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Getting a toe hold on the situation

The goal, starting out, was to address anxiety, fear, and alleviate some of the stress of the situation affecting the global community. Looking at online sources took a turn toward anxiety disorders, symptoms and treatments. Heavy stuff when the world – you and me included – is trying to cope with the “pandemic.”

Pandemic. The word sounds ominous. Pandemic means … (of a disease), prevalent over a whole country or the world. It is everywhere on Spaceship Earth. (I just wanted to clear up any confusion about the meaning of the word, putting it in proper context.)

Someone may have asked why you are being paranoid about things like this. You may have thought you were just trying to be prepared.

Someone may have said something to you like, “It will be OK. One day at a time and deep breath.” You may have been thinking that you are calm. Reality-based, not panicked, that you are not easily panicked.

Although the situation is a “crisis,” (crisis defined is a crucial time when decisive change is impending) this also is a time for slowing down the pace of living and meditating on the things held dear, connecting with the people in our lives who share a home, a family. Even with social distancing people can connect with each other. Humans need to be connected with other humans. This also is a time for connecting with self, something humans don’t always make time for.

You may be employed at a place where people are panic buying. It can raise your own anxiety level to see what is happening right before your eyes and you begin to formulate your own plan for protecting and providing for your family.

Anxiety. The world of psychology explains that it is “closely related to fear … a response to a real or perceived immediate threat … the expectation of future threat.”

Harvard Medical School advises that, “Anxiety – ‘the fight or flight response’ – can be a good thing, prompting us to take extra precautions.” Anxiety, says the school, is a reaction to stress. Heart and breathing increases, the body tenses up and “blood flow is diverted from abdominal organs to the brain.” In the short term, anxiety prepares us to confront a crisis by putting the body on alert.

But feeling anxiety for too long can become problematic.

“Anxiety often goes unidentified as a source of other disorders, such as substance abuse or physical addiction that can result from attempts to quell anxiety. And it’s often overlooked in the myriad symptoms of chronic conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or migraine headache.”

Panic is “a sudden overpowering fright, an uncontrollable fear or anxiety often causing wildly unthinking behavior,” like two people fighting over toilet paper in a grocery store aisle.

A visitor from Charleston, WV was snubbed by shoppers at a store in Columbiana County and carried home the perception that people here are rude, selfish and self-centered. This is a time for compassion and kindness, to love one another. And to love yourself enough to take care of self so you can take care of the people you love.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by the United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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