The mental effects of Corona

Just thought I’d create this topic separate from the nitty gritty details or the politics of the crisis in case anyone wanted to share how or if what’s going on the world is talking a mental toll. For myself I know that I’ve been spending too much time consuming the news and I regularly turn off the TV as it’s often just pundits rechurning the same old news with nothing new to add. Much like everyone else I’ve “lost” thousands of dollars on the stock market but at 40 years old I’m not too worried about that as it will come back eventually. Mostly I’m kicking myself for not seeing what was coming as it seems so obvious now. I have to consider myself luckier than most because as a teacher, I’m not going to lose my job and will continue to get paid throughout the time that we’re off. In fact, I literally just signed a contract to take me through till June on the Friday that everyone got met off from school. So I’ve been very fortunate. I sleep no problems but when I wake up in the morning I feel this general sense of despair. I feel that the isolation is affecting me even though I do consider myself to be an introvert. I don’t mind being isolated but when it’s everyone else as well it just feels wrong. The other thing that weighs on me is that we’re staying with my parents during spring break and I’m terrified that we’ll act as a vector for them getting sick (or already have and don’t know it yet). Anyways, I feel like the situation is starting to wear on me and just thought I’d start this in case anyone has anything they’d like to get off their chest.

I’m trying to stay away from too much news. It’s easy to get depressed from seeing the same information being repeated. Being stuck inside is a challenge. I’m used to walking my daughter to and from school, and weekend family walks. We live along the Pearson International Airport flight path. The sound of planes overhead is now much rarer and it makes me sad.

My sister in law is freaking the fuck out. It’s rubbing off on my wife. The emotional toll is real.

I am somewhat resigned to being exposed to it. I’ll be the one going to the grocery store. I hope I roll some good numbers with the dice.

Go late at night. I’ve been going to Dierbergs a half-hour before closing, and the store is 90% empty. Last night, they had everything in stock as usual, other than eggs and TP.

I sent to Safeway in San Jose this morning at 6:30am and it was more crowded than I expected. Not terrible, though. They had most things except some produce and most cleaning supplies were gone. I think I got the last pack of Clorox wipes.

They were limiting cleaning supplies to 1/customer.

There’s very little chance of getting any masks to wear at this point. I do have disposable gloves I can wear. How can I best protect myself in a store besides keeping distance. I was thinking of a bandana over mouth and nose, but I’ll look like a stagecoach robber.

The numbers in Missouri are still low, but we went from 24 to 47 coronavirus cases overnight, and I don’t think we’ve done much testing. Is there a rule of thumb that says something for every confirmed case of coronavirus there are probably X more untested contagious people out there?

In Seattle they were using 10x likely cases versus confirmed. In China that rule was also applied. Even in a country like Singapore they assumed 4x. So that gives you some starting points…

I’ve got that light headness/headache/head tingle I get when super stressed. I think it’s from tension. Blood pressure and heart rate is fine though.

No symptoms!

It depends too much on the testing regime. But for a rule of thumb that should be good enough until your hospitals are overloaded or the spread is stopped: take the number of deaths, and multiply by 1000x to 10000x.

(You want to work off the reported deaths since they’re less dependent on how many / which people get tested.)

I grew up without running water, electricity, or telephone, and we poached most of our meat, and grew a lot of vegetables that we’d store in a root cellar or would otherwise can. I’ve never really had that part of me go away, and spend hundreds of miles by myself every year, ski-camping, backpacking, etc.

For that reason, this hasn’t really had a big mental effect on me. I don’t have any anxiety. My biggest feeling is disappointment—I’m now indefinitely stuck in a foreign country, I’ve lost huge job-opportunities, and there’s a gal I really like that now I can’t see.

So that sucks. On the other hand, I’m stuck on a beautiful beach without many people, and can go snorkeling every day. Even if all the food stocks vanished, I’d have enough to last forever.

It’s a mixed bag.

This is something scary and new, but if you consider the risks rationally it’s literally not the end of the world. And with extremely high probability it’s not going to be the end of your world either.

This is possibly the worst of the crisis in the Western world right now. In China, the number of new cases has already declined immensely.

If people (mostly) respect quarantine where you live, that’s thousands, maybe millions of possible strands of infection cut off. And that’s great! I wondered if our time/money-obsessed society would let itself die off because it would be inconvenient to do otherwise, but no, we’re actually all (mostly) doing our part and coming together… by coming apart! Good news in and of itself!

You should religiously take every extra precaution if you have special health risks, but if you’re healthy you’re overwhelmingly likely to come out ok from this crisis.

Many people report not ever having any symptoms. That sucks from an epidemiological standpoint, but hey, good for you! And then, if you do get symptoms, there’s an 80% chance you’ll get over them without help. If you do need hospitalization, if quarantine is respected where you live, you will get the help you need. And even then the fatality rate is estimated at around 2%, probably much, much less than that if you’re under 60 and healthy.

There is already extensive new research undergoing on the virus. Antibody treatment could come very soon, even before a vaccine (uh, don’t quote me on the specifics of the science, though!).

So keep hope!

Unless you’re all out of TP. Then you’re fucked .

About five years ago my entire social life melted down, and ever since I’ve pretty much lived alone and been a total hermit. I haven’t had to make any major changes in my normal routine to deal with recent events. Living alone, not answering to anyone else and doing as you please are pretty awesome if I’m honest. I guess my point is that if anything, all of this has only justified and encouraged my lifestyle. What’s so great about going outside anyway? :P

Thanks Woodlance, your positive thoughts have definitely picked me up a bit which I needed as I’ve consumed too much news today already!

My rational Vulcan brain tells me the same thing you told me. My primitive lizard brain on the other hand is going OMG! OMG! Thanks for posting this. It’s helping in tamping down lizard brain and reinforcing Vulcan brain.

From the beginning, I’ve mostly been worried about my brother who is a doctor and has a chronic lung condition and is on the front line dealing with patients. And my parents who are in their late 80s.

I haven’t been concerned about myself. If I die, I die. If I get sick, then depending on how much is covered by health insurance that could be an issue.

I can’t think about it. I would be a mess with my risk factors being so bad. So anytime I start to worry I actively shut that down and force my brain to suddenly think of something else.

I’m sick.

My sister is sick.

Her son and her guy are sick with a fever.

My mom non-stop drinks and cries every time I talk to her.

My work wants to act like it’s business as usual.

And I am surrounded by people who think that if they proclaim themselves the biggest victims of them all, more than parents, more than the young, more than the kids stuck at home… just keep piling on that somehow they’ll be a winner of… something.

Our federal government is a limp biscuit at best, the local governments are patch-working things with health systems that have prepared a lot for this but no one could prepare for this scale and our VPN has just come up after being down for hours because… well reasons.

It’s exhausting. But I am going to catch-up on my e-mails, do my job, answer the phone, most the time, when my parents call to bitch or cry, listen to the woes of my sisters who are parents, and then at the end of the day play some games and watch a movie.

And I am also consuming way too much COVID-19 news, but… doing the best I can. The alternative is worse.

I’d take some of that load off you if I could.

Well now I’ve got The Band’s “The Weight” stuck in my head: Take a load off Nesrie!