Anxious over virus, tornadoes? You are not alone…


Let's clean out the notebook...

• Stress seems to have been something that we are all dealing with, what with the virus and now the tornadoes. It has just about gotten the best of me at times, as it has at other national crisis moments. I noticed as much as people watched an "I Love Lucy" marathon on Nick at Night the week of 9/11 (thus leading to a mention of the show in Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning"), I have been watching classics like "The Wizard of Oz" and "Cheaper By the Dozen" on TCM to calm me down. 

A co-worker wrote on Facebook, "My anxiety is in overdrive with this virus mess," noting her blood pressure at hit a new high at 155/106 before settling. 

"Dr is starting me on meds," she posted. "She has also told me no more news and also said get off fb. I have got to stop reading all this stuff and then worrying. Thank you all for the prayers today!" That person, I dare say, is not alone. I, for one, have spent three weeks sheltering at the apartment, with few phone calls and working pretty hard. There have been some times I've gone from anger to depression to guilt and what not. 

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has posted that for those anxious, stressed, or depressed about the Coronavirus, a federal agency under Health and Human Services (called the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) actually has what EMA says is "a Disaster Distress Helpline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any disaster," including the virus. "The helpline is toll-free, multilingual, and confidential. Call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746, to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Go to, click the "Find Treatment" tab at the top, and you'll find the Disaster Distress Helpline and information and website link (as well as a number of other helps, such as a suicide prevention number, a veterans's crisis line, an opioid treatment directory and others.)

• I think a number of people were embarrassed that James Spann used the Boobie Trap as a landmark for when the tornado hit the Walker-Jefferson county line. Of course, it makes perfect sense in an emergency, and it and Green Top are landmarks. I've wished for years it and other "adult entertainment" would go away, but the way the world is going, I'm surprised we haven't seen branches of it spread out. (Frankly, I've always been a old-fashioned and little unsettled behind the winked-at idea behind Hooters.)

• Remember that if you had damage Sunday to your property, please turn that in to the Walker County Emergency Management Agency so that they can possibly have enough for a disaster declaration to get emergency funds. Notify the EMA coordinator, Regina Myers, at 205-384-7233, private messaging its Facebook page or emailing, in order to list damage in case a disaster declaration is possible to get disaster funding.

• I am glad the Salvation Army is coming in this week to help victims with feedings, especially while the power is out. I always said the Salvation Army was one of the big heroes in the Hackleburg tornado recovery, and they were there a long time feeding folks there. The churches have done a great effort coordinating with each other overall. Also, the Carbon Hill Police Department has done a fine job collecting essentials like shampoo or toothpaste if those are needed.

While we are at it, let's hear it for medical personnel, utility crews, emergency responders, restaurant workers in the drive-thru, grocery and retail employees, mailmen and delivery men, print and TV reporters and others who are taking risks to go out and do their jobs in spite of the COVID-19 and tornado damage. I appreciate what you do to keep us comfortable in spite of all the challenges. And for those who home school, don't forget what you keep saying about teachers should all be paid $1 million; they may need some help down the road. 

Ed Howell is news editor for the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or