When I read the March 2022 World Health Organization news release that based on their scientific study, in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25 percent, I was not surprised.
It has literally been a breath of fresh air to experience the easing of so many restrictions this summer, to actually see peoples’ faces, and to gather with less caution after years of fear, restrictions, and uncertainty.
Nevertheless, this morning I heard a Denver psychologist on my favorite radio program assert that there has been a 29% increase in anxiety in the U.S. just this very year. It was almost enough to make me wish I’d finished that statistics course in graduate school. The segment’s focus was the uncertainty surrounding the prospect of a recession, not COVID in particular, but as Saturday Night Live’s character Roseann Roseannadanna used to say, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
The program takeaway that rang most true to me, regardless of percentages, is that anxiety is contagious.
Recently, after years of various pressures including those of the global variety, I can honestly state I had “had the radish,” a folksy saying that refers to the least palatable item on the relish plate. When you get to this point, it is almost hard to act in your own best interest. But with a little help from family and friends, I found myself in one of my favorite places: up in the sky, on my way to another reality.
The flight purser and I traded travel tales. I read. I napped. And napped some more.
When I arrived at my college roommate’s home, after conquering jet lag, we did plenty of shopping and dog walking, and endlessly talked, of course. For another scenery change, we undertook a short trip to Wales, complete with mountain hike.
Amongst sheep and grazing cows, we two friends inhaled nature’s healing tonic.
And felt renewed. ©