COVID-19: Why is it so scary?

26 March 2020

It is a challenging time for anyone with health anxiety. Coronavirus/COVID-19 is running rampant across the world. How do we manage our anxiety and mental health throughout this period?

In this episode, I will look at why COVID-19 is causing so much anxiety. And, more importantly, why those worries will reduce over time, even if the virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

Hey, it's Chris and welcome to this new video series, maybe being a bit quiet recently, but I've decided that we need to start pushing out a bit more content because as you're probably aware, there's a pandemic going on those coronavirus. There is a lot of anxiety around Corona virus. And so what I wanted to do, we start making some short videos, some short podcasts just to kind of offer some reassurance and to talk through the strategies I'm using in case they're helpful for you as well. So coronavirus covert 19 pretty scary, like you probably won't die, but there's a small chance you will die. And so normally when we talk about anxiety we'd say, okay, so what's going on with your fret detection system? And when we want to explain why covert 19 is so scary, that would normally be the first place we'd go.

Speaker 1 (00:58):

We'd say, okay, you've got this fear of bananas, let's look at how your frat detection system is firing. And we can go from there. And it turns out it's firing even though it's a banana and the banana is perfectly safe in a pandemic. And Kevin 19 we've got something a little different because yes, your fraud detection system probably shouldn't be firing this much. If you've got a predisposition to anxiety, it tends to fire more than it should, but there is a pandemic going on there. It's a small chanten is a small chance that you will die. Most people recover overwhelmingly. Most people recover, but it's a small chance and so your fret detection system maybe a little bit less broken than normal because maybe there is a bit of reason to be stressed, to be panicked. So that's, that's quite depressing lie. It's like, Oh no.

Speaker 1 (01:52):

The anxiety I'm feeling is is real and it's not going to go away because there's no magic formula, but that's not true. We're going to talk about how we can reduce the anxiety on why the anxiety is going to reduce over time because even though there's a little bit of reason to worry, we need to look at what anxiety is. It's a persistent worry and typically it's about the future. It's about the unknown. It's about what's going to happen and with the covert 19 pandemic, we really don't know at this stage what's going to happen. Do we like, we don't know how much it's going to spread. We don't know how long it's going for. We don't know how many people are going to die. We don't know if we've had it. Are we safe? We probably are safe like there's a couple of reports of reinfection, but actually it's probably that people are just testing positive for it long after they've had it and it hasn't probably gone away yet or that the tests are just bad or that someone just made a human error and got the wrong thing or didn't with the first time.

Speaker 1 (03:00):

Ton of explanations based on everything we know about previous viruses. We should get long term immunity from it, but even that can just, there's so much that we don't know at this stage how to treat it, how it's spreading, what we can do about it, how well all this social isolation works as a lot of unknowns. And if you have a predisposition to anxiety, you're just going to hock into every single one of those unknowns and it's gonna drive you crazy. And so if you're really stressed out at this point, it's no wonder because there are so many unknowns going on here. Now, the good news is that even if covert 19 one's on for long time and most of the scientific community agrees that will, we could be talking about a year or two, not a year or two of complete lockdowns, but a year or two of maybe getting patches of it flaring up and then going away again.

Speaker 1 (03:55):

It's a longterm play. Just want to be a hundred percent honest with you on that. But the good news is that it's not going to be scary forever. Why? Because a lot of those unknowns, the things that are in it really gets its hooks into and just keeps it going. They're going to go away because as time goes on, we're going to understand more about the virus, more about the mortality rate, more about how to treat it, more about how it spreads, more about how safe we are from re-infection, et cetera, et cetera, and as we answer all of those questions, then as people who are anxious, we're going to feel better because those unknowns are going to be gone. And so even though the FRA is there, even though the changes to our lifestyle is still there, actually answering all those unknowns is just really going to bring that anxiety down, which is great.

Speaker 1 (04:48):

The other thing is along the similar lines is this idea of familiarity. So we think a lot of people way more scared of dying in a plane crash and dying in a car crash. Now statistically that makes no sense because there's way more deaths, like a million people or more dying car crashes every year. Very few people die in a plane crash. It's the safest way to travel. Car is most dangerous way to travel. You are way more likely like the a hundred times at least more likely to die on your drive to the airport. Then you are in the plane crash. Very unlikely in Dane flame crash, but a lot of us get in our car and drive every day becomes familiar, becomes safe. We don't get in a plane every day unless you have some kind of fantastically rich commute. So it gets scary because we don't see everyday we don't expose ourselves to every day and so we don't get familiar with it.

Speaker 1 (05:48):

Same thing covered 19 if it's here for the long term, widget's going to get more and more familiar with it. It's going to become part of the everyday life cause it has killed quite a few people. But if you compare it to something like heart disease or cancer, they're killing way, way more. But this is a new novel fret. We're not used to this, we're not familiar with it and so it's scary. Whereas heart disease and cancer, don't get me wrong, there is a ton of health anxiety around specifically cancer, but the more we get familiar with something, especially something that doesn't, killers overwhelming doesn't kill us like covert 19 the more happy, not happy but the more relaxed we're going to feel about it, we're going to get familiar with it and over time anxiety will just chill out as well. So even if covert 19 is here for the longterm, which generally seems to be the view of the scientific community. If you're totally stressed out feeling mega anxious at the moment, don't worry because that anxiety is going to come down. Cove with 19 is going to get less scary as time goes on simply because we'll answer the unknowns, we'll become more familiar with it and it will worst-case just form part of our everyday life where we can start feeling a bit better and just getting our mind back focused and back on track.

Speaker 1 (07:16):

Hopefully that was useful and answered some of the questions around why I pandemics are so scary and that they will get better in the long term. I'm going to be doing quite a few of these videos. So do hit subscribe, join a newsletter, whatever, to stay informed, and I will see you soon.


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