I am a 33-year-old working male. With the arrival of another wave of Covid-19, I feel anxious all the time. As I and my family have already been through the agony of covid infection, I fear it could happen all over again. It reaches a point where the smallest of things like a dry throat in the morning or a light headache in the evening makes me fear covid and I get anxious all over again. I start to worry about my family: how will they cope if something happens to me? So much so that I cannot even do routine work. How do I overcome my fear? – An anxious breadwinner
Answer by Kapil Sharma, Counseling Psychologist, Hudec Nepal
I want to say that it is okay to be scared right now. The fear of catching Covid helps you be more alert and cautious. But that fear is a matter of concern if it scares you beyond reason. First things first, having gone through the experience before, you have a better idea of what it is like and what can be done when you or someone in your family is infected. You have the experience of taking care of your family and that in itself is a reassurance that no matter what happens, you know you will get through it and will help your family do the same.
Second, validation on a personal level, with family members, or with an expert can do wonders. Sit with yourself, check in with your feelings, and maybe write down what you are scared of. Why did this particular instance or feeling trigger your fear? How can you solve or get over it? Write down your thoughts and then go through them to differentiate which are true and which are not.
You can also communicate with your family and share your feelings. A simple conversation can help you realize that you have no reason to be scared.
That leads us to a logical validation. Try to validate your fears with logical reasoning. For example, if a dry throat in the morning triggers your fear of covid, try drinking warm water. Maybe it is just dehydration, and if that helps, you will calm down. If your throat still feels dry and the fear is still there, talk to your physician and share your feelings. Nowadays, we do have an option of telehealth services where you can cross-check and validate your symptoms with physicians and experts from your own home, so just dial and get your worries validated you are just a call away from winning your worries. It will help you understand what is going on and what can be done for the safety of you and your family.
Fear of uncertainty can be crippling. Of course, there is no way of knowing what is going to happen next, which can make you so fearful you can’t even do routine work. But then you can also take your fear as a window of opportunity. Make it a reason to be more cautious in any way you can. This can help you become more grounded and figure out how to stay safe rather than what is keeping you in danger. For instance, if stepping out for grocery shopping is nerve-racking, get a face shield and glasses besides other recommended safety measures before leaving home. That way, you are taking precautions, thereby reducing the chances of infection.
If the issue persists, you can visit helping professionals like psychiatrists, counseling psychologists, or psychosocial counselors in person or online and help yourself to be resilient and be in an optimal state of wellbeing.