HOPE/Coping During Covid-19

Carolyn Ellis, March 17, 2020

Having had panic disorder for something like 10  years, begnning with my 5th pregnancy (1994), I was forced to come up with coping mechanisms which, as it turns out, I am able to resurrect and apply to today's crisis!

A key part of my regime at the time, when my symptoms were at their worst, was to break every day down into 15 min. increments. While waking up and staring at an endless tunnel full of 24 hour days was horribly overwhelming, I found I could at least muster the will to manage 15 minutes!

My state was so pitiful back in the day that simply surviving those 15 minutes was all I could handle. This was the basis of my daily life for 2 pregnancies. After each birth things eased up enough that I could expand that time frame a bit, but the main idea of don't look ahead lasted a long time. I am applying that thinking today because I don't want to get lost in the "what-ifs." I want to stay within the confines of each day.

Another thing that helped me a lot with panic was to take walks. Getting out and walking somehow let me get ahead of my panic, which I used to call "the old man." Sometimes I felt like the old man was less than a block behind me, other times, when things got better, I could be as much as a mile ahead of him! I am not saying that I am in panic mode here but I am certainly aware that time management is going to be important for my peace  and well being right now.

While having the dogs is great all the time, they are going to be wonderful for me now more than ever! State Parks are still open in TX, making for much fun! Taking each of the dogs for walks is a not only a great way for me to keep my focus off the current restrictions but also a wonderful way to increase my personal peace - and fitness!

Praying while I walked was also huge in my life when I was panic stricken. It was easy to pray then because, being as desperate as I was, God was very real in my life. I couldn't sit still to read scrioture or pray  but I could walk and pray!

With virtually everything closed now in the wake of Covid-19,  I definitely want to make prayer and reading scripture more of a priority during the coming months. As an abstract artist I also want to challenge get myself to be sure to create every day. In fact, I hope to start a project tomorrow!

My idea is to hang a big 5' x 8' paper on the wall in the garage and divide it into at least 90 parts and then do one section a day! In addition to this big project I hope to also  do smaller projects daily. Of course there is always house work, lawn work, organization stuff to do! Just listing this all out gets me excited  about what is to come! Ready, set, go!Carolyn Ellis

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