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State of Mind: Dealing with prolonged anxiety, stress of the unknown

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 6:18 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Working from home has become the new normal for many. It comes with a sense of safety, but also with plenty of time to worry about what’s going on outside in the world. This is where many find themselves. Among those coping with the mental strain of worry while working from home is new mom Jade Palsi. She discussed her struggles with Eyewitness News in hopes her experience might help others.

“I think it’s just exasperated anxiety for everybody,” she said. “Those of us who already had anxiety are probably feeling it a lot more. And those of us who probably never experienced anxiety or a panic attack, maybe are experiencing that for the first time.”

Palsi said she was diagnosed with anxiety about 10 years ago, well before there was a pandemic added to her normal load.

“So anxieties that were there are exasperated and anxieties that maybe never existed before are even worse,” she said.

Pregnant with her first child as the COVID-19 health scare turned epidemic, and then pandemic, what had worked for Palsi for years, wasn’t working anymore.

“I am being overwhelmed. I’m being overcome with grief for things that (aren’t) even happening to me,” she said.

That’s when she decided to talk with her doctor.

“I was like, ‘I am doom and gloom all the time. I mean, I can’t shake these bad thoughts,’” Palsi said.

Eric Litwiller with the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas said that’s something doctors are hearing a lot. He said more people are experiencing prolonged periods of high blood pressure, suppressed appetite and general anxiety. He said the human body was not designed to handle physical manifestations of anxiety for eight straight months.

If there is a bright spot to such a difficult time in the world, Litwiller and Palsi said more people seem to be seeking treatment for problems they might have been ignoring for years, including depression, anxiety and stress.

Palsi said having someone else to talk to is important.

“I’m dealing with the situation I never had before,” she said of her anxiety. “I don’t have the coping mechanisms and tools, created in my person, to deal with that. So, it’s okay for me to talk to somebody. I’m not acknowledging there’s something wrong with me, I’m simply saying, ‘I’m in a new situation and I need somebody to help me get through it.’ So, that’s been a really positive thing.”

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