See what I did there with that title?∧
Got your attention didn’t it.
So, follow these instructions carefully and within minutes your self protection will kick in.
- Log on to Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest
- Go to settings.
- Scroll down till you reach the log out button
- Click on it.
Repeat steps 1-4 on all social media platforms. then sit back, take a deep breath and revel in the quietness.
Having just typed the word Corona in to my WhatsApp search bar revealed that in the last 4 days I have received 46 messages with the word Corona in them. This is after leaving a public group that I was on, if I was still on the group the number would have been vast. Typing in to the Facebook search bar the word “Corona”, the first hit that appears is a group with the title “Corona” in big, dark scary looking font, the group had, when I last checked 15 million likes. What there is to like about Corona escapes me, but each to their own.
Most, if not all conversations the last couple of weeks have revolved around the virus, the panic buying of toilet paper, pasta and hand sanitizer, the mass global panic, the hoards of people stampeding a supermarket is something I do not remember ever experinacing before.
It was only a matter of time before the jokes started, and below i have selected 2 just in case you are the only person in the world whose phone has not stopped pinging with these pictures:
My daughter has been very anxious this week, due I am sure, partly to my own anxieties, which have been difficult to hide. She is mostly worried about us running out of food, which, in a child’s mind is one of the biggest calamities that could happen.
(Side note to adults: wherever I have written the word grass, feel free to insert toilet roll)
Trying to explain to her the concept of herd mentality helped me to clear the space in my own mind to start to be slightly rational. I compared us all to a herd of sheep in a field. One sheep whispers in to the others ear “Have you heard, grass is disappearing, you had better get all the grass you can really quickly otherwise you will surely starve”. The sheep hearing this, runs off in a wild panic gobbling up all the grass he can find, other sheep start muttering to themselves, they look at panicky sheep and they to feel the panic start to take hold, and off they go, not exactly knowing why they are running madly towards the panicked sheep, but nevertheless copying what he is doing, because she obviously knows something we dont, all of them gobbling and snatching at the grass. Except one little black sheep, the black sheep stands bewildered, she sees grass all around her, she knows that it will rain, which will make more grass grow, she sees her mummy and daddy black sheep sleeping peacefully in the corner and knows they will keep her safe, and as she happily goes back to minding her own business and grazing on her grass she thinks to herself “boy, all those white sheep are sure going to have an awesome stomach ache”.
The herd mentality is something we are all experiencing now. Think about it for a minute, the panic buying of toilet paper. Huh?? why toilet paper of all things? surely it would make more sense to be panic buying every food good we can, toothpaste, batteries, medication etc. One person somewhere in the world decided that toilet paper is the most crucial item to have at home in case of a world wide pandemic and the herd have followed. ( Saying that though, I think I will take a break to check how much we have………ok, checked, we have 12 which I think, with rationing of 1/3 a sheet each should do us nicely for the near future )
On a more serious note, this week has found my “normal” anxiety levels ( which you may know are high at any given times) reach new levels. For those who have to self isolate, those who experience health anxiety, are vulnerable both physically and emotionally the period we are going through now must be awful. Pictures coming out of China and other countries with a high rate of Corona shows people throwing themselves out of buildings, gangs beating people in the streets and more. The fear that is provoking some to act in ways that would and should be seen as horrendous. As I washed my hands for the 7th time today the thought struck me that for those who experience OCD with thoughts such as “if I do not wash my hands something bad will happen” their condition is now becoming even more extreme then usual. The cancer patients who can not get hold of essential hand sanitiser for their hands, the elderly and the people who are socially isolated how scared and worried they must be.
Last night on the phone a friend imparted wise words. Take yourself off WhatsApp groups, do not listen to the news, turn of the TV or only watch mind numbing series, take yourself off certain Facebook groups for a while. If there is anything crucial you need to know, you will find out. I can attest that she was correct, not having my phone beep every 10 seconds with another catastrophic news report, or even having the constant jokes has brought down my anxiety substantially.
Perhaps a way to calm our own anxiety is to reach out to those who, due to many reasons are even more socially isolated now, offer to cook for them, shop for them or just have a chat on the phone. This morning I received an email from the Chief Executive of the organisation I work for. He quoted a Rabbi from Los Angeles, Rabbi Yosef Kanevsky, the Rabbi writes:
“Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise”.
How beautiful, how perfect for today when we find ourselves in states of high anxiety, fear, illness and worry, to be able to take a deep breath, and ask what we can do for others who are in the same situation, or far worse off than we are.
Wishing you and all your loved ones, Health and well being.