The Complications of Schizophrenia, Anxiety, and COVID-19
I deal with schizophrenia anxiety around COVID-19. The pandemic hit me especially hard. I still haven't recovered my former level of social activities, and much of my time is spent indoors and alone -- isolated. I still wear masks in the grocery store and don't dine indoors in restaurants (I live in a warm climate). When most of the world went on with their lives and returned to normal, my paranoia and anxiety kept me stuck in a loop of fear, worry, concern, and the possibility of adverse outcomes. Even though we took many precautions against contracting the virus, my husband returned to work over a year ago, and last week, he started having symptoms. Two days later, I did, too. After a few days, we both tested positive for COVID-19.
I had lived with so much anxiety around getting the virus. I was worried that both my husband and I would have severe cases because of underlying health issues. I worried about this more for my husband than myself. I was terrified that COVID-19 would put him in the hospital or worse. Living with that level of fear and anxiety for almost four years took a toll on my mental health and my way of life.
Schizophrenia Anxiety Around COVID-19 Held Me Hostage
Before the pandemic, I used to go to brunch regularly with friends. I attended in-person classes, non-profit fundraisers, and other events. All of that stopped during the height of COVID and in the months and years that followed. For me, the symptoms of schizophrenia and my anxiety disorder were exasperated by the fear of me or a loved one becoming ill.
We are over a week into the illness, and we are still both experiencing symptoms, but I would guess that our cases were moderate and not severe. We didn't end up at the hospital, which I'm grateful for. I still can't taste or smell my food, and my husband still has a heavy head and exhaustion, but hopefully, we will both make a complete recovery. My paranoia and anxiety work together to make me fear long COVID. Fearing long COVID is the last of my paranoia and anxiety around the illness, though.
Life After a COVID Infection and My Schizophrenia Anxiety
Now that we have had the virus, I feel more likely to start returning slowly to my pre-pandemic life. I know it will have to be a slow process because I don't want to overwhelm myself by immediately jumping in with a busy social calendar. I'm ready to go back to church in person and start meeting friends for brunch and other dates.
Many people thought I was ridiculous for living so long with many restrictions and precautions. People often made comments in the grocery store about my wearing a mask. I can't help the fact that I have two diagnoses that can make me respond to things differently than others. Although I'm excited to start returning to visiting friends and family, I'm not ashamed of how I handled the pandemic and the years since. Like everyone else, I did the best I could, and although that looked different than many other people, it made me feel safer. And if people want to judge me for that, I am confident enough to handle that.
In the following video, I encourage people to be gentle with themselves if they, too, are experiencing schizophrenia anxiety around a COVID-19 infection.
Chamaa, R. (2023, November 29). The Complications of Schizophrenia, Anxiety, and COVID-19, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2023/11/the-complications-of-schizophrenia-anxiety-and-covid-19