Like much of the world, I’ve spent the last few weeks in an anxious haze, walking aimlessly between my apartment’s three rooms because there’s nowhere else to go. I’m taking Emergen-C and checking my temperature twice a day. I have an anxiety disorder, and I am also, quite reasonably, afraid that I will get COVID-19. One common symptom of COVID-19 is chest tightness and shortness of breath. As it happens, chest tightness and shortness of breath are also common symptoms of anxiety. So last week, when my chest felt tight for three days and I monitored my breath so closely that breathing started to feel unnatural, I worried, and worried some more.
How do I know if my chest tightness is “just” anxiety? There are several questions worth asking ourselves if we start experiencing chest tightness or shortness of breath right now, says Greta Hirsch, a psychologist and clinical director of the Ross Center. Firstly: Are you someone with a history of anxiety, and especially anxiety tied to health concerns? And if so, did your symptoms surface while reading news about the coronavirus? If so, these are likely indicators that your symptoms are tied to anxiety.
Read the full article by Katie Heaney here.