health

Signs your anxiety about coronavirus has turned dark

By Sandee LaMotte

Published May 12, 2020

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In the age of coronavirus, many people around the world are facing an anxiety-ridden reality. While some of us may be coping well right now, experts worry our emotional resilience will begin to fray as the threat of Covid-19 drags on.

These are some of the signs that our coping skills are becoming threadbare and our anxieties may turn dark and more dangerous.

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Poor sleep

Not only does anxiety create poor sleep, a lack of quality sleep can lead to anxiety, stress and depression, a sort of circular impact. The good news is that exercise and practicing good sleep hygiene can often help get us back on track.

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A focus on bad news

As we shelter in place, a focus on watching alarming media reports on the growth of the virus and the devastation to the economy is another warning flag, according to trauma psychologist Shauna Springer.

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Loss of interest and pleasure

An even more serious sign, Springer said, is when we lose the taste for connection to others and stop reaching out to friends and family.

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Helplessness or crippling anxiety

If the current threat of Covid-19 has reawakened feelings of helplessness, that can also be a key sign of risk, experts said.

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Thoughts of suicide

Being so hopeless and anxious that we begin to think of ending our life is, of course, a sign that immediate professional help is needed, experts said.

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What to do to help yourself

  • Reach out and connect, just not physically.

  • Breathe deeply.

  • Practice gratitude.

  • Take control of your mental state.

  • Establish a schedule.

  • Be careful with media, especially social media.

  • Crack a smile.

  • Stay optimistic.

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How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.