A man struggling with anxiety

#BeyondCovid – Post Covid anxiety

For National Epilepsy week, our Helpline and Information Officer, Uschi Stickroth, talks about post Covid anxiety.

Something weird happened in April. I was so happy when the Scottish Government announced an easing of travel restrictions, I could finally go further afield for my walking adventures.

Lots of planning ensued, maps consulted, excited chatter with my walking friends. I had longed for this for so long, I couldn’t wait to escape the boundaries of my local authority boundaries.

Then ‘freedom’ day came, and nothing happened. I felt tired, and never left the house.

It had been so long and suddenly my old anxieties crept up on me with me playing out worst case scenarios in my head of meeting crowds of unruly teenagers on the train, people not wearing a mask etc etc.

We’ve lived with constraints for so long, with someone else making big decisions for us.

We are meant to throw ourselves out there, cautiously though, and get on with life over the next few weeks/months.

Many people will do just that, but for others, the prospect of this is scary.

Add to that general anxiety a health condition, such as epilepsy which puts you in a higher COVID-19 risk category, and you have the perfect storm.

Respondents to a recent Epilepsy Scotland survey talked about anxieties around lockdown restrictions lifting:

“Shielding has been hard, very very hard, but now the country is unlocking, the anxiety surrounding it is even bigger.”


Post COVID anxiety

Post COVID-19 anxieties often focus around staying safe and well, but also around mixing with others in a social context.

So, what can you do? Acknowledge that life has changed. Some of our old routines may have gone.

For people with epilepsy who often rely on routines this can be unsettling.

There is no rush, take your time. Look after yourself, do all the things that make you feel good, show yourself self-compassion.

Stop that critical inner dialogue of ‘should’, everyone moves at a different speed. Talk to others about how you feel. Create new routines for you.

If you let go of the pressures and expectations you (and sometimes others) put on yourself, your confidence will slowly come back.

And finally, if your anxiety is stopping you from living a post-lockdown life, seek help from your GP or epilepsy specialist nurse.

If you want to talk about post-lockdown anxieties and your epilepsy, please contact us on our helpline 0808 800 2200. You are not alone.