Emotions rule as pandemic rages on - Paycheck

Emotions rule as pandemic rages on

   While some people have approached the corona virus pandemic with relative calm, low-stress perspectives, others seem to have plenty of reasons to worry and stress. From major personal or family health concerns to frustration over not being able to purchase a specific product or service, some people are upset.

   “I’ve had some customers try to tell me my mask was not good enough even though they weren’t wearing one,” said Taylor Anglemyer, grocery store clerk at Trader Joe’s in downtown Minneapolis.

   Anglemyer, who grew up in Wisconsin, said she’s experienced a mix of both kind and rude people. Some have been grateful to her for her calm, helpful attitude while others have told her she shouldn’t be so protective because the virus isn’t real. These experiences have definitely added to her stress of being out in the world during the pandemic. She took a month of leave from her job as the pandemic struck because she felt overwhelmed with anxiety and wasn’t sure she could handle it, she said.

   “Now that I’m back working, I’m having more anxiety issues,” Anglemyer said. “One of my biggest concerns through my whole experience working is when one of my co-workers tested positive. Our store never shut down; it just continued. I was so scared to go in that I called in for the coming week. The lack of information is scary.”

   Amber Turner, mother of five children in Footville, Wisconsin, refuses to give in to what she refers to as “scare tactics” about the virus. Catching contagious viruses is part of life, she said.

   “We are not wearing masks, not scaring our kids, don’t worry about social distancing and don’t even care if we catch the virus,” Turner said. “We chose not to wear masks because a lot of research points to them not working. We are not sick, so we aren’t going to pass anything to others.”

   While Turner and her family continued on with their carefree lifestyles, Racine residents John and Rachel Kroes were worried about having enough infant formula for their baby, Joseph, at the beginning of the pandemic. Joseph is about six months old and eats Gerber Sooth formula, so his parents decided to buy a two-month supply. That order was backordered and the family couldn’t find the formula at any store.

   “I never want to feel that fear again,” said Rachel Kroes. “I had a fear of ‘what do I feed my child’ but I have now found that fear and worry are down payments on problems I don’t have.”

   Those problems she doesn’t have include things like being laid off from work, not having money and not having resources to care for her family. The Kroeses are grateful for their steady, unchanged incomes throughout the pandemic, providing them with the ability to continue feeding and caring for their young son. They believe their future is in the hands of God.

   “I can’t worry about the unknown,” she said. “Only God knows if/when something will happen. I pray for those who don’t have enough or are in an unsafe home situation. I check on my neighbors and family who live alone, but fear is not helpful to my mental health.”

   While Kroes knows she and her family are lucky to have a safe home and lots of blessings, people in her own community aren’t as lucky. By checking in on others, giving money to food banks and shopping locally, everybody can help ease each other’s fears, she said.

   “Once that Amazon box showed up with Joe’s food, my fear melted away,” Kroes said. “I felt like I could breathe because we could feed our son. I have been praying lots of Hail Marys!”

Mary Hookham

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