Covid-19: Anxiety for the Already Anxious

I have a lot of anxiety about this whole situation. I am anxious about whether I go out too much and do not stay at home enough under the stay at home order. I am anxious about all the things that fall behind because I stay at home so much more than I am used to doing. I am anxious about giving less care than I used to to some people I used to care for more. I am anxious when I give the limited care that I do still give to those people it may be too much and may either actually expose them to the virus or allow the wide range of judgmental idiots I have dealt with to irrationally blame me should they contract the virus elsewhere. I am very anxious about my finances — this is not just in a simple context of asking “Do I have enough Money?? I have complex and layered anxiety beyond the mere fact that I may not have enough money to meet my needs. But while I have all of this anxiety I am more concerned about what I do with it than I am concerned about the anxiety itself. I have tried to deal with the anxiety and its causes in a variety of ways as I look back on the days since March 13 and leading up to this day when I wake up to a Covid-19 death toll over seventy thousand in the United States after some long time of increased isolation.

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic began I have reached out on my Facebook account posting links to charities that I have supported, posting notices of feeding programs and pre-K registration from my principal employer. Posting medical and social and new notices I find or which are provided by friends. In addition I post links to this blog and its posts. I think what I d on these posts matters but I do not think that they matter all that much. I have struggled with more resolve and conviction in my life that I will feel at any time in the future — I feel sure of that. . But being involved helps me to move beyond my anxiety. Although I am aware that I am not a person of many resources and not a person with much reason for hope. Yet, I have given multiple donations to Family Missions Company, multiple donations to Second Harvest and Feeding America and single donations tot he Nature Conservancy, The Sewing with Savoie outreach of the Acadian Museum and RIP Medical Debt. I know that it has been real money and I do not have that much but I feel that if there has ever been a time when donations to good causes were needed then this is that time. Doing something also lessens my sense of futility and helplessness.

We each cope in our own ways. I chat often with a relative who was coping by riding his bike and playing instruments. His more sensible touring bike was in the shop and he rode an older fancy racing bike he may be two old for and fell and broke his arm in two places. He now cannot play his guitar either and cannot ride his bike and has to deal with great pain. He will also have to find a new path through his anxiety. I also will very possibly face many setbacks in the path going forward through these times. But the situation is serious enough that it reminds us all that we are entitled to feel that it is a struggle to be where we currently are.

I have seen big changes on some things. Some I had a lot to do with and some very little. I volunteered to give a speech, hosted a dinner and participated in a few of the activities for the Ulster project which brought Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland to live with families of the alternate form of Christian faith in America and taught them to socialize with others from that region here. By most accounts things are better in sectarian relations in Northern Ireland than they were then. I feel that the Ulster Project had a small but real influence in creating that change. I had a tiny contribution to the good that the Ulster project did. That is one example that I can discuss freely. There have been other challenges in which I have played a more significant role but of which I can say less.

In recent years my level of effective engagement has generally declined. The question of how my life will play out in the future is very much on my mind. One thing is that different is that though I have posted about the Church recently I am less active as a Catholic and have no interest in committing to any other branch of Christianity as my daily spiritual discipline. Therefore I am wondering also about that aspect of my life. This is also a place where I can give play to anxiety..

One of my friends with whom I have maintained phone and email questions decided with me to take advantage of a day we were both leaving the house anyway. We decided to have a limited interaction in the cemetery where we new there would be fresh air, sunshine and few or no other living people. I realized we had chosen a pretty safe course as got to the large facility and nobody else was viewing the tombs. On other dates ( a few during the year) others would visit their ancestral tombs and of course when there is a burial these days fewer than ten people have been gathering for the graveside service. So it was with a sense of some contentment that I was walking through a cemetery yesterday at a safe social distance from a friend who wanted to put some flowers at his mother’s grave for Mother’s day next Sunday. His father’s marker is there as well although he is not buried there and it does not show his death date. We also visited the tombs of both of my grandmothers resting beside my grandfathers. In addition we visited the tomb of one of my great-grandmothers resting beside my great grandfather and another not resting beside her husband because a difference of religion caused him to be buried across town. I did not take any pictures today and the biggest tomb where my father’s parents and his youngest brother are buried.are not in the library of photos I have access to right now. But some of the tombs pictured here are the same ones I visited.

After visiting the cemetery I picked up a few things at the Dollar General near my home and cleaned and put things away. I took a shower and let a familiar sense of weariness pass over me. This morning I stood beside the bayou and on its banks said to myself that I felt both more of a man and more alive than usual. I end the day feeling back in the groove of less vigor and energy.

We all see the outlines of this pandemic and this quarantine through our own viewpoint. That viewpoint is mostly formed by the phenomena of our experience. Yesterday before going to the cemetery, I slept in a little more than I am normally able to sleep in. I enjoyed a perk of the quarantine in added rest. I woke sore from the past few days of buying a palm plant and moving it along with organic soil and potting mix on Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning and Monday morning I spent first uprooting a blighted and old shrub that was a permanent stunted joining of two plants. — which my mother had been eager to get out of her yard for a while. Then I worked on improving the hole and added the soils, Next I took the palm plant out of its pot set it in the hole and then covered the work with the soil displaced in removing the old plant. Yesterday after the cemetery walk I watered the plant. Prior to the cemetery walk I donated plasma and before that I went over some of my business on line that needed to be taken care of for me to go forward. Today I woke up a little earlier than yesterday. Schedules do not seem to matter much.

But beyond the lens of this crisis my life is not all that great. Like many people my old problems have not all gone away. The new problems are simply layered on top of the older problems. But that does not mean there have not been silver linings. Most of all I have actually had more rest and that very likely is the thing I needed most. I have intimated elsewhere and very likely will again what some of the leading causes of my long term anxiety are. Because I have not been silent it is possible for me to not be specific about my anxieties right now. But I am trying ads many are to get through this but also to get through it in a way that will allow me to survive in the new normal to follow. Of course I have to live to see the new normal first.

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