COVID-19 precautions, risk tolerance levels, patience and understanding

There’s no reason I should have to explain to people why I behave the way I do when it comes to COVID-19 precautions, obviously. That said, there are a lot of times I want to explain them.

Most people I know are vaccinated, wear masks in crowded public spaces and/or indoors, and are generally led by the science that tells us about the layers of protection we need to keep ourselves and others safe. But, most people I know (not all, for sure, but most) have higher risk tolerance levels than I do. And I want to just write a little bit about my “why.”

Why am I not comfortable meeting people in person (unless it’s just two of us and we’ll be walking outside among the trees), going to my 12 step recovery group in person, attending Meeting for Worship in person, and other activities that might be slightly higher risk but generally speaking are not super-risky?

First of all, I’m still of the belief that if I *can* eliminate chances of picking up COVID-19 and passing it along to someone else, I should eliminate those chances. So, if there’s a risk I can skip, I skip it. But it’s not only about protecting other people.

Every day, I live with an autoimmune disorder (rheumatoid arthritis) that has a frustrating and often overwhelming range of symptoms; it is emotionally exhausting. My immune system is attacking healthy parts of me. Add to that gastrointestinal issues like diverticulosis and IBS, menopausal brain fog, continued recovery from a traumatic brain injury… my body hasn’t been all that dependable for me. That sucks. So, the prospect of “long COVID” — even if the odds of my getting it are miniscule — feels like the straw that would break this camel’s back. Another health issue with mind-fuckery as a symptom? No freakin’ thank you.

Then, add to that the fact that the pandemic has brought out my tendency towards anxiety. With a strong spiritual life I had been living in a place of relative peace and serenity regarding those things that I can’t control. It was lovely. Well… now I’m someone who if I get a little cough for a moment or two (despite having been essentially nowhere and knowing full well I’m allergic to cats and we have a cat so of course I deal with sinus/chest nonsense) I will worry. I will worry I have COVID-19. This worry does not have to be born of fact, but the worry will simmer under all I am doing even if it “shouldn’t.” Most of my immediate family has these tendencies, too. So, again, if I can eliminate a risk, I’m going to eliminate it.

Thanks for reading this. I’m not even sure why I’m posting it, but I keep wanting to explain why I’m not participating in even relatively safe activities that so many people have resumed. So, I’m getting the explanation out of my system. πŸ™‚