IWSG 71: Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?


Diane BurtonJH Moncrieff | Anna @ Elements of Emaginette | Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter | Erika Beebe  | Lisa Buie-Collard!

I started to write another post all positive and sparkly, then my sister texted me and not for the first time. Here’s the full reversal: the fear mongering, gossip, and death threats are ridiculous in my world. I feel myself folding under the enormous pressure of speculation and stupidity.

I’m not saying don’t be careful. All of us need to use diligence.

Here are my numbers and no doubt they’ll be different when you read this:

Canada: British Columbia: Population 5 million

covid-19 Pandemic as of 2020 03 31

      • Active Cases: 435
      • Recovered: 606
      • Deceased: 25

When you compare them to the numbers worldwide, what do you think? Right, me too. For the few of us that haven’t lost someone, can we please stop freaking out?

The flood gates will break in BC soon enough and the only way we can fight back is by social distancing.

Stop Panicking

Being upset doesn’t keep us safe. I know emotions can come on really, really strong. I have them too. As someone with depression, I get it. Strong emotions make me careless; and worse, I live in a black hole blind to everyone else.

Not thinking straight will be our undoing worldwide, and we can’t afford to make a mistake. Our friends and family are depending on us.

We’ve been following these rules (if they’ll  help):

  • Stay 10 feet (3.05 metres) away when talking to anyone.
  • Wash your hands or use sanitizer.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wash your doorknobs and fridge handle regularly.
  • Stay at home, without visitors.
  • Contact friends and family through email, text, etc.
  • Buy gas at the pump.
  • Buy food and supplies (when possible) online.
  • Go out only if you must.

I’m going to take a chance that I’m not the only one facing constant bombardment with warnings and testimony about a friend of a friend of mine.

Sorry for the rant, I really am, but I’ve had enough. Try not to drink their frigging Kool-Aid.

Panic is our enemy; following protocols is our defence.

What have you been doing to stay calm and stay safe?

136 responses to “IWSG 71: Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

  1. I agree, don’t panic!! I’m considered a healthcare professional, so I’m still going to work every day at a senior citizen assisted living community… to be honest, all we can do is be as safe as possible and try our best to follow the guidelines. As someone who deals with anxiety I know it’s hard not to panic at this time, I just try to stay grounded and remember that this too shall pass.

  2. I’m planning ahead. To remind myself that there will be an “after” and that things will be normal again. Happy IWSG Day!

  3. Well said. The panic isn’t helping. Here it’s half panic and half doing nothing, which makes for a real mess.
    Thanks for co-hosting today.

  4. I’ve heard it compared quite a bit to Y2K which transitioned so smoothly many people thought it was overblown. It wasn’t. Huge amounts of work preceded the event. Anything you can do to prevent the pandemic getting worse, might seem insignificant, but it helps. Unfortunately, we only see the dramatic results when prevention is ignored. Stay well.

  5. I am avoiding social media. I take a glance at the headlines in the paper in the morning and that’s it. I refuse to engage when people contact me about negative things. The way through is by being positive. Focusing on the good that is happening, and of course, washing hands like crazy.

  6. Good post!! People have to take a break from the sensationalizing news. That drives people bonkers!!! I agree with your guidelines. Thank you for co-hosting. Stay healthy.

  7. My biggest source right now for panic is the letters I’m receiving from the Canadian government every few days to urge me to come home. We can’t for reasons we have no control over. However, they make a point of speculating that we’re in deep trouble if we don’t, yet, it’s confirmed that returning Canadians are the reason our numbers in BC are going up. People with the virus are returning to the country. I’m with you, Anna, we have to stop spreading fear and uncertainly and simple follow the guidelines and do the best we can to distance ourselves. Amen.

    • The young people partying aren’t helping much either. Apparently their logic is, if the gathering is less than 50 they are good.

      I’ve never been in a house party were there were 49 people, and I was able to keep a distance of 10 feet.

      And they will inherit the earth. *sigh*

  8. Glad the virus is in such control where you live. It’s not too bad in my county but Michigan is one of the top states for the disease in the U.S. I’ve been staying at home mostly for about three weeks and know that we’ll have to continue this until at least the end of April. You’re right that panicking doesn’t help. Thanks for co-hosting.

    • I know not everyone is safe and that’s why I’ve cried out, ‘don’t panic’.

      I’m glad you and yours are as safe as I am. We also shut down and are waiting it out. 🙂

  9. I’m trying to find and keep the balance between accurate information and panicked speculation, between being informed and burying my head in the sand. Not sure how well it’s working….

    Thanks for co-hosting. Take care!

  10. Panic is the reason no one has toilet paper.

    I hope BC can keep a handle on it.

  11. Here in Michigan, we’re lucky to have a smart and progressive governor who shut us down right away (and I’ve had my 12 yr grandguy for 3 wks becuz of it–a good thing except for 7th grade math!). I’m trying to limit where I get my news from to keep from drowning in panicky or uninformed info. The temperature is up so going for walks or just sitting on the patio will do wonders for the mood. We’re all in this together – just not within the 6-10 ft! Thanks for co-hosting, Anna!

  12. Hi,
    Here in Germany, many are panicking. Hoarding has become such a big problem that the government has had to limit how much people can buy.
    However, I am fine even though we are on lockdown here. Yesterday our Mayor asked everyone who goes outside to the store or pharmacy to wear a mask. The only problem is that no masks are available, so he’s asked us to make our own mask or use a scarf.
    Without faith, people have nothing to hang onto. They panic and see the world as going under.
    Wishing you all the best and stay safe.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  13. “Panic is our enemy; following protocols is our defence.” I love this quote – pithy, perfect, and presidential. I’m coping by including ice cream in my basic food groups. I’d be portly except for the affinity to walk often in our CA sunshine.

  14. Yes, you’re right, panic doesn’t help, but it’s all too easy to succumb to it during these times. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and limit how often I check the news – sometimes, easier said than done 🙂

  15. Avoid social media, avoid panic. Me, I’m mostly missing my boys, and worrying about the hubby who’s out in it daily. Stay true to yourself!

  16. In many ways, I agree with you. Panic will do no good. On the other hand, when they said America has now lost more to COVID than on 9-11, I did panic a little bit.

    • Natural to feel upset, but do what you can to stay calm. I mean it, we make stupid mistakes when emotionally charged. I don’t want anything to happen to you.

  17. You sound like what I’m trying to convey with my post, today. Yes, we all need to be super careful by following the suggested rules and such. But reading or listening to other people’s panic or complaining or rebukes do me no good. And I’m normally a good listener. I’ve just been hearing it too much, lately. Focus on the good, however small it may be. I think that helps. Thank you for co-hosting!

  18. Three of my elderly relatives have been bombarding us with faulty “facts” and advice from a friend of a friend. This is my opportunity to teach them about fact-checking info found on the internet. That business about holding your breath for 10 seconds? Total hooey! Stay safe and well, my friend.

  19. The world has gone mad.
    I’ve decided to focus on what I can control… there’s enough doom and gloom out there.
    Stay safe.
    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month!

  20. I agree. The panic needs to stop. And yet, I’ve been susceptible to it – letting it hit me hard, especially when my dad had to make a trip to the ER and we couldn’t go in with him. But, he is okay. We are all okay. The protocols to keep us safe make sense. The fact that people are staying inside all day without getting fresh air is probably not helping. I’ve been getting out and walking each day (yes, following all the distance protocols), and it helps.
    Thanks for co-hosting and for the dose of sanity!

  21. Being in 65 and older group with a preexisting condition has made me much more aware of my surroundings and the multitude of surfaces I touch. It’s very strange to feel, for the first time in my life, paranoid about being around people. I’m certainly not panicking as I’m not the hysterical type, but I much prefer staying at home than being out and about, which I will never take for granted again.

    I agree about the new myths floating around. Drive me crazy when people forward stuff to me in messenger… Getting the facts, the truth, makes it much easier to deal with the situation.

  22. Tonja Drecker

    I so agree! I’ve been watching the numbers and shaking my head. Historically, we’re definitely not even close to ‘end of the world’ level yet. Kind of makes me wonder what will happen when something massively destructive, which causes the loss of a billion + lives, really does hit.

  23. Jennifer Lee Hawes

    No panicking here. We just plan ahead and wash our hands like normal. The weather has turned sunny and warmer and we’re outside walking trails everyday!

  24. We’re not panicking here. It’s important not to watch TOO much news. I actually don’t know anyone who is panicking, but I’m sure some are. Of course, if someone you love gets it, all panic bets are off.

    • I hear that and would be right there freaking out. It’s not in our little part of the world–yet–and some of my family/friends just don’t get that.

      And I wish they would. 🙂

  25. Thanks for co-hosting this month; I’m on next month :). Here in Alberta, the covid cases are also rising at an alarming rate. However, I’m thinking positive, especially since I participated in an EFT session. It moved a major chunk of my paranoia out of my mind and heart. I’m wondering if when this is over that many of us will see life a little differently; maybe appreciate some of the smaller things, like just going out for a cup of coffee with a friend. That’s what I miss the most. Blessings

  26. I appreciate the honesty. I wasn’t feeling sparkly either, but then I read all these sparkly posts and feel guilty I didn’t try harder to put a positive shine on things. But some of us are struggling, or depressed, or frustrated, or pissed off, and I think it’s okay to talk about that too.

    I wish you all the best. Stay well, my friend.

  27. I love reading sparkly posts. I feel like we can never have too much positive energy in this world! I also agree with don’t panic. Nothing good was ever accomplished by panicking.


  28. You ask what we are doing to stay safe. My husband and I are in the high risk category. We bought N95 masks three or four years ago. Now community doctors are asking folks to donate masks if they can.
    Now i feel guilty for wearing our when we go out in public. I should mention, we live in Mexico where social distancing is ignored; folks exposed to the virus are not tested (if they have symptoms a doctor will order testing); multi generations live under one roof.
    I’m applying the rule: put the oxygen mask on first. Then help others.
    Thank you for co-hosting IWSG this month.
    Lynn La Vita blog: Writers Supporting Writers

  29. Panic is as bad an enemy as the virus itself. My mom lives in Israel, which is hit pretty hard by the virus, but what she sends me in her daily emails are jokes about the virus and all else connected to it. There is an endless supply of them, it seems. Helps to stay positive … sort-of, if you could laugh about this global mess.

  30. I quite agree, Anna. Panic only leads to chaos and helps nothing. And frankly, IMHO, the news has done a lot of shameless fear mongering and grandstanding, undoubtedly vying for ratings. We’re calm and safe in my neighborhood, following shelter in place guidelines and keeping track of one another.

  31. It’s bad here in New York. Like, really bad. We’ve been in stay-at-home mode for almost a month now and the peak is projected for another three or four weeks ahead. I’m trying to limit media consumption, sharing and sending out good articles from reputable news sources, keeping the window open to let air and light in, and hoping that my fellow New Yorkers are also staying inside. Panic certainly doesn’t help, but I hope hope hope that people take this seriously. I worry about places where the medical system is sparse.

  32. We have basically stopped watching the news/social media which is kind of like putting our head in the sand, but we are trying to keep our sanity. We cannot dwell on the bad news, but realize this will pass. Have faith. Stay strong.
    JQ Rose

  33. Hubby and I are doing good in staying away from the kool-aid, but there are a few people I wish would take a few sips.

  34. We’ve just been staying inside and waiting it out. To be honest, I don’t know anyone who has the virus, or who knows someone who has the virus, so I feel pretty isolated from its effects. We’ll see what it’s like in a month or so.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month!

  35. Great advice! We only have 1 store locally that does online and it is booked for the next several weeks. We’ve only made the grocery run for essentials. Staying home = staying safe and we’re doing our best to do exactly that!

  36. The biggest thing is to be smart, not panic and practice basic cleanliness, the same as you should ALWAYS be doing. That’s the thing that gets me. Where people NOT washing their hands before this? Eww.

  37. I only panic if I’m locked in a tight space or a snake’s coming at me. Otherwise, it seems pointless. I suppose panic is always pointless, but I’m not impervious to fear when things like claustrophobia and slithery critters are involved..

  38. I’ve been avoiding the news unless I want specific updates on preparedness, focusing a lot on self-care, drinking a lot of tea, and looking at a lot of memes. Humor is always a go-to coping mechanism for me. Oooh I did see a fantastic Canadian meme about using hockey sticks to measure when it comes to social distancing, and an online friend from Ontario said reporters were actually taping one to their microphones as a bit of a gentle joke. It made me chuckle.

  39. When you look at the number of cases and deaths compared to the overall population, it does seem like this pandemic is overhyped. I think in the US right now, less than .001% of the population has the virus. But there are alarming aspects, like the high death rate (12% in Italy, rising from 1.4% to 2.2% in the US recently) and the asymptomatic carriers. Dying by drowning from fluid in your lungs sounds rather horrific, too. I’m still optimistic we’re going to come up with a medication to treat this virus (before the vaccine) but I’m less likely to say we’re overreacting as things seem to keep getting worse.

    • The numbers in BC are so low I just want to strangle the fear mongers around me. I can’t imagine the loss some people are facing and It breaks my heart.

  40. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    Well said, Anna! It’s hard to sort out all the information coming at us. I’m not panicked; I’m not afraid. I’m being pragmatic and trying not to think about things like what if I need a ventilator and I can’t have one because there won’t be any available. I’m focusing on what I can control and making the most of my time under the stay-at-home orders. Stay safe, my friend. I hope that BC is spared from the kind of suffering New York City is undergoing. Hugs to you!

  41. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    P.S. Thanks for co-hosting today!

  42. I agree about the freaking out. If people would stop panicking and hoarding and just follow the recommendations, everyone would be better off. Freaking out will not make the pandemic go away sooner. Social distancing might. We all need to keep calm, and those who can, stay home. Thanks for co-hosting!

  43. Anna, you really nailed it. I can’t watch too many news shows. My anxiety rises like a volcano. I try to stay positive (this, too, shall pass). Why can’t we be sensible? Freaking out doesn’t help. Staying home (if you don’t have an essential job), washing hands, keeping safe. That helps. Thanks for co-hosting, Anna.

  44. Being sensible helps. Panicking doesn’t.

  45. I’m seeing panic and denial as the most common responses of those around me. We’re trying to take sensible precautions without becoming overly paranoid. So far, I think we’re doing okay. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

  46. Debbie Johansson

    It’s strange that we had people panic buying, while others were crowded on Bondi beach, going on as normal. It wasn’t until the Federal and State governments really decided to act, taking away their privileges did the message finally get through. I think our first wave of panic is over, thank goodness! Food is rationed though now when doing the grocery shopping. Our stay-at-home orders are indefinite, but today we’ve been told it could last up to 90 days. I choose to get my news from a couple of reliable news sources once or twice a day. Other than my husband now working from home, life is pretty much going on as normal for my reclusive household. 😉
    Panicking accomplishes nothing, being sensible is all we can do. Thanks for co-hosting this month. Take care!

  47. Due diligence is important, but panic isn’t in anyone’s favor. Germany is doing fairly well because they acted immediately and started taking measures when it was only in China. I pray for all those effected by it, but I’m taking this time to appreciate the small things, do projects, clean, write, read, and most of all, connect with family and friends. Mental health is just as important as physical, so if you’re willing to clean your hands with soap, cleanse your mind with breath and positivity.

  48. That’s absolutely true! Panic is the enemy. I’ve been pretty much following the same protocols to stay safe. Thank you for co-hosting. Stay well, stay safe.

  49. I use fitness as a huge outlet, trying for yoga when I rise, and a more active online class at night. I’m lucky amazon prime has so many options. I’m one of those nervous energy types where I have to let it out, or sweat it out in some way 🙂 These are strange times. I just hope communities remain together and work for the good of all 🙂

  50. I couldn’t agree more, Anna, and I have been thinking this since the beginning. The funny thing – in Florida anyway – was that everyone was still out and about, no care in the world, for weeks. Yet, they were the first ones to stockpile and buy out the grocery stores. Talk about a contradiction.

    How do I stay calm? We’re hiding in the woods with nobody around! 🙂

    Thank you for co-hosting and sending some sense into this crazy world. My biggest fear is people going nuts as well!

  51. We are doing okay since my husband can teach from home and my kids can learn from home. I’ve been doing the shopping since my husband has asthma. Reading headlines makes me feel panic, so I try to limit my time doing that to once or twice a day. Watching Jimmy Fallon’s Home Version of The Tonight Show is good for calming things down and having a laugh at the situation.

  52. I’m just doing my best to follow my state’s guidelines. Thanks for co-hosting.

  53. Thanks for checking in! Thankfully I’m still working (essential and all that), so I’m still kept busy. That helps me focus. Also been working on a new book release, so that really keeps me busy. Stay safe out there! 🙂

  54. Thank goodness someone said it! I have a couple of people in my life who can’t stop themselves worrying 24/7, and their only outlet is to talk about it – after a few weeks of listening to their scaremongering and doomsday talk I am definitely close to saying, shut up, already. To my mind, it’s vital we keep our spirits up to help us stay healthy.

  55. No worries about ranting. We’re all here to listen, to care. We’re all in the same predicament as well. Now is probably a good time to “write outside yourself”. Pretend you’re someone (anyone) else and let the words hit the page like a bag of nails or flow like a babbling brook. Just write. Thanks for co-hosting 😉

  56. Not touching the face is one of the most important rules and, I think, the hardest to follow.

  57. Hi Anna,

    I agree. Yes, there are many cases and deaths. Here in Orlando the numbers are high, BUT we must keep our heads. Sadly, there will be many cases and deaths, but we must have hope, keep praying, and staying diligent!

  58. Omgoodness I so agree with you! This is all so freaking crazy.

  59. This really is a crazy time. Stay safe and sane!

  60. As with pretty much everything else in this world, I wish people would meet in the middle instead of going to extremes. So many are either panicking or saying there’s nothing at all wrong and it’s all a conspiracy. How about taking precautions like the ones you mentioned and trying to hang in there the best you can?

  61. I’m late, I’m late, belated IWSG! Yeah, the freak out is more unnerving than the numbers.

    Really compared to how many people are in the world, how many people have always died due to the flu and other things. The numbers are not over the top until you find a specific to compare them too… as in more have died due to Covid19 then in nine-eleven–so that is true and other such comparisons I keep seeing the news give.

    We have kind of seen this before just not the freak out that is killing our economy and the whole world banding together in extreme precautions. Maybe some good will come of it. I do pray that all of us stay safe and this ends soon.

    Hoping and praying for health and a return to a better world and normal that give us all peace of mind.

    • Yes, the human race has survived things like this before and will probably do it again. It is horrifying and we are all touched by it.

      All we can do to fight back is to adapt as best we can. Help each other through this in any safe way we can figure out. 🙂

  62. Victoria Marie Lees

    You are absolutely correct, Anna. “Being upset doesn’t keep us safe.” And 10 feet distance sounds better. We need to relax and be safe. Good post! All best to you!

  63. Damyanti Biswas

    Hoping for the strength for all of us to make it through this!

  64. Thanks for co-hosting this month and thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Don’t panic is great advice.
    Your stats also bring up a point I’ve been trying to make to others- the recovery rate. I wish people who feel the need to check the stats 2-3 times a day would try to focus on the number of recoveries. The deaths are sad, no doubt, but each recovery is also a blessing.
    Hang in there.

  65. It can be hard to get the balance right between not panicking and not being sufficiently cautious.

  66. Thanks for co-hosting this month! I try to stay up to date with CNN but mostly I use it as background noise and it helps to stay away from Netflix or Crunchyroll and other favorite programs while working from home. Plus making sure my kids join their Zoom class meetings and do their work keeps me occupied too. Nothing like something else to concentrate on to keep from panicking.
    Stay safe.

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