Health anxiety during a pandemic. A poem by Maureen Lowndes

You are too sensitive they always say
How come you never toughened up
There are reasons for that
Reasons best left unsaid
I fear death at the best of times
Health anxiety they call it
It was always cancer I feared
Every twinge, every ache
Is this it, is this the end
At the passing of time I fear more
Heart disease, dying sudden
Dead for a month before I am found
Is this headache a brain haemorrhage
Was the kidney infection I had a few months ago
A sign of something worse to come
Can’t cope with this much more
The fear eats into the soul, paralyses the heart
And very few understand

I don’t have a God to pray to, no comfort blanket
I don’t believe in Angels or Heavenly beings
I believe in science
If science can’t cure us, then it is all over
I am an atheist and always have been
Death takes one away from one’s family
Death takes one away from everything
All the things that one enjoys will be no more
Death is the cruel end to all hopes and dreams

When intense anxiety threatened to take over
Going to a little cafe, having a coffee
Chatting with a random stranger
Was a welcome relief
But we started hearing about a virus
A nasty virus in Wuhan
The next thing it was on our doorstep
The country is in lockdown
Staying in, cannot go out, thoughts out of control
Every little ache seems huge now
And the fear of the virus brings more anguish
We are in mourning for our beloved dead
We are in mourning for our lovely country
When can we go out without fear again
The fear, the horrible fear, the never ending fear
The all consuming anguish and fear
Have to keep busy, cook, clean, scrub and write
Trying to silence the mind.


I am from Co. Laois. I went to college late in life. I have a degree in sociology and social policy and a Master’s degree in journalism. I won an Annaghmakerrig bursary award from Laois County Council in 2002. My writing is published in many publications including a column with Laois Today


  1. This is a poem with a very personal story about the situation we are in. Nicely articulated. Well done Maureen, keep expressing your thoughts through your writing.

    1. Thank you very much Amanda,

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