How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affects My Schizoaffective Anxiety

March 26, 2020 Elizabeth Caudy

COVID-19, or coronavirus, is taking a toll on my schizoaffective anxiety. I haven’t heard voices because of the stress (thankfully), but this is a case where I can’t tell myself I’m worried about nothing, because everyone else in the world is freaking out about the same thing I am.

Schizoaffective Anxiety and Panicking About COVID-19

I’m not that worried for myself, because I’ve been able to stay at home, although I was worried yesterday when I developed a slight cough. It’s gone away.

I’m worried about my parents because my dad is sick already (not with COVID-19) and my mom is a professor, though she is now working from home. I’m also worried about my husband Tom because he works full-time at a bank, which is open. I know everyone says to stay at home, but some people can’t. Being able to stay at home is a privilege, though I am used to doing this.

Because of my schizoaffective anxiety, I’m always looking for something to panic about, even on a good day. Well, as I said at the beginning of this article, everyone is panicking about COVID-19. I just have to take it easy and prioritize. The most important thing I have to do today is to write this article, so right when I woke up, I got ready to write it. I also have a phone call with my sister, Laura, later today, so I wanted to be sure to have this written by then.

Schizoaffective Anxiety and the Fear Surrounding COVID-19

Staying at home isn’t hard for me. I work from home, and I stay in most of the time anyway because my anxiety makes it hard for me to go out. However, last week I did take the train to a therapy appointment. A young kid was sitting across from me. He coughed right in my direction and didn’t cover his mouth. I've been paranoid I got the coronavirus from him ever since, especially yesterday when I developed a cough.

Luckily, my therapist changed my therapy appointments to phone appointments, so I don’t have to worry about taking the train anymore. (My schizoaffective anxiety makes me feel afraid to drive.)

Tom and I went out to eat on Saturday. My parents went out to eat at a different restaurant, too. We were all happy we did because, the next day, it was announced that all restaurants and bars had to close down dining in. But then I was still scared we’d made a mistake in going out. It’s hard to feel sure of anything right now.

The fear surrounding COVID-19 has made my generalized anxiety worse. Again, I thank my lucky stars I haven’t heard voices. All the little things I’ve written about in the past that my anxiety latches onto are worse. I’ve been asking my loved ones for reassurance about things I’m worried about. I thought I’d gotten over that. But, in some ways, living through an actual crisis has made me realize what really matters. I just hope I and my loved ones make it out of this, and I hang onto the lessons I’ve learned.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2020, March 26). How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affects My Schizoaffective Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

May, 12 2020 at 8:53 am

I wasn't certain how to think about COVID-19. The voices say it's not really a pandemic, but kinda hard to refute the numbers on television. Plus, someone in my dad's family died from COVID-19. So, in a way it hit "close to home". Even while I write this, Jerry Seinfield is playing on tv and they're laughing. Some reassurance that I'm a nutcase waiting to pop. Anyhow, glad to hear you and loved ones are safe. Take care and I hope that you hold onto the lessons learned for anxiety.

May, 13 2020 at 12:36 pm

If the voices weren't real , then I wouldn't hear them or need medication. The voices are real for me, but that doesn't mean that I have to succumb to their whims. I would think with your anxiety about COVID-19 that you'd have the thought that it's the whispering voices that cause the anxiety. Sometimes I drink Kava tea that alleviates stress from anxiety, but the tincture works better. The whole chemical imbalance explanation is derived from pseudo science that cannot be measured. That's why the psychiatrist diagnosis an individual, but can be wrong. Whatever symptoms are showing at time of session is how the psychiatrist treats the patient. Seldomly do they take in account the whole person. I'm curious, what exactly makes you anxious about COVID-19? Sheltering in place is a guarantee that you won't contract the virus, because your not cominginling with people that can potentially spread it to you.

May, 13 2020 at 6:27 pm

Dear Shalonda, Thank you for your comment. I am anxious about COVID-19 because my husband works at a bank where he constantly handles cash, which is very dirty, and where it's impossible for him to practice social distancing. I am anxious for my friends and family members who can't shelter-at-home. I am anxious for my elderly parents. I am also anxious because I go walking almost every day and trying to keep social distance is very tricky, plus my mask makes me short of breath. There are other reasons, too. I hope that answers your question.
I appreciate that the voices are real for you. I just meant that they're not from outside you.
Take care,

May, 15 2020 at 4:26 pm

Those are valid reasons to have anxiety about COVID-19.
Good for you still working out during the pandemic.
The experience is challenging since the voices are "not outside". No matter how hard I've tried, they won't stop...even though some are good. It's just I'd like to think that one day, hopefully, that I never have to hear voices in my head. Kinda hard to trust my intuition, because they are always talking about something.
Stay safe,

John Caudy
April, 4 2020 at 10:40 pm

One thing you can be sure of is that I love you so much Elizabeth. Please call anytime if you need to chat. Tomorrow is Sunday Ill give you a ring in the early afternoon Chicago-time.

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