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Terrified by the virus - help needed please.

(25 Posts)
BlueSapphire Thu 21-May-20 13:45:08

I had just written a really long post which took some courage, and then GNHQ popped up and said the title was too short, and lo and behold the whole post disappeared, so here goes again for the second time if I can remember it.

I felt it was time to say why I had disappeared from the site during the last few weeks, especially as I was a frequent Good Morning poster, and now feel brave enough to tell all, hoping for some wise words. I am very grateful to a couple of GN members who have kept in touch by PM or phone, and have been a great help.

I hope you can bear with me as it's quite long......

The truth is I am absolutely terrified of this virus, convinced that it's out to get me, and just cannot get this thought out of my head. I think it's in the house, which is completely irrational, as no-one has been in here except me since I started lockdown. I am now into my 11th week on my own (DH died two years ago). In my saner moments I know that it's not here.

I enjoyed lots of social activities and groups prior to this, had made new friends and now it's all gone. I only see my family through glass, or via WhatsApp video calls and our weekly quizzes. My neighbours are brilliant, always at the end of a phone me and encourage me so much.

I lost my appetite through the worry and fear and have lost half a stone.

I worry about every little thing. I have become obsessive about cleaning and hand washing, convinced that the virus is on everything, worry if I touch my face, handle everything that comes into the house with rubber gloves, and make sure everything is sanitised. But the fear is there all the time.

I was in such a state last week that I spoke on the phone to a lovely GP at my surgery, as I really thought I was going mad. The first thing she did was to put me in touch with the local mental health services and they organised very quickly for me to start a course of CBT by phone, starting tomorrow. They have said I have moderate anxiety (doesn't feel very moderate to me!) The GP also prescribed lorazepam (?), but I can't say it's made much difference. I have never had anything like this before in my life and it has completely knocked me for six.

My friends and neighbours have been encouraging me to go out for little walks, as I had not been further than the end of my drive or in my back garden since lockdown started, so I have been walking perhaps a couple of hundred yards to the end of the road and back. Today I decided to venture a little further but found that I didn't feel safe and turned back home. And then as I was walking back on the pavement a cyclist suddenly and silently went past me on the road at what I thought wasn't a safe distance, perhaps three to four feet. Now I am full of fear that I may have breathed the virus in because he was too close. And my heart is pounding. So now I will not be happy until the incubation time has gone past and I can relax again - until something similar happens again, and the vicious circle starts again.......

My daughter knows how I am feeling, but I have not told DS as he is a key worker and has enough to worry about keeping himself safe, although I think he realises I am going through a bad patch.

Many thanks for reading; wasn't really sure what forum to post on.

Smileless2012 Thu 21-May-20 14:03:53

Hi BlueSapphire I'm sorry you're finding the current situation so stressful and hope that simply telling us about it here on GN will give you a little peace and comfort.

You wont be alone in feeling this way. Maw has started a thread on this forum Don't panic Captain Main-waring and I hope you read the OP. It's long but very informative and having just read it, I think you'd find it helpful and reassuring.

Despite the extent of your anxiety, you're doing incredibly well by walking to the end of your road and back. I hope you don't let the fact that you tried to go further, but were unable to do so, take away how well you've done finding the courage to leave the 'safety' of your own back garden and drive.

I'm sure you'll find the CBT very useful and the medication beneficial. Some can take a while to get into the body's system so you may not be feeling the full benefit yet.

I'm sorry I have no advice to give, but didn't want to not respond to your post.

flowers x

SueDonim Thu 21-May-20 14:10:02

I’m sorry you’ve got such awful anxiety. flowers

Two things which seem good signs, to me, are firstly that you recognise that you have things out of perspective and secondly that you’ve sought help for the problem. I’m not sure there’s much more anyone here can do to help but if writing it down helps, that’s a good thing. I hope the CBT helps, and you could always ask the doctor for a beta-blocker medication (assuming you don’t have any contraindications) to help calm down the panicky feeling.

rosecarmel Thu 21-May-20 14:10:45

You are not alone-

Jessity Thu 21-May-20 14:21:13

Hello BlueSapphire. I’m so sorry you’re in such a dreadful state of anxiety. It is and has been a worrying time for everyone and your anxiety is bound to be greater because you’ve been alone in your home with no change of scene or companionship for nearly three months.

Do please read the post by Maw headed Captain Mainwaring, it’s a very informative and helpful article by a leading cardiologist.

I can’t offer anything useful alas but I hope that warm friendships on GN, that helpful article, your medication and the CBT will help. I believe anxiety medication does take a while to have an effect.

Take care of yourself please.

maddyone Thu 21-May-20 14:32:48

I’m so pleased that you felt able to post today. You are having a terrible time at the moment and I’m so sorry to hear that. I feel for you so much. I take antidepressants, I have for several years as if I try to lower the dosage, I start to get the old feelings back. Now I feel the horrible feelings of depression when I wake up, and I’ve not lowered the dosage. For that reason I have some understanding of how you feel. It must be particularly difficult for you as you have lost your husband. Anxiety is a terrible illness, I have family members who suffer from anxiety and of course, like you, they are feeling acutely anxious at this time.
You have taken the first steps, you have spoken to your GP and are about to begin CBT by phone. Small steps will enable you to gradually recover. Eventually life will return to normal but in the meantime, take all the precautions that make you feel safe. You know you’re overcompensating but don’t worry about that. You will feel better eventually.
Take care flowers

MawB Thu 21-May-20 14:52:39

Dear Bluesapphire you need not apologise for anything, your fears are very real and you will not be the only person feeling this way to a greater or lesser extent.
Do please read my post on the “ Don't panic Captain Mainwaring” thread. It was sent to me by a friend who has also had a successful career as a therapist.
It won’t make everything feel all right but it does put things in perspective
Many of us, having had the “isolate or die, stay at home, save lives” etc etc message drummed into us (almost like brainwashing) will find it hard to trust our own instincts and judgement. I am trying to summon up the “courage” to go to the Post Office and finding it hard just because I have not been put anywhere. It is like wading through mud and I can’t lift my feet out of it.
Do please take every opportunity to talk about your feelings and I think, to share them with both of your children. Your son might feel hurt or excluded if he finds out you shared this with his sister but, with the best intentions, not with him. flowers

dragonfly46 Thu 21-May-20 15:00:09

Bluesapphire I am so sorry to hear how you are suffering. I know anxiety feeds anxiety and it is hard to break out of the loop.

Maws thread has helped me too put things into perspective. I am sure everyone has days like you are having - I have a friend in the same spiral. So much so she has already had two tests for Covid which have proved negative.

No amount of our reassurance will help as it has to come from you. You will get back on an even keel although you feel overwhelmed at the moment. I had the same when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was convinced I was about to die. Over time I have been able to rationalise this and not let it overwhelm me.

I hope the CBT helps you. I have heard it is excellent and we will soon have you back to your old self.

Callistemon Thu 21-May-20 15:08:36

I was just going to suggest reading MawBroon's thread, BlueSapphire but I see she and others have already suggested it.

It is a very worrying time and there would be something wrong with us if we didn't feel anxiety. However, there has been nothing else much on the news since this began which can increase anxiety levels.

Well done for taking a walk along the road. Is it possible for one of your kind neighbours to go for a short walk with you, at a safe distance?

I haven't been out at all, as I've had a letter telling me to stay at home but I do find getting out into the garden, if you have one, in this lovely weather, enjoying the relative peace (another helicopter is going over as I type!) and listening to the birds, concentrating on their different sounds, is soothing and helps.

I hope that your CBT phone therapy helps.

This, too, shall pass. flowers

BlueBelle Thu 21-May-20 15:09:56

Dear bluesaffire I am so glad you are back posting on here with us We are all going through various stages of this bad time, some enjoying the quiet solitude , some tolerating it, many more finding it lonely, tedious and boring (I m in this set) and some like yourself becoming increasingly anxious with what can be described as almost constant panic attacks
We are all travelling the same road unfortunately this panic has been drummed into you by a hysterically obsessed press and media
I do believe there has been worldwide hysteria which is just so catching
Please remember the VAST majority of people recover we don’t hear about them though do we .
Do take the CBT with both hands It will help you to unlearn the fear you have learnt and the anti depression tablets will take a while to kick in so stick with them Do take the little walks and throw the fear of the cyclist out the window he didn’t cough or sneeze on you and it’s now well known that the open air is the best place to be, it’s confined spaces indoors that are the most worrying, in fact scientist now believe it’s is a shorter distance than 2m that it travels so throw that one out with the bath water
Get out as much as you can and keep posting on here we can all shore each other up in whatever way we can It will Just be a bad dream soon
Keep going and you ll get there xx

MayBee70 Thu 21-May-20 15:10:35

Can I recommend the daily blog by Dr John Campbell: it’s on utube. The information he gives is very empowering. Not only that but people from all over the world send in pictures and it makes me realise tat the whole world is fighting this pandemic. It certainly helps me and I’m pretty much in the same position as you in that I’ve hardly been out of the house for weeks.The problem with the virus is the unknown element and the more knowledge we gain personally the safer we feel. Ok: so taking VitD, zinc, VitC and VitK might not actually be protecting me but it does make me feel as if I’m being proactive.

Charleygirl5 Thu 21-May-20 15:11:22

Hopefully you will be feeling better having explained your present feelings. I have little more to add except that some drugs take 6-8 weeks before they start working.

Urmstongran Fri 22-May-20 07:12:50

Oh BlueSapphire how wonderful to see you are posting again! Baby steps dear lady.

You’re perception of risk is skewed and needs resetting. Panic attacks are horrid - overwhelming and exhausting. A truly miserable time when days pass in a blur of worry and fear.

Take heart - you’re on the road to recovery. xx

Sparklefizz Fri 22-May-20 09:08:27

BlueSapphire My heart goes out to you. I can't add anything to what's already been said but didn't want to pass on by. flowers for you.

nanaK54 Fri 22-May-20 09:19:02

Great advice already given so I just want to send you kindest thoughts flowers

Marydoll Fri 22-May-20 09:24:34

I too have nothing to add, but just to say that finding the courage to post your fears is a step forward.
I understand what you are feeling, it is irrational, but you have no control over your feelings.

Last year after a spell in Coronary Care due to a heart condition, I didn't even know I had, I was convinced I was going to die at any minute. I couldn't tell anyone how I felt and everyone thought I was coping, as I'm the one usually supporting my family.

Eventually, as part of cardiac rehab, I had counselling, some of it by phone during lockdown. Initially I resisted as I felt ashamed of my fears and the need for help.
I cannot express how much it helped me. It did open a can of worms, but I benefitted so much from it in the end.

You will get better, but it will take time. There will be no instant fix, so hang on in there.

Maw's thread has really helped me put things in perspective.

Take care.

25Avalon Fri 22-May-20 09:44:26

Hi BlueSapphire so sorry you are feeling so anxious but understandably so. An awful lot of people are feeling the same way so you are not alone and the govt is making sure there are mental support systems in place. In our local neighbourhood there is a special helpline for people who would like to have regular phone calls from a befriender so they don’t feel so isolated- perhaps this would be a help.
I had an encounter with two runners when I drove to the postbox late one evening as soon as I got out of the car. Then felt very anxious for at least a week. Kept it at a controllable level by telling myself they would need to have the virus, and they went by very quickly so any risk was very very low. Still felt relieved when a week had passed.
Keep trying to be rational although anxious feelings can suddenly be overwhelming especially if you are on your own.. If they are please ring somebody even if just a friend for an ordinary chat. It really can help get things in perspective.

ninathenana Fri 22-May-20 09:58:04

Can somebody point me to Maw's post please.
I can't find it.

Marydoll Fri 22-May-20 10:04:44

Here it is, Nina

BlueSky Fri 22-May-20 10:39:53

BlueSapphire I felt like that at the beginning of this virus emergency but I'm now much more rational about it. We all have already our own real health scares and grief so this just tipped us over the edge. As advised please read MawB's post, which I found really helpful.

Luckygirl Fri 22-May-20 10:42:30

I have never had anything like this before in my life and it has completely knocked me for six.

I became depressed - seriously depressed - after a hip operation and it caught me totally unawares, so I do understand how you must be "knocked for six" - it is quite scary. But I think you have hit the jackpot as regards treatment - very quickly organised. I got better after treatment (still take a small dose of AD) so please take heart.

I think this virus has caught us all unawares, and is especially hard for those of us who live alone. No-one to bounce our worries off and provide perspective.

I hope the CBT helps. Take care.

Dorsetcupcake61 Fri 29-May-20 13:42:02

I dont have anything to add to the other comments but I hope things are in the way to being a lot easier for you. Big hugs?

Jishere Fri 29-May-20 14:02:59

Dear Bluesapphire I hope you are feeling a bit better. It sounds like you have been through alot.
This virus has affected many in different ways and I for one my anxiety has gone through the roof.
I hope the CBT helps and in times of panic give yourself a little reassuring voice , 'I am Ok, I'm doing alright' etc this could help calm you.
Big hug and take carex

Puzzler61 Fri 29-May-20 14:23:40

You’ve already taken 3 big steps BlueSapphire, admitting to yourself that you are unwell, asking for help from your GP and being open to take part in CBT sessions, and writing these words down in this forum is another brave achievement.
I hope you can feel the swell of love and understanding for you on this thread.
Your GP will check back with you and can “up” the dosage if the tablets don’t make a difference within about 6-8 weeks.

You’re already starting to chart your own recovery - You Can Do It! ?

Keep posting to us on the Good Morning thread, even if you’ve had a bad night/ wobble or just want a moan. We’re all here for you ???

Kalu Fri 29-May-20 14:24:45

I am so sorry you are going through such an anxious time BlueSapphire. Thankfully you have done exactly the right thing by getting in touch with an understanding GP. CBT is a wonderful tool along with appropriate ADs to re-tweek our heads. I sincerely hope, slowly but surely, you will go from strength to strength to regain rationalising and deal with what has laid you so low.

I had a very bad accident 6 years ago and went from a get up and go, glass half full type to a severely depressed anxious wreck. Completely floored me with frightening panic attacks added to the mix. I was walking through fog daily with thoughts I was going mad and there really was no hope for me. Something clicked when I thought I should speak to my GP. Counselling and ADs were quickly arranged and I slowly found my way out of the nightmare.

You are not alone BlueSapphire as you have many friends here and we will be here to support you in any way we can?