They’re in their 50s and my mum had a really bad case of lung infection a couple years ago. I really don’t want to lose them. I know its a common fear but I can’t help but to worry. I feel stupid because Im almost 20 years old but I still feel very dependent on my parents and I don’t know what Id do without them. I worry of what might happen to me and my brother if we lose one of them or even both. Im so scared
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Mikaela, thank you for the work that you. I relate to this ask, because I helped take care of my mom, along with my brother, from the beginning of 2011 to her death in 2016. If anonymous was talking to me, personally, instead of sending an ask at a website, I would tell anonymous to communicate his or her concern to the parents in person....
I’m sorry that you are experiencing this fear because of the state of the world right now. You are right in saying that it’s a common fear, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. People are concerned for their loved ones for a reason. That concern means that you care, and the fact that so many people are concerned means that there is a legitimate reason to be concerned. In addition to that, you are still a teenager and despite wanting to be an independent adult, you also have to recognize how unrealistic that expectation can be. You have only been an adult for a few years. You likely haven’t lived independently (with the exception of a college setting, if that is what you have chosen to do, and even then, that doesn’t entirely compare to living independently in the ‘real world’). You might want to believe that you know how to survive as an adult in the world, but there’s a lot that you haven’t experienced yet or had to learn about and that is okay. You don’t need to be ready for this at your age.
To try to decrease your anxiety, there are a few different things that you can try. Before those are listed, I want to highlight some facts about COVID-19 that may also help (note that this information changes as more time progresses):
The case fatality rate, although it is a bit of an unreliable measure, for individuals in their 50’s has stayed at about 2% (in most countries, less)
People with pre-existing conditions are at higher risk, however this means conditions that are ongoing at the time of infection. If your mom had one bad lung infection years ago, the odds are that she doesn’t fall into this category unless she has lasting damage from the infection.
Other coronaviruses (SARS and MERS) have much higher case fatality rates ( 10% and 34% respectively). And while we can’t know the exact case fatality rate for COVID-19 while the pandemic is still going on, we know that there is a big difference. COVID-19 is more contagious and less deadly than SARS and MERS were.
I found this information on https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid. It is a great resource for looking at the details of confirmed deaths, as well as the mortality rate. There is data analyzed from many, many countries, so you will likely be able to find where you live here. Also, there is general information derived from data from all over the world, which can also be helpful to know because it gives a bigger picture of how the virus operates.
You are at more risk when you are directly interacting with people. Some things you can try to make sure your parents do to lower their risk of infection are maintaining at least a 6 foot distance from others that they are interacting with, wearing a face mask when interacting with others, and limiting their trips into public spaces (for example, only grocery shopping when it is an absolute necessity and not when you are missing some ingredients for dinner).
There are a handful of ways that you can help manage your fears. If they are getting in the way of your day to day life, one thing that you can do is schedule a ‘worry time.’ Pick one hour that you will dedicate to releasing everything, and when you feel the fears coming on, tell yourself that it isn’t the time and try to push them back. It will be easier to do this knowing that you have time to work on it later on. During your ‘worry time’ you can journal, meditate, or use mindfulness techniques to help you express your fears and anxieties in healthy ways.
Journal prompts for working through fear:
I hope that you are able to manage your fears and that you are able to feel better. Don’t forget, if you can’t do it on your own, that’s okay and many people are seeking professional help for that reason right now. Here are some links to places you can find therapists, in case that is the route you decide to take:
https://borislhensonfoundation.org/covid-19-free-virtual-therapy-support-campaign/- 5 free sessions for BIPOC ”individuals and families experiencing a life-changing event(s) related to or triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or stress/anxiety regarding race relations and injustice towards people of color.”