Crisis coping

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By MATTHEW MCKEW

If you fell from a plane with no parachute you would have every right to panic — but that doesn’t make you an anxious person.

Southern District Health Board consultant clinical psychologist Henck van Bilsen says it’s the same for anyone having anxious thoughts when it comes to Covid-19 and its effects.

The shrink’s heading to the Queenstown Events Centre this Wednesday to hold two free talks titled ‘How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World’.

Van Bilsen’s providing strategies to help deal with thoughts that can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.

It’s open to anyone to attend, and those who need more support can come to follow-up workshops.

‘‘To be worried, to have sleepless nights, to feel anxious in this period of Covid-19 is a perfectly normal response.

‘‘It doesn’t mean you have an anxiety disorder … it is a reasonable response if bad things happen to get stressed.

‘‘The skills we are introducing can help to reduce emotional response to these bad things.’’

Van Bilsen says people who are worrying because of income reduction, opportunity loss or business woes in light of the pandemic can start to feel there is something wrong with them.

That can lead to high blood pressure, no longer enjoying things and being ‘‘lousy decision makers’’.

When faced with crisis, Van Bilsen says the response is similar to trying to leave a burning building the way they entered, instead of using fire exits.

‘‘In general, a panic reaction is to do what you did before, and that’s to go through the door you came in.’’

He says it’s important for people to come up with ways of dealing with emotional responses to Covid-19 to improve outcomes.

‘‘By attending, you don’t all of a sudden get a job or certainty your business will run again, but you might learn skills to deal with bad things that happen in your life.’’

To register for sessions at 2pm or 6.30pm, email ann.kingsbury@southerndhb.govt.nz.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz