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Pandemic realities + PTSD: when "everyone is a threat" is true...

Thread starter #1
The pandemic has brought up a weird reality that all of a sudden, so many people emphasize that everyone poses a potential infectious threat.
It is true. To some degree it has been true for awhile, and will be true for awhile.

It is also not really helpful for my PTSD riddled brain. My PTSD brain takes that input and says "YEP, everyone is a THREAT. Better be ready to RUN or FIGHT all the time."

This more alarmed approach is going to wear me and my immune system out.

While I need the part of this that is being cautious and socially distanced in public, I don't need to be jumping at my own shadow. I also don't want to end up on the other side of this afraid to walk out my own door, but here I am, afraid to walk out my own door. Staying indoors 24-7 is not possible for me. I have to walk my dog and be outside or I will go nutty in other ways. In fact, eventually, I will have to go back into my job, which is working with the public in a role that is critical infrastructure in 6-8 weeks and probably ride it out for the second wave of infections. (We'll see what I end up doing and if a job change is possible, warranted, or not.)

I'm purposefully taking my dog for walks where I will pass humans at far distance (at least 50-100ft away.) Frankly, it's fairly impossible to find a place to walk where there isn't any humans at all. But my brain flipped this week from, "oh hum, going to be smart and wash my hands and wave hello from far away" to "OMG THERE IS A HUMAN 300 YARDS AWAY, THEY COULD INFECT ME WITH HORRIBLE RESPIRATORY SUFFERING, BE READY TO RUN."

This is going to be a long pandemic if every time I see a human I'm going to respond like I'm ready to fight a bear off.

Anyone else dealing with this? Anything help balance things out?
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
#2
I feel all of sudden all my fears are sort of (not really but sort... Post) real so I do not have to defend or react or realty check as I do often... But I do feel I am just as threat as others...

The other day a young man on skate slide to the elevator and almost touched me and I jumped back and was like excuse me... Can you wait for the next elevator? He took it as offense like he was diseased and retorted whatever!!!! As he back out.. I was like dude I could have something too? You never know.... And the door closed.

I think it is good time to practice our empathy... Since we are all on the same boat.
 
#3
I feel at home. Only miss my 150 armed groups exchanging opinions (cough, fine, places of Africa, whatever.)

Aka no. Everyone a threat, just in viral realities, doesn't even begin to register at threat radar.

Issue to protect better from, yes.
Watch out for sudden collapses and seemingly benign symptoms too.

But that's just my head's *usual* situation.

Heckuva easier when lived realities sync up with current situation. Far more symptomatic when not. When my once was, elsewhere's is, switch mindset to situation & land, checks with reality? I'm cool as cucumber, bored to death, and annoyed people declare 'emergency' out of what's my normal & calm it, this will get managed.

But I'll try to think up other comment and actually-advice if I get the mindset better instead of just feel for suffering of people / not wishing their distress on them and harm to them.
 
#4
Anyone else dealing with this? Anything help balance things out?
The pandemic is definitely affecting me, but I suffer it very differently than you.

For me, the main difficulty is that I can't go out and meet other people. During the past year I was on a sort of a recovery path... Going out more than usually, having many nice experiences, social and not, making some (few) new friends... I felt really good and stable towards the end of the year and this year until the pandemic started in my country.

I live alone and it's been 4 extremely lonely weeks. I only talk by phone and Skype; it's not the same as talking in person.

Initially I thought that this would be easy for me, because I was a loner for the most part of my life and solitude never really bothered me... But gosh I was wrong. After becoming used to going to movie theaters, concerts and restaurants several times a week, sometimes every day on a given week, this confinement feels horrible.

It's like I'm being forced to stay at home all the time, which is what, unfortunately, I was doing several years ago. To make matters worse, I was planning to sort some things out during these months and take, perhaps, a next big step, a potentially big change. Which in itself, could be anxiety-inducing, I think.

But now with this pandemic I feel like everything is crashing, going wrong and it only makes my anxiety worse. I don't know what I really want to do anymore, other than to go out and just relax for a couple of weeks... And stop thinking so much and having anxiety.

Those emoticons show very well how I feel quite often: 😰😥😓😭

And I also feel very tired, even though I don't do anything other than working remotely... I'm not eating well lately either, just don't want to eat for some reason.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't be complaining so much... Not being helpful right now. I was hoping for something different this year, something better.

I'm also very angry at the government of my country (I live in Spain) and at the governments of most countries. If only they reacted in time and took the appropriate actions, we all could be living our normal lives right now. Not to mention that we would avoid all the horrible deaths and economic collapse going on.
 
#5
Justmehere - yes. This might not be helpful, but I warded a certain amount of people-fear off at the pass by making a conscious effort to smile and say "Good morning" to people I was passing (at a safe distance). If they smile back, that helps disarm the threat. (During the daytime. If I'm out at night, I glare at everyone indiscriminately.)
Also, when people are arseholes and pass me too close I moan about it to every "normal" person who will listen to me - helps me keep in perspective that some fears are actually rational at the moment, even if they feel to me like they shouldn't be.
 
#6
This more alarmed approach is going to wear me and my immune system out.
@Justmehere understand.. these times are definitely exhausting for many.. solidly united here..

Keeping sanity and having to make it to work, wearing masks, sanitizers and dealing with patients.
Now having next week off.. and then I‘ve got to get back to the Clinic and get the work done.
Had to write rules on my blackboard, reducing news.. watching Quentin Tarantino movies or without wanting to be a yoga/ meditation preacher, yes Yoga can work and even if this whole chakra thing sounds like BS for many, the alarm systems can be calibrated. I do tend to stand infront of the bathroom mirror checking my throat for any signs.. but then again.. Just then I might need a kind kick in the a** so I’ve got to practice my Afrobeat dance..

Dogwalk seems very earthing..

Some comforting vibes your way.. let’s get through this..
 
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#7
Temporary Alliances, or, BOLO Friends :sneaky:

If seemingly everyone a threat?
Look who isn't directly right now & ally up until you get to a point you get to your actual goal (as healthy and without panic / out of crowds) or to the next safest base.

//

In sickness situ that would be watching who is safe / keeping to precautions and cautious & courteous to and of others, and / or communicating about health situation openly aka providing friendlies intel.

<< And with a one solid ally at least that means not *everyone* is a threat any longer. Ditto it means you are not trapped *alone*, because someone else with you and may have your back.
 
#9
Idk that I'd be bothering too much with trying not to be afraid of the viral threat right now. Because the numbers are pretty high, and going up, in parts of the world, and a lot of people are dying.

So, it's a scary fking situation. Really, really scary.

I'm doing 2 main things to try and manage that fear:
1) controlling input (threads like this one, I probably won't revisit, no offense), being very fussy about the amount of news I take in each day, and switching stuff off like my health urgently depends on it when it starts being all about the virus. Cause it isn't helpful to be listening to people tell us how much we don't know (or worse, telling us they have it all figured out - cause we really don't just yet);
And most importantly
2) investing heavily in all those things that balance my sympathetic nervous system (yoga when my head allows it, exercise daily, good sleep, and at least one guided relaxation every single day). That gives me the best odds of managing my ptsd response to what is a genuinely scary situation.
 
#10
Anyone else dealing with this? Anything help balance things out?
I definitely have the "everybody is a threat" feeling, but I think I've had that feeling anyway for a long time, so what all of this does for/to me is simply give me a legitimate reason to stay away from everyone, which I find kind of comforting.

Funny. Everybody was always telling me I needed to get out more and be around people. Now all I hear is to stay inside and away from everyone. LOL
 
#11
I went to the grocery store the other day (I only go when we absolutely need to restock) I was pretty much ruined for the rest of the day. I had to sit in a dark room for quite awhile trying to decompress.

The other Covid related issue I am having is a fear that the country cannot take this stress and violence will erupt. It really consumes me sometimes. I have had a few nightmares over it (that is when I am able to sleep). Adding to this fear is that fact that we have an unstable neighbor who obsesses over us (posting comments online, lodging false complaints to our homeowners assoc, etc). We are also not politically or religiously aligned with the majority of people in our area. Consequently I fear for the physical safety of my family constantly. I feel like we are sitting ducks. Probably irrational fears but things are so strange right now that I cannot convince myself of that.
 
#12
I'm late to the show here, but for a while, I didn't think the pandemic affected me deep down. But I've been saying to friends and family how surreal things are. I have to admit that the pandemic has added a layer to the "cup", and my own trigger is the sense that there is an uncertain, vague threat out there that could rear its ugly head at any time. Uncertainty gets my anxiety way up because my dad punished even the most innocuous behaviors severely. One of the things that can help diminish ptsd is if the person can prepare or frame it in a way that diminishes the impact. I never could never prepare or predict when my world would come to an end.
 
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