the two of us have a lot of depression and anxiety in common and all this Covid stuff has not been helping. It’s really suffocating, especially since you can’t even see your friends as I know you normally would. My heart aches for you and I understand. There are a lot of nights that it feels like this is never going to stop or that it’s going to take a lot of time to recover from. I think we all just crave some normalcy.
But I’m glad that you got out of the house and went to Starbucks. I think a little fresh air and a short drive is healthy. I miss being able to sit inside the coffee shops. I’m glad that the little things are still there to appreciate. Coffee. Seems like there isn’t much that we can get out and do right now.
I love you very much. I know there isn’t much I can say to help take all of this away, but I support you. I’m always open to you. I’m right here along with you.
We’re gonna get through this. Just gotta take it one day at a time, but were going to get through it.
Stay strong sweet friend. You are precious beyond words and appreciated more than you know.
That’s tough friend. I’m sorry your anxiety has been increasing, even though it makes sense to feel how you feel. The current circumstances doesn’t help. For what it’s worth, I feel for you. I don’t have panic attacks anymore, but my depression has been pretty intense as well and it gets harder to wake up everyday. It’s like a weight, a pressure that gets heavier and it’s breaking my capacities to move on, one by one. I didn’t expect to see myself drowning like that because of quarantine, as depression and anxiety were already there before. But as much as it’s hard to admit it: it doesn’t help.
The way you describe it is so accurate:
It felt like the world was getting smaller, closing in on me. I could barely breathe.
Like a dome surrounding earth and it was closing in, crushing everything in its wake and the oxygen being limited.
Exactly. It feels like being trapped and having less and less safe places available. There’s this feeling of being helpless that tends to trigger our depression and anxiety.
I love the image of the dome that you shared. And I think it’s can be really interesting to start from this.
How can we open some doors and make this dome less stressful?
What follows is only my opinion. I’ve just been thinking about it after reading your message - I’ll just use your analogy in regards of the covid situation.
1/ By accepting to feel in a certain way because of this dome
I don’t think anyone is entirely satisfied by this situation… and it impacts us in different ways. And it’s only my opinion but I think something we can remind ourselves sometimes is: it’s okay. It’s okay to feel how we feel, now matter how it is. It’s okay to be stressed, frustrated, pissed, sad, anxious or anything else. It’s okay to feel, especially in these circumstances. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And nothing wrong to express that when you need, whether it’s here, with people you trust or by writing it for yourself.
2/ By making this dome less present/less overwhelming in our imagination
The covid situation can be very real in our lives yet it’s also quite invisible, in a certain way. A lot of what we experience about this is based on: the informations we get, our capacity to visualize/imagine what’s happening - And even if we’re sick, even if we lost someone because of this, there are still some layers of worries that can be reduced or avoided.
We don’t need to be informed all the time about what is happening. I don’t know if we’re even fit for that as human beings, to process correctly. It’s not easy to disconnect from daily news, as somehow it gives us the feeling that being informed = being in control, but I think it’s really healthy to step away. We don’t need to know how many people died yesterday, to be repeated again and again how horrible is the situation - we know that already. So I don’t know how is your consommation of daily news, but I can only encourage you to step back from it as much as possible. Keep yourself informed about the measures in your country through official websites, maybe give a try to reading positive news only (cause a lot of positive things happen too!), but you don’t need all the rest. We know we’re in quarantine for a certain time now, we know the safety recommendations, there’s not really something more to know or to do before the situation changes, in regards of the informations we can get. We can still select those carefully.
3/ By seeing through the dome and reconnect to what is simple
There’s quarantine, but there is also life beyond it. I don’t know for you, but I prefer to live in a dome made of transparent windows rather than an opaque one.
Sometimes we can feel like all of this is overwhelming, and it’s very important in these moments to realize that the world is still turning, still existing. When my mind think about what’s going on in the world and I find myself crying of stress because of that, I try to open a window, sit and enjoy what’s in front of me. The silence, some birds singing, the wind shaking the trees. Yesterday night, in this side of the world, there was even a blood moon! It was a wonderful spectacle. And it didn’t make me forget about this “dome”, but it helped me to see through it. If that makes sense.
With this situation, we have so many layers of stress that are piling up. We can be bored and paradoxically very busy in our minds. “Simplify, simplify” said Thoreau. That can be applied in practical ways, but also mentally. Accord yourself some time every day to consciously breathe and relax, even just a few minutes, even if there is a lot of anxiety the rest of the time. To focus on things that are still here, still existing, still going on despite all of this. As you shared:
I left the windows down, the cold air piercing my skin and filling my lungs.
This is sooo good. I love doing that too. It may seem very simple, but when you add several little things like that in your day, it helps. There is more than this dome. It won’t be here forever though. And until then, you can keep seeing through it. I don’t know if it will help a little, but I was looking back at some videos yesterday and this one helped me to be reminded that there is more in this world, that life still goes on:
4/ By trying to enjoy our time inside the dome
We’ve been put in quarantine and the situation + resources of everyone are different now. What are yours right now? What resources can you use to help yourself? What can you do to occupy your mind and enjoy your time? You went to Starbucks and that’s awesome! I hope it helped to cheer you up at the moment. Maybe you can try to list the resources you have “in case of [place the word you want here]…” - when you need emotional comfort, when you need to just relax/stop thinking, when you need to socialize, when you need to have fun…
Just random ideas, but I personally find some support by reading books, watching TV shows as you mentioned - and also nature documentaries, just because it reminds me the beauty of this world and nature! - seeing people’s creativity on Pinterest, checking positive news websites such as : https://www.positive.news/ and Good News, Inspiring, Positive Stories - Good News Network, staying at a window every evening and listening to some relaxing music, breathing some fresh air outside and having a walk when I can/when I’m not too tired, getting some news from my family.
You’ll get through this. This world will keep being beautiful, surprising, fulfilling. And your situation will get better. Maybe it’s affecting you intensely right now, but you have the strengths to get through it. You are loved, you are appreciated, you are a bright light in this world.
@My4whlrx @anon17277947 @Micro Thank you so much for your encouragement, kind words, and support. Things are super hard sometimes and I am thankful to have you in my corner! Feeling better today, really hoping to cope better if/when future panic attacks happen. I greatly appreciate your feedback on this post! Hope each of you are doing well and staying healthy.
All my love to each of you,
I just want you to know I love you and I care. You’re awesome. You’re so wonderful to have around.