Anxiety and the Feeling of Helplessness in the Time of COVID-19

by - March 29, 2020

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

It's been two weeks since the president ordered Metro Manila lockdown which has now escalated to Luzon Lockdown. Everyone I know is working from home, my carpool telegram group doesn't have any new post about finding a ride going to BGC and Pasig. And now, as I am typing this, Peter just told me his body aches which apparently is a symptom of COVID-19

Just the start of this year, the whole world was shaken when a new virus was suddenly making everyone sick in Wuhan, China. At the time, people don't seem to look at the situation as very critical or would become serious which is why we are where we are at the moment. The virus is new and no one knows how to stop it, information is limited, everyone is racing against time to find the cure or even just a vaccine to protect those who haven't contracted the virus yet. 

The moment I found out that there's a new virus in China, I was already afraid. Afraid because in today's world, people can come and go to any country they wanted to visit and the Philippines is just a plane away from China, even from Wuhan where the pandemic started. I knew that the Philippines would get it anytime soon so the next day, I went to the nearby drugstore to buy vitamin C and bought 5 bottles of alcohol. This is during the time the Philippines doesn't have any cases yet. It didn't help that Taal just erupted and everyone is struggling to get face masks so there are no stocks of face masks to any drug stores I went to. When I went home from work that day, I started checking Lazada and found out that Indoplas is still selling surgical masks so lucky me, I was able to buy. 2 days later when PH just reported its first case, the surgical mask was already out of stock.

January was still casual for everyone. Even though we have a reported case, everyone went on with their lives on a normal basis. I don't even know what's normal anymore. So how did we ended up here? Maybe it's a series of bad decisions or maybe it is just bound to happen. One thing is for sure, Ph is not ready for this kind of pandemic. 

I am young and I'd say I am pretty healthy but no one really knows who can get and have severe symptoms. Every night since the lockdown started, I always think about the future. I am set to work in Australia and just had my interview with my employer's Brisbane office because I already accepted that Brisbane might work better now if there are no projects in Melbourne.. But just when they are about to tell us the interview results, they said that they are halting employees from traveling overseas for awhile in precaution for COVID-19. It didn't help that Australia closed its borders too. 

2020 was the year I am supposed to fly to AU and I don't know now when it can commence. Every night I think about my parents. They are relatively old and the thought of them getting the virus scares the shit out of me. I also fear for my boyfriend because his immune system is not as strong as mine and until now, he still goes to work every day which is a very high risk for him.

Some people are getting laid off, some people are not earning right now because of the lockdown. Sooner or later, small businesses will find it hard to operate, big businesses will get affected too if this goes on. Every night, I always think of how hard it is to be a medical frontliner, I think of the future.. What will be normal, can we go back to our lives 1 month ago? 

I am someone who really likes going out so staying at home this long is really hard for me but I know that this is the only way I can help. I don't know if there's anything else I can do but it really sucks knowing I can't help big time at this situation. I can only pray and ask God to end this pandemic and I hope it is soon. I think of how the Philippines can cope knowing we are a third world country and red taping is more common that urgency. The news on social media is not helping too. COVID-19 cases are going up, the government we have right now doesn't have a sense of urgency, negative news day in and day out. 

My day to day activities would include working, exercising, then repeat until the end of the lockdown. It gets harder to focus every day on work because the news is overbearing. As if we don't have the worst news today, tomorrow gets worse than todays. I don't know how this will end. Will the lockdown totally end on April 14 or will there be an extension? Because as I can see it, it will be extended but for how long? How about the working class? There are too many questions and it is stressing me out because we don't know any answers right now. It just breaks my heart to see the world right now. How did we end up here? Do we really deserve this? The innocent lives that were taken, is it really the price we need to pay in order to survive this pandemic?

With all of this in my mind, it is not easy to be positive. The helplessness is frightening. Where are we headed? Every day is a day of surviving and not knowing what will happen. It just really makes me sad and afraid.

I hope we all make it. I hope the future is still bright and I hope that this is just a delay for whatever plans we have. I hope all the lessons we learn from this pandemic will be taken seriously so that this doesn't happen anymore. I hope we can all learn from our mistakes. 

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