Have you ever experienced a worry spiral?
It can last a few minutes or a few hours.
For me, it was several days.
Last Friday, I woke up with an itchy nose and couldn’t stop sneezing. By Saturday afternoon, I was experiencing throat sensitivity, chills and fatigue. Although my symptoms felt like the onset of a cold, I panicked.
I thought about people who had few symptoms that were now fighting for their lives or had passed due to coronavirus. I thought about hospitals’ morgues overflowing.
Cue the spiral.
What if I have it? Do I need to get tested? I don’t want to die. I can’t leave my family. They can’t afford a funeral. I can’t abandon my sister. I’m not finished with life I’m just getting started.
These dark thoughts led to paranoia. I was afraid to fall asleep.
I don’t have the coronavirus. I just need more rest and suffer from pollen allergies.
When I discussed it with my therapist, she recommended I recite what’s happening around me to be present. For example, “It’s 11:40 pm EST April 23, 2020. I’m laying in my bed with the lights out. I should be sleep but am typing this post. I can breathe. I am resting my head on my pillow. It’s relatively quiet. I hear my father snoring in the next room.”
Being present can break worry spirals. For specific strategies, check out this Shine article.
How do you manage your worry spirals?