The uncertainty, consistently elevated heart rate, feeling like you’re drowning. The anxiety that’s fully justified, but there’s no fix for the root of the problem; it feels like it’s never going to end.
I’m a very anxious person. I have over a decade’s worth of knots in my back and a catalog of nervous tics to prove it.
In the first couple of days when people started to get concerned about this pandemic, I was oddly okay with it. The fear of the rest of the nation was rising to meet my baseline.
But then it wasn’t okay.
This isn’t a fear of meeting new people, or being late to something important, or not being good enough. This isn’t one of those things where you know the worst-case scenario can’t be that bad.
Fear of uncertainty is the worst fear.
I see so many posts crossing my social media feeds with the gist, “Don’t be afraid”. Some of those turn into: “This shouldn’t be such a big deal”; others end with encouragement that “God’s got this” or “everything will be okay”.
People who are downplaying the importance of slowing the spread of this thing are ignorant. Don’t listen to those bitches.
The other people have a point. Everything will eventually return to some semblance of okay. But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to be afraid. Fear is not inherently a bad thing; fear is simply an obstacle. Obstacles make life difficult, but that struggle gives birth to growth.
Right now, the world might feel like it’s ending. We’re staring into an unpredictable future, and that’s terrifying. “Don’t be afraid” can seem an awful lot like “live in denial”. It’s okay to be scared.
In this chaos, we’re all facing the same fear of uncertainty. We could collapse under the pressure. Or we could face the struggle together. The only thing in our hands is how we, as individuals, choose to live.
Fear isn’t going anywhere. But we can drown out the voice of uncertainty with hope. I’ve already heard so many stories of people selflessly helping out neighbors and strangers. I’ve seen countless people spreading positivity with their music, words, and creative ways of joining together while facing isolation.
Humanity is resilient. We may be facing a collective fear; but I’m certain that if we continue to support each other, this terrible time will result in societal growth.
You’re allowed to be afraid. Just have faith that everything will be okay.