COVID in the Eyes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder


Tomas Sanchez Jurado, Reporter

Having Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) sucks, and it’s okay to say that. Having GAD can make life challenging, it’s frustrating to not be able to do things my peers can. Through life I’ve seen my friends and colleagues tackle challenges that I have not been able to take on with the same fluidity and perfection.

I was diagnosed with GAD when I was 13 and have learned to deal with it for the last three years. With therapy and finding the right medication, I learned to control and alleviate my anxiety. I diminished my anxiety greatly, and learned to deal with panic attacks and anxiety in a healthy way.

Then the pandemic hit, and my anxiety skyrocketed. I mean, no one was expecting a full blown pandemic to hit the world and nobody was expecting to have to mask up and social distance. The situation was a stranger to me I wasn’t prepared to deal with that. The isolation of the pandemic made it even worse, and it dragged me down. In quarantine I was back in my comfort zone, in a state of safety where I didn’t have to deal with society or people. I became used to comfort and a state of neutrality that was constant which made me feel unprepared for the real world.

Then I had to rejoin society, I was a mess. I couldn’t participate in everyday life without suffering from a panic attack or immobilizing anxiety. I didn’t know what to do.

The fear of catching COVID was something I obsessed over. I can remember feeling like the particles of the coronavirus where around me. I feared that I would take COVID back with me from school and infect my grandparents, I was harassed with thoughts of burying my grandma. I did everything I could to reduce the exposure, double masks, washing hands, hand sanitizer. I feared catching COVID everyday, and my anxiety came back.

The normal nervousness I used to feel when answering a question in class became a jab of fear and shame, it would make me spin into my thoughts and I became less and less able to deal with everyday challenges.

I went back on medication.

Taking three different meds a day became a new routine for me. I took my anxiety medication in the morning and I also had a bottle of medication that I could take when I encountered a panic attack or unwelcomed anxiety through the day. I was supposed to eat with my medications and many times I didn’t, I would go to school on an empty stomach and the side effects of the meds would become worse.

After some time of trying different meds and working hard on facing my problems I found some escape from anxiety. It wasn’t gone, it wasn’t as peaceful as before the pandemic, but it was better. This year was difficult to go through, it was one of the most difficult things I’ve done. I almost gave up millions of times, but I persisted and saw the school year through. The world after the pandemic is different, for better or for worse I have also changed as a person, and I feel proud of that.