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As we find ourselves submerging out of lockdown the world is physically the same but everything feels very different. Social distancing, hand washing hygiene, masks, gloves, shielded check outs, long queues, so many changes to what used to be simple everyday routines. It can feel scary as the yellow signs haunt of Covid19 perched on the ground, walls, and posts. The constant reminders that the world is a very different place now because of this because of an invisible threat named coronavirus. All this can cause Coronaphobia to occur.

Going into lockdown was a very fearful and stressful ordeal, but coming out of lockdown for many people is even worse. Read on to learn of this new anxiety called Corona Phobia or listen on the latest episode of This Adult Life The Podcast. READ ON or LISTEN HERE ⬇️

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The Fear of Coronavirus aka Coronaphobia

Submerging from lockdown has brought with it a new phobia. It is called Corona Phobia and it is the fear of contracting Coronavirus. Now it is true we all have an element of fear of this horrible virus, but a phobia is when that fear effects our quality of life to the extent it starts to take over.

Coronaphobia is similar to Agoraphobia also called FOGO (Fear Of Going Out). The difference is Agoraphobia is usually associated with the fear of going out due to someone having a panic attack while out. The difference with Corona Phobia is the fear of going out because they may catch the virus when out.

Agoraphobia: Is a disorder that brings on anxiety due to you feeling you can’t escape a space or leaving would a space would be huge embarrassment or going to a place that feels like help is not available in the event you needed it.

For some people with anxiety the lockdown gave them an element of  comfort & safety. They didn’t have the challenges of navigating through their day with the fear of getting the virus. Instead they stayed at home. Some people with anxiety actually felt a little safer as they had control of their environment and the risk of getting the virus was lessened during lockdown. But now the thoughts of being out and about in the world again brings with it huge anxiety.

You might also be interested in other Anxiety / OCD articles here: https://markfennell.ie/category/anxiety-ocd

The question of “What if I get this virus”? This is now a very real threat.

A report by Trinity college said up 75% of people feared getting the virus as they submerge from lockdown and over 85% of people are fearful of their loved ones getting it. So it is not just us getting it, but our kids in school, our partner in work, or our elderly parents. All these things create fear and can develop into Coronaphobia.

How do I know if I have Coronaphobia?

None of these signs individually are an issue but when you experience more than one and they are consistent you might need to address it or even talk to someone.

What are the signs of Coronaphobia?

  • Ruminating on fearful thoughts throughout the day
  • Avoiding hospitals and Gp visit even though you need it
  • Constant feeling of unease & anxiety
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Eating disturbance with a knot in your tummy
  • Feeling dread at the thoughts of being around people 
  • Fear of going outside your home
  • Obsessively monitoring your health & being hypersensitive to changes
  • Feeling distracted and not fully in the moment

How to overcome coronaphobia:

  • The number one thing is to change your mindset from victim of this situation to taking ownership and control back for your life. See yourself as a survivor not a victim. This mindset is a more positive one and helps you feel more confident. Thinking as a victim makes one feel that they are at the mercy of the virus. But the reality is you can control some things and choose to be hopeful.
  • The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. During this exposure process, you’ll learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it inevitably passes.
  • Planning a strategy of baby steps to get your self back to normal life or at least close to it. Adhering to the guidelines and doing what you can to protect yourself. Ease back into the new norm, one step at a time while forward planning.
  • Dial down the negative influences (news, friends, conversations) as these things only feed the fear and cause anxiety.
  • Pre imagine what you may encounter at say a shopping centre and plan ahead for possible situations you fear could happen. Imagine what may cause you more fear and plan for the worst. Tell yourself people may get close, even cough or sneeze, so what will i do if that happens.
  • Build hope remind yourself that threats on health have always existed and you had quality of life before, so you will adapt.
  • 90% of people who get it recover from it
  • Take control of your health and focus on healthy habits to build up your immune system, giving you the best chance in fending off the virus. 
  • Get advice but not from Google. Get advice from a professional and read up on health anxiety and how to overcome it.
  • Remember we don’t know what tomorrow may bring but we do have the choice to have hope or fear. Take things a day at a time and take it slow. 

What about children and their anxiety?

Children & teens pick up on fear, they read their parents as source of either fear or calm. If mum is ok we are all ok! Be aware of the signals you send.

They have had huge stress by being pulled out of school and college, and the junior and leaving cert up in the air. This can cause them fear and stress. They may not fear the Coronavirus but they may have other fears that are in the back of their minds. This might be a time to see how they are and if any of the symptoms above show up there may be a fear or anxiety at play.

Reassuring them it will be ok and working out a plan or possible path to help build their confidence.

Hope doesn’t mean the fear is not there it just means you hold onto the fact that you will get through this. You’ve got through tough times before and now is no different 

I hope whomever you are that this article and/or podcast has been a help. Please do connect on Instagram and Facebook for more daily tips and resources.

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