Do you remember the joke about opening a medical directory and finding that you have all the ailments?
In the current situation, when information about a formidable, poorly understood, mysterious and therefore especially frightening disease is broadcast all over the place, it’s not surprising that you might feel something similar to its symptoms. Especially considering the fact that strong anxiety manifests itself resembling an illness in many ways.
Today we’ll help you figure out how to differentiate whether you’re sick with the virus or anxiety.
Let’s start with the basics.
There are people with a low anxiety threshold. Any and all external factors affect them more than others. As you may know, there are different types of microphones You needs to speak really, really close to some of them so that you can be heard well, and the others are hypersensitive, can pick up even a slight rustle. It’s the same here. Restless people pick up the vibrations in the world around them and begin to “vibrate” themselves.
Panic builds up and develops, and a person is gradually enveloped in fear, a sense of impending threat, and ominous feelings more and more. All of that starts to resemble a blizzard and a storm, where it’s white everywhere, the snow whirls and merges into a dense canvas, you can’t see anything. The ability to think properly declines. Thoughts are jumping around like a cat in the night, they either can’t be structured, or they can, but not for long; scary fantasies prevail in your head about how bad it is, that we’ll all die (well, even if not all, then me or my relatives for certain …).
Every action of a person caught in a snowstorm of anxiety is aimed at reducing it. And they are more reminiscent of rituals: you must definitely do this, otherwise everything’s over. Handwashing isn’t done to stay clean, but rather to be less scared.
As a rule, actions taken under the influence of uncontrollable anxiety are very chaotic and illogical. For example, everyone knows the story of “the buckwheat boom” Why buy 15 packs of this particular porridge, and not a variety of cereals? Because the brain can’t think logically in this state. It’s not really “turning the wheels” at all, but rather, it’s sending signals to undertake stereotypical, cliched actions.
In the field of health and well-being, a rebellious person will exhibit exactly the same chaotic, illogical patterns. Moreover, it may seem to him that he’s acting exclusively within the realms of self-care. It’s no big deal to, say, measure the temperature 5 times per hour, take a drive to get a CT scan of the lungs with no cough, and if they didn’t find anything there, then an MRI just in case. Well, if there are no means or opportunities for multiple diagnostic tests, then the “hold your breath for 10 seconds” which is all over the Internet, peruse of scientific articles and so on. The point of all these actions is to reduce the internal commotion. It’s not about self-care or feeling better – it’s about making yourself stop shaking.
To make it easier for you to navigate, here are the criteria that you can “apply” to yourself:
Health care = paying attention to the symptoms.
Anxiety = SEEKING OUT corporeal reactions and interpreting any of them as a harbinger of death.
Health care = I want to get better
Anxiety = I’m terminally ill/I’m about to get sick/I’m certainly going to die.
Health care = mitigating the risk.
Anxiety = attempts to fully isolate myself from the risk.
Health care = I’m doing a lot for me, but I can’t be responsible for everything.
Anxiety = I have everything under control.
Health care = I have such and such symptoms.
Anxiety = I have a terrible disease.
Health care = I’m treating my symptoms.
Anxiety = I’m about to battle death.
Why are we telling you all this? To give you an opportunity to evaluate how much anxiety you have. Indeed, the further action plan depends on this.
So, if you come to the conclusion that severe anxiety and manifestations of hypochondriacal tendencies are your issue, let’s now deal with the symptoms.
As we’ve said above, hyper-excitement affects your physical state. Simply put – yes, because of anxiety, you can hurt, itch, press, you can feel sick and a lot more.
However, since our today’s article is about “Doctor, I definitely have the coronavirus,” we will dwell in more detail on anxiety markers similar to respiratory virus infections:
- respiratory failure (difficulty breathing, a lump in the throat, heaviness in the chest and lungs);
- heart palpitations (more often, as if louder), a feeling of pressure in the heart, pain;
- sore throat and feeling that it is about to ache;
- a slight increase in body temperature;
- impression that there is temperature, but it is not;
- muscle tension.
It turns out that there’s ambiguity. Symptoms can either be the virus or another type of flu, a cold, or severe anxiety.
Variability is one of the most important tools in dealing with anxiety conditions. For in a fit of panic we lose it, we see only one “version”. As more of them appear, the intensity decreases.
We suppose that you now have a reasonable question: okay, but how to distinguish the signs of the disease from internal fluctuations? Shall I just dismiss myself as an alarmist and take motherwort at a temperature of 38 degrees?
Of course not.
Firstly, the signs of intense anxiety aren’t specific. It usually sounds like “in the region of the heart”, “in the region of the chest”, “I don’t feel good”, etc.
And the manifestations of the virus are developing and clear: cough, fever, chills, ache in the body, sore throat, running nose.
Secondly, in the case of anxiety, a person LOOKS for the signs of an ailment (do I have one, or how about this one). In case of the disease, you don’t have to look, all the signals are in full view.
Thirdly, the symptoms of anxiety go away or become easier after exercising to reduce it.
The symptoms of the virus on the other hand don’t go away, whether or not you do belly breathing.
So, what do you do when you recognize yourself in the description of a hyper-anxious person, and the shadow of the coronavirus is flashing here and there:
- Focus your attention on the symptoms rather than seeking them.
- Analyze the indicators – how specific they are.
- Closely monitor when they appear. If it’s after reading the news, watching TV, then check again with the help of exercises to reduce anxiety.
- Observe what happens with symptoms after taking anti-anxiety measures (breathing, exercises to reduce anxiety). If the anxiety is reduced even by a small margin, it means that there is a possibility that anxiety is most likely the issue.
And, just in case, we’ll also clarify: if you have a high fever, are coughing badly, have shortness of breath and other clear and strong indicators of a respiratory virus infection, please consult a doctor!
You’ll find the exercises for removing anxiety in the Psychosutra section.
Take care of yourself!