I am going to keep a record of my reflections while I am well enough to work in this time of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Often I write for others, but this is for myself. I want to reflect on this time, in the moment, so that I can learn from what is happening around me. I am happy to answer questions about anxiety related to COVID-19, but my answers will be mostly about anxiety. People look for big, fancy answers about anxiety, but, as I said yesterday, what we have to do about anxiety is simple.
That’s all I’ll say in the way of preamble. Here’s my journal:
It is 5 am and I am up preparing for my first day at work after a weekend on home call, just beginning to realize the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on my small corner of the medical world.
As a doctor for teenagers, in a psychiatric hospital, I expect to be dealing with more anxiety than physical illness, but I am thinking of the anxiety in our community, the anxiety of my patients and everyone I work with. Many will think that doing too much is overreacting. They are wrong. Doing too much is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. I keep this in mind, we cannot stop COVID-19. We can only slow it down.
Some people are panicking. They are overbuying and hoarding. They think that their actions can save them. They cannot. This is one of those times when we must ALL have what we need. Having what you need yourself – and more of it than you will ever use – does not help the people who can help you to stay well. The next person you see is the person who can help you. It doesn’t matter WHO they are because we must all be helpful. It’s only if we can ALL be helpful that any of us will manage.
I remember when I was 3 or 4 and my parents taught me to share. Do you remember? Do you remember how you didn’t want to share but were taught that this was the better way? I learned that if you shared, others might share with you, and when they did, I realized that this would be good. For everyone. We are in exactly that situation. We need to look after ourselves, but we also need to look after each other, so, please, SHARE.
This is a photo that will always make me feel peaceful. It is a cup of tea, made in my own kitchen in a favourite cup. I want to thank Andrew, my husband, for always remembering to make me tea when I forget that it would help.