35 thoughts on “5 Emotional Precautions to Take During the Coronavirus Pandemic

  • March 22, 2020 at 11:28 am

    My current feelings on Covid-19: shock, upset, isolated, angry, disbelief, disappointment, lonely, depressed, worried, hopeful.

    Thanks for this timely article! I read all of your articles.

    Thank you also for the list of therapists that treat CEN. I am having trouble seeing one of them because they only have weekday availability. I hope the list expands soon!’

    • March 22, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Great job naming your feelings. They all make perfect sense in this scenario. There aren’t a lot of therapists who work weekends, it’s true. I’m still working on adding more CEN-trained therapists to the network! So keep checking back.

      • March 25, 2020 at 9:49 am

        As I stay in positive thinking and then I stay well in healthy ways, I keep touching in with my therapist, and my out-of-state family via V.P. (Video-Phone) in VRS (Video-Relay Service) as I am congentially-deaf since birth. I have my Z5-MAX (Desktop) as I am computer-literate as “Hi-Tech Savvy”. I have my chats with my close friends and other staff members in apartment complex. I am introvert in nature. I restrict my trips around the town except my shopping to the grocery in my way. I know about surivival lessons in practice in experiences. Well I limit the TV News, however I watch YouTube movies and funny comedy You Tube series, and then I communicate with my friends and others via either emails or V.P. calls. “Keep Yourself Calm” is an important quote.–Do not worry about your future. In past I have had been experienced during the outbreaks that happened in USA and in our International community on our Earth in a fact. Practice in social distance and in other healthy ways during COVID-19 pandemic in positive ways.

      • March 25, 2020 at 11:21 am

        Dear Christa, thanks for sharing your coping choices. Keep up the good work!

  • March 22, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    As someone with a severe case of CEN with major anxiety as a baseline functioning level, I’ve made an odd discovery about my tendency towards being unable to feel many of my feelings this week. It’s simple: I’m wired to handle extreme stress very well. Instead of feeling continually on edge, deficient, and different, i feel more normal now because millions more feel like I have been for so long. I dont feel as alone or helpless in my fear and struggle anymore. I feel, in fact, empowered, like this odd skill of being largely detached from my feelings is going to help me cope alot better with this than others. Before, I could intellectually recognize the purpose walling off feelings serves in a dysfunctional environment, but this past week I’ve felt something I’ve never experienced before: a deeper understanding that the wall was built to protect me, and it’s there right now, doing exactly that. i can feel it’s presence, and it is comforting to me. It is helping to keep me safe in a time of extraordinary stress. It was constructed with a clear purpose when I was a child to protect me from threats I could not understand let alone have any clue how to protect myself from. My otherwise high level of anxiety this week has done a virtual disappearing act. Whether it’s healthy or not, I get it now at a level I never did before. Right now Id say it’s benefitting me and has increased my coping capacity. I face potential financial ruin along with my partner but I’m able to remain detached enough from the reality to stay sane and function, well, better than I have in months, maybe years. I came down early with minor symptoms many are reporting and they were gone within a few days. We are both doing #2, 3 & 4 with our family members. Re 4 I feel a bit bereft as i have contacted a few people to check up on them and apart from my mother they aren’t interested in how I’m doing, and some haven’t even responded at all, but this is a common experience for me that bothers me but one I am familiar with – i developed a tendency as a child to select unavailable people and users for “friends” as my entire family growing up didn’t care about me or anything I had to offer. It is interesting reading stories about how much of a hard time others are having and I have felt these ways most of my life, without having anybody expressing any concern for my struggles or providing comfort to me, but this just illustrates an odd paradox with other humans I’ve experienced: others want to be cared about, so theyll express their feelings publicly, but their desire to care about others feelings is zilch, and their real MO is to only meet their own emotional needs and to heck with everyone else. I know this isn’t always true but it is common enough for me to have become my baseline response. I’ve also started noticing that I feel very suspicious about the intentions of others expressing their feelings openly as within my family and extended family and friends when I was married these same people were the pathological narcissists trying to draw in flying monkeys who had no desire to reciprocate or care about or for anyone but themselves, or if they did, it was only out of a sense of obligation, not of actual care or concern for another human being in an honest earnest way. I notice i question the intentions of people who advertise themselves as helpful, feeling as if there is some self serving intent behind it all or that it is really driven by a selfish need for attention or ego stroking, as these kind of people surrounded me for decades, it’s very difficult to think differently than this. Anyways that’s some of the things I’ve learned about myself this past week as a CEN individual.

    • March 22, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Wow, Barry, that is a lot you’ve figured out as a result of this crisis. Good work! The problem is that you do pay a daily price for being so removed from your feelings. (I’m sure you know that) And even in a crisis, the best decision-making happens when your head and your feelings all work together.

    • March 25, 2020 at 9:31 am

      Hi Barry, I read your email and you said everything so perfectly! I cant even Express enough on your words ringing true with me! I care about you and I don’t even know you! We’re tough and we will lead through this crisis! Big Hugs to you! Kayla

    • March 25, 2020 at 9:48 pm

      I have been feeling much the same way but I couldnt articulate it. I am 70 years old and you’ve just described my entire life,and this peculiar feeling I’m experiencing now. I thought I was the only one.
      Thank you.

      • March 26, 2020 at 8:49 am

        Dear Kiva, you are not alone at all! I hope you will learn as much as you can about Childhood Emotional Neglect. The great thing about it is that you can heal it.

  • March 22, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    After reading your last post on shame- I really started feeling my own feelings again. Being an HSP with CEN I find it really hard to block out other people’s feelings. And these days it’s like I feel the nervousness and sickness into my bones. I will try to stop reading the Facebook update and hope I will recover from the sickness I have struggled with for a week now. Thank you so much for creating space for these experiences. Love and blessings to all!!

    • March 22, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Dear Bridget, when you feel too much of other people’s pain, it means your boundary is weak. I encourage you to read and learn more about boundaries and work on making yours stronger.

  • March 22, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you for this post …
    I will take the time to ask what I’m feeling … I actually thought I was handling this pretty good and then I got to the paragraph detailing physical symptoms … bingo … I have been having some intermittent horrible lower back spasms this past week. This is not normal but now it makes sense. Thank you for making a point to have us “dial in” … I’m very grateful.
    Be safe yourself

    • March 22, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Dear Barb, I’m glad you’re tuning in and there’s a good chance those spasms will go away. Good work!

  • March 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    I’m enjoying the silence from fewer cars buses and planes. It makes me realise the adverse impact transport has on m’y quality of life and that of the planet
    It’s hard not to worry about lost income but I will apply for business grants, it may be a blessing in disguise.
    The local community were panicking and I feel good that I stepped up to offer practical help as emergency contact and volunteer driver. This made me feel useful and part of the community. I am grateful I have skills and technology to be part of online continuity of activity

    • March 22, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      So you are feeling enjoyment, positivity, usefulness. I’m glad you’re having positive feelings at this time. Thanks for sharing, Rosie!

  • March 22, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Jonice, I think there is a bit of a glitch in this page. For several weeks, if I go to read the comments, the only place I get to is here, where I can post a message. The odd time I can see the messages.

    • March 23, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Dear Arnie, this is not a problem we’ve heard from others so it must be related to your own tech. Please clear your cache and/or try using a different browser. Rebooting your computer may also help.

  • March 23, 2020 at 3:41 am

    I have never heard anyone say that before about taking in and feeling others pain means your boundary is weak. That makes sense in one way but it is also confusing and difficult! Confusing because I grew up being taught at home, church etc that others must ALWAYS come first because that means you are a good caring person. Difficult because having been taught that and now having lived it for far too long, it’s hard to do differently without feeling selfish and guilty!
    Okay… This virus is making me have feelings I am not comfortable with. Fear that a loved one will get it. Fear that my therapist will get it or someone in HER life she cares about. Fear because I grew up in church hearing about what the end of the world will look like and some are saying online that this could be it.
    I feel very alone and isolated because I live alone but also, my family members are adding to the stress. They are experiencing various severe problems –some of it they helped create or did create and they all turn to me for help and support. So I also feel frustrated because I offer suggestions such as getting a therapist but they continue to make excuses as to why that won’t work for them and keep complaining! I am angry at myself for finding it so hard to set boundaries but also for wishing they would call and ask about MY day or feelings!
    I am just a little sad tonight I guess. Sorry for rambling and ty for your post!

    • March 23, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Dear VR, you were not rambling! You described very well what you are up against. I encourage you to follow the 5 suggestions I gave plus these: screen out apocalyptic predictions (doomsday predictions are not based on any realistic data and help no one), stop trying to help people who won’t help themselves and focus that energy on yourself. Viewing that as selfish is built into CEN but that just means it’s something you must confront and work through, not give into.

      • March 25, 2020 at 11:22 am

        Dear Gary, that is an excellent article and I think everyone should read it. Thanks for sharing it!

  • March 23, 2020 at 4:03 am

    Thanks so much for this reminder, Jonice. I feel locked up at home, but also locked up in myself. Last weekend my children were at our home to find refuge after a hectic week and the only thing I could do is be there for them and take care of everyone but myself. Now I feel locked up and empty, so I feel the urge to take time and make room for myself, but that feels so unnatural to me. Now that the weekend is over and it’s more peaceful at home, I know I should take me-time and listen to my body, but I struggle. I’d rather work hard and clean the house so I don’t have to feel. So thanks for the reminder. Love, Janike

    • March 23, 2020 at 9:49 am

      Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, Janike. Many CEN people will identify with what you’re experiencing. Just keep fighting for the self-validation and attention that you deserve.

  • March 23, 2020 at 5:25 am

    Thanks so much for this post. I have come a long way since I first read your books and participated in last year’s workshop at Kripalu. I stay in touch with someone from that group and we compare our progress. It’ s so helpful.

    Keeping connected via the phone and all the internet platforms is wonderful. I participate in several group meetings and online therapy. I live alone, but don’t feel isolated because of this. Expressing and sharing my fear and frustration is reciprocated by my friends and family. I chose when and to whom I call, since there are some people who trigger my anxiety. Often I don’t pick up the phone if I need space. I can always call back.

    I still am trying to find my ‘comfortable’ place around watching the news. I can be obsessive about that.

    I am trying to declutter all the paper I have accumulated over the years. Intellectualizing and gathering information is a way of dissociating for me, so naming and experiencing my feelings has been a godsend., Journaling helps me go deep.

    Finally, an early morning walk opens things up to fresh air and hopefully sunlight. It’s a chance to process all I’ve learned and experience some joy and gratitude. Your work has been true gift! Thanks again!

    • March 23, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Dear Jane, I’m so glad you left the Kripalu retreat with so much to take forward! I love how you are using this experience in such a healing and positive way and you will no doubt inspire many. Thanks for sharing!

  • March 23, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Awful start in life.
    Neglect, Abuse and abandonment , often locked in rooms, not unkindly.
    The people who were looking after me had to work.
    Isolation hospital with rubella to name but a few other clunkies.
    I ought to be really pissed off, which was until I re-thunk the circumstances thru psychotherapy in a more global manner.
    Hmm,,Could I have done better than these peeps? Perhaps but unlikely.
    So whats my take on the present circs?
    Well this is a global human catastrophe, but if we react to the changes with some positive action with regards to the control and elimination of this threat on the advice of scientific evidence ,then we can create a Brave New World with love ,respect ,interdependence, compassion and no political ,religious or nation to nation prejudices…
    This is a very small house in space..Namaste

    • March 23, 2020 at 4:41 pm

      Dear Mac I applaud your vision of a better world. I think this crisis helps us feel our vulnerability as humans. Thanks for sharing your story in such a meaningful way.

  • March 25, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Hello Jonice,
    I feel a bit strange during this Corona storm.
    My brain stopped responding to my antidepressants in Dec ’17. Despite my Dr’s efforts to up my dosage 3x over the following months, my depression went into a free fall. I’ve been in this desert since. I live on that edge between life and death every day, battling my depression and the associated loneliness.
    My faith in God continues to grow, despite living on the edge. I haven’t been able to keep a job, and now unable to land one due to the history of incapacitating fatigue and feeling empty, and unloved.
    But I have no fears regarding this virus, and only think about it when praying for others. God’s promises aren’t changed by a virus, or anything else.
    I’m not sure if it’s good or bad, being in this desert before the corona virus came along, but I’m learning to feel my emotions, and allowing myself too embrace them.
    I know that God has a plan for me and my life. I’m learning to listen for God’s whispers, so that I can become the man he needs me to be.

    • March 25, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      Dear John, I encourage you to think about what was going on in your life through Nov./Dec. Because most changes in levels of depression are in response to real-world events. Understanding the cause of this change is extremely important. I’m glad you are doing such a great job of sustaining yourself using your strong belief system.

  • March 25, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Your ideas are really usefull. I tend to be holding back my emotions and get very tired. As this confinement will last a long period of time, I need to let go my emotions whatever they are. I take care of my elderly mother and it is an additional stress factor of wwhat we are living now. I am really thankfull for your emotional advice and warnings about what can happen if we don´t pay attentions to our emotions. As there are advices about how to clean our hands, etc, there are not any advice about the emotional side of this confinement.
    Thank you very much for thinking about our emotional wellness.

    • March 25, 2020 at 7:44 pm

      You are so right. Holding back emotions takes energy and is tiring indeed. I’m so glad you’re paying attention and showing yourself some emotional care, Mireya.

  • March 27, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    I for one am not obsessed or lonely and am not included in “all” or “everyone.”

    Not all of us are, which I can attest to by the light-hearted, laughter, love and hope-filled Zoom meetings and phone conferences I’m regularly a part of in 2 religious and 5 spiritual communities. Even as friends, family and coworkers both survive and pass away from the virus. Most of us have been accustomed to ignoring our feelings and have not contracted the virus.

    Suggesting to people in bold and italics that if they are accustomed to ignoring their feelings they are now at risk is alarmist, fear-producing, and not a given. It isn’t always the case. There is hope and the reality of freedom from fear and peace of mind.

    • March 27, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, research shows that repressed feelings stress and lower the immune system. It’s great that you are able to be so unaffected by this global crisis but most people do end up struggling with it in some of the ways I describe in the article.

  • March 29, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Wow!x many, as I read through everyones responses. There is so much raised here by writers and by me as I read.
    H.S.P.,C.E.N.,Secondary Progressive M.S. Yes, working with a sense of overwhelm, mainly with about 30 years of fatigue(Im 55). My interest in Emotional Intelligence some years ago, wasnt supported by partner(at that time). I am talking weekly with a counsellor.I value taking something positive out of this covid.situation.Do you have any strong feelings Jonice about which way will be good to work,feel?(I live alone,dont do paid work) Thankyou.

  • March 29, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Reading the comments, it’s clear that existential issues can arouse great courage inn those of us who formerly felt cornered withn what may have been somewhat toxic intimate interactions.

    Dr. Webb’s work sought to help us gain that courage to develop into more complete lives – and I deeply hope that ALL will feel their own nascent courage , focusing upon their previously unknown strength.

    To ALL who read and comment:
    We, ALL us others are enriched beyond your knowledge, you who comment facing your challenges. We are made more sure of the beauty and validity of EVERY life, by YOUR courage and care.

    I’ve been expecting such an outbreak as COVID-19, for a couple decades or more now due to the reasons well-known to communicable disease researchers and ecologists.

    That this emergence also causes YOUR healing , I hope, makes you understand your inherent power and the irreplaceable value of YOUR life.

    While it can be a grave , and perhaps a persistent disease in all our future, please continue to USE it for your own, INDISPENSABLE purpose of healing and understanding.

    It is a REAL and VALID and GENEROUS goal that you work to live so fully, and to step toward it each day, knowing how important YOU are to us.
    And by us, I DO mean far more than you may comprehend at any moment – thank you, EACH of you!


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *