Coronavirus & Anxiety
In this episode, I discuss the CoronaVirus Anxiety. COVID-19 is a new strain that was discovered in 2019, it is a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. In the height of this coronavirus epidemic, we are also in a panic epidemic. Most of us (if not all) are currently experiencing some level of anxiety regarding this CoronaVirus or at least the secondary impact of the virus. Yet, one of the biggest threats that most of us are oblivious to is the increasing level of panic. To counteract this panic situation, we have to start becoming aware when we’re panicking. Anxiety and panic grow by engaging in behaviors that are reinforcing the anxiety.
Please remember that peace starts with your internal environment, not from your external environment. To counteract panic culture we must start with ourselves.
All right. Hey friends and welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about the Corona virus and anxiety. So again, my name is Matt Codde. I'm a licensed clinical social worker and I specialize in um, working with people with OCD and anxiety. And I want to talk today about the Corona virus from an anxiety perspective. Okay. So, um, you know, first and foremost, I want to say a couple of disclaimers. Like, look, I'm not a infectious infectious disease expert. I'm not a medical doctor. So you know, I, I obviously think it's a good idea to take precaution and listen to the CDC and the world health organization about taking the precautions you can take, whether that's washing your hands, you know, not coughing on people, you know, staying away from people if you have symptoms, all of that. Right? Totally supported. But I want to talk about anxiety right now because I think what we're seeing is not only are we, you know, in this middle of this Corona virus epidemic, but we're also in a panic epidemic.
And that's the kind of secondary thing that I don't think people are even looking at and realizing the ramifications of being in this panic state. And the thing about, you know, anxiety, right? Um, you know, because obviously I think every person right now to a degree is experiencing some level of anxiety with this Corona virus, um, pandemic, and rightfully so. Right? You know, it's, it's something that it's like you should take seriously, but we shouldn't take it to the point where we lose our humanity amidst this chaos. Okay. And that's what we're seeing. You know, is it, the thing about anxiety is, is that if you want to become certain about something that you'll never be certain about, right? So in any form of health anxiety, right? Someone wants to be certain that they're never going to get cancer or they're never going to contract X, Y, or Z.
Right? And the reality is, is that for most of us, we have to just embrace uncertainty when it comes to our health, right? We don't, we cannot control that aspect. We can't control the future. And that lack of control leads us to feel fear, right? And anxiety, which then leads us to try to control something right now to prevent that from happening. And what we're seeing happening, you know, right now with the current viruses that people are just rating stores, um, you know, to the point of buying up years of supplies of toilet paper at the expense of, you know, your neighbors can't have some today, right? Or buying up laundry detergent to the point where none of the store has it or you know, stocking up to the point where we completely forget about and disregard everyone else. Like, you know, and we have to ask ourselves like, okay, look, is that a good way to go?
You know, is that a good thing to do? Right? Is that good action to take? Because when we're led by panic, you're to survive, right? That that part of your brain is designed to survive. And if you're just thinking about your own survival at the expense of not thinking about anybody else, that can be a very slippery slope, right? Because again, it can just build and build and build. And build and build and build. Right. And that's what will happen with things like anxiety disorders is that it will just grow. Right. And what we need to understand is behavior fuels. I'm sorry. Um, yeah. Behavior fuels your internal state one way or another. Okay. So even if you go and stock up on toilet paper, well then the anxiety will come back and then you think you need to stock up on something else and something else and something else.
Right. And the more behaviors you engage in, that fueled his panic, the bigger the panic is going to grow. Okay. So, and that's what leads, you know, like, like, uh, like I was just saying, um, you know, someone earlier, like I was at the store and this gentleman totally like body checked this woman out of the way so we could grab some like potatoes at the store. Right. And I was just watching it like, and then there's a kind of a confrontation that arose, but you know, everyone went and checked out whatever and it was over. But that, that gentleman I imagined anyway is three weeks ago, four weeks ago would probably sit and be a totally nice person to hang out with, right? Most likely. And because of the panic taking over and fueling his decisions was willing to do that, you know, and not think twice about it.
And I think that's just a, a very small example of, of what happens when we let panic takeover, right? We, we disregard other people and, and we become so like just primal instinct, uh, creatures. And, and that's a scary thing if everyone's doing that. Right? And so one of the things that I want to say, uh, in this episode is just like, look, we need to be at least aware that another level of this pandemic is panic, right? And I would argue probably like one of the biggest threats to people is panic, right? Um, and, and, and so being, but one of the things is, is we have to, in order to counteract this is we have to at least become aware when we're panicking. Because if you're not aware, if you're panicking, you're just going to be led by it. But by becoming aware that I might be panting him well, that allows us to step back a little bit and kind of say like, okay, I'm feeling panic.
I'm feeling like I want to do this. But then giving us enough space to make conscious choices about more than just ourself, right. About others. Right. And, and, and I just want to say like, let's not, let's not lose the greatest part of humanity as a result of this panic. Right? This is this fear. We don't need to lose that. We're not at that point. Right. The reactions that are, that are having don't equate to what's really happening right now. Um, at least in my opinion. Right. And what, what happens a lot with anxiety is that people try to change their external environment to calm down their internal environment. Right? And so they do behaviors to neutralize it. This could be an example of stocking up food or you know, I mean in any situation when you're trying to change your external environment, something you actually don't have control over, that creates a big conflict, right?
You try to control everything, but what we need to understand is behavior will actually fuel your interstate, right? It will. So with anxiety treatment, you know, what we do with, with any form of anxiety really is that we look at the behaviors that are reinforcing the anxiety and we eliminate them. We let the anxiety rise and then it habituates over time. And then we learned that we didn't ever have to do that one behavior. So let's take a simple example of the fear of flying. Well, someone might wear these, um, you know, lucky shoes and the plane takes off and freelance safely. They put together this idea that, Oh, well because I wore the shoes, the plane landed safely and in, the reality is, is that the shoes had nothing to do with it, right? You stockpiling toilet paper or someone's stockpiling toilet paper for a year doesn't impact your, like whether or not you're going to get the coronavirus most likely, right.
You know, where it's actually something that we're not in control, but all these things we think we're doing to try to control the situation are causing States of panic. And panic again, is more contagious in my opinion, than the virus itself. It just creates more panic. And so we want to take a break. Like we want to be able to create some space and pause for a second and ask ourself the behaviors that we're engaging in. And if we can engage in behaviors that actually can fuel a peaceful interstate, we can actually make those choices. So when you're at the store, if you see someone who's elderly who's actually at the most risk for, you know, coronavirus instead of just walking right by them and grabbing stuff yourself, maybe it might be nice to help them, right? To give yourself enough space to say, Hey, you know what, I'm going to help this person.
Right? And I'm not going to lose my humanity in this because we can make that choice as individuals, we have that ability, regardless of what you might feel inside, you have the ability to make the choice to keep your humanity in this, in amidst this panic, right? And you might stand out like a sore thumb, but peace in many ways can become contagious in the same way panic can, right? And if, if you are a member of a family, right, instead of fueling panic, if you can help yourself to become more peaceful during this time internally, I'm not saying to disregard, you know, what's going on. What I am saying though is to be in control about how you're behaving, right? And how you're acting, um, that can be contagious to the people around you and so on and so forth. What's happening in many cases is just whether it's in an office setting or you know, is that we're so, our attention is so consumed by media and news to the point where it's just causing panic and many people are just being led by that panic and all.
I'm all, I'm challenging today on this episode is the idea of being cognizant of what's driving you right in the choices you're making. Um, instead of just reacting because that's how we can kind of keep our humanity during this time and we will ride through this and we will get through this together. Okay. It will happen. Um, I have full, full faith and belief in that. And again, I'm at restored minds, we totally support, um, you know, all the people that are, um, making choices during this difficult, difficult time to get us through this. And, um, you know, we're very grateful to be in this society that we're in. And, um, and, and again, we're here to support you know, people as, as this time is going, as this time of uncertainty is going, which is why I'm, you know, down below, um, in the links I'll have a special, um, opt into, you know, and for those of you that may not have access to, um, therapeutic services or don't want to go out and, you know, talk, we have, I, we have online trainings to help you through, you know, with your own, um, personal struggles with anxiety as well.
And I'll have links down below the, um, we'll get you access to that as well. And, um, you know, and, and to finally, I just want to kinda tie it up and you know, with, with any kind of uncertainty situation, you really have four options, right? You can worry about the event and then the event can happen, right? And in which case you're going to have to experience that event twice, right? You can worry about the event and it doesn't happen, right? In which case you experience it one spot unnecessarily. You can also not worry about it. Then it happens. And what your hitch, you'll have to experience it when you, whenever it happens and then you can not worry about it and it could not happen. And in which case you'll have the most internal piece. And, and, and what I would suggest is just like, look, if, if in fact you or someone you know does actually get the virus when that time comes, you will have clear action to take.
Trying to control something in the future that you can't control is going to lead to rash, decision to panic. And, um, you know, I, I'm not saying don't be prepared and don't take precautions. That's not what I'm saying here. What I'm saying is let's not do it at the expense of breaking our humanity and, and stopping into stop caring about others around us. You know, like, let's, let's keep that part of us. That's the best part of us. Um, you know, in, in many ways and, um, you know, again, we're here to support you and, and there are tools you can use to combat anxiety if it is something you're dealing with. Um, you know, I really do encourage you, check out restored minds.com if that's something that you, um, you struggle with. We have resources and tools available for you there. Um, and uh, you know, I, and I just want to, the main thing I want to promote in this episode is just a message of internal peace for you, right?
Because if we can do it on an individual level, we can do it within our relationships within our families and we can grow piece from the inside out, right pieces and it come from the outside. It's going to come from within. It's going to come based on the choices we make that fuel our emotions. And if you are fueled by panic and you keep feeling it through your behavior, it's going to grow. And if you're able to challenge it though, and get enough space to realize that you're in panic and get enough space there where you start being able to choose how you're reacting to it, you can start to choose behaviors that will align with a more peaceful interstate and start to grow that peace within you and start to, you know, care and keep your respect and love for other people. Right. And so, um, yeah, that's, that's really all I wanted to say in this episode today.
And I'm, you know, I do wish everyone health and safety and, uh, and please, you know, take precaution. Obviously Kate, take care of yourselves, but, but let's, uh, let's maintain our, our love for other people as well, right? That's not lose sight of that. And so, um, thank you so much for taking the time to be with, uh, be with me today, um, on this episode and, um, you know, I wish everyone the best and we're going to get through this together. And so, um, yeah. God bless everyone and I'll see you guys on next week. Thank you.
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