Dealing with Anxiety during COVID-19 in Singapore

Dealing with Anxiety during COVID-19 in Singapore

[Additional essays and videocasts regarding psychological ramifications of the COVID-19 virus outbreak can be found at: https://communitiescollaborating.com/[

Timothy* (name changed) was a married middle-aged man with a young toddler and he was in a good senior corporate job. He had family in China. When Covid-19 situation ascended into Singapore, he grew more nervous from reading the news daily and hearing the anxieties of his colleagues. While his family were healthy in China, the country was the first in the world to have a complete lockdown and it made the situation felt worse for him, worrying for them. His worry extended to his young child. It happened all so fast as the anxiety in him built and overwhelmed him, he had a slip to alcohol one day on a Monday.

The first sip of the beer was a wake-up call for him. He realized he had been suppressing his feelings about his worries – for his work security and for his child’s health. It dawned on him that his anxiety only made things worse and he was not making or the best decision he could. He discarded the rest of the beer, and went to see his therapist that same week. He shared with her about his worry whether financially the family will be okay as he was the sole breadwinner. As he explored with his therapist, he communicated that his company was a major company and would be able to withstand the situation and the worst that would happen was he would have no commission as contracts would not be renewed during this period temporarily or a pay cut but he had put aside savings over the years. He knew his family will be able to manage financially.

He was worried about his child catching the virus and was troubled about how to protect his toddler from being infected by the coronavirus. He also shared how his child’s childcare centre took very good measures daily to minimize infection and at home, they took all the hygiene precautions too. We explored his anxiety, the triggers and worked on a holistic alcohol relapse prevention plan which included stress reduction strategies. The thing about worry he learned is that, it really is like a rocking chair and it dampened one’s spirit to act right. Most importantly, his feelings were validated in this difficult time. He was not alone or judged for feeling this way.

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Eliza Yong

Eliza YongMs Eliza Yong, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (USA), is a Certified Substance Abuse and Gambling Addiction Counsellor by The Association of Professionals Specialising in Addictions Counselling (APSAC) and has been counselling individuals and their families since 2009. She also works with individuals and their families with domestic violence to break the violence cycle. Eliza is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Schema Therapy. She is a member of the Singapore Psychological Society, American Group Psychotherapy Association, APSAC and EMDR Singapore. She also provides regular talks to understand and cope with different addictions and emotions as well as presents her research at international conferences. Eliza had a 2-month attachment to The Connection Inc.’s women’s programmes in residential houses, outpatient counselling centres and homeless program (Connecticut, USA) in 2013. Eliza used to have previous careers in hospitality and event marketing in an investment bank. In her free time, Eliza enjoys reading, the arts, nature, cooking and time with her family and her terrapin, Misty.

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