Hello, my friends! How are you? I sincerely hope you and your families are doing well during this time of uncertainty. Everyone around the globe is coping in their own way and of course, this pandemic is an unwanted addition to existing, deep-rooted, dilemmas.
I am personally trying to stave off what I am branding as COVID-19-itis. For the past eight weeks, since I have been on lockdown, I couldn’t shake off these familiar feelings. Week one through seven, my motivation and positive spring is coming mood was thrown out the window. My sleep patterns were off, I didn’t want to get out of bed, work was not a priority, and I was feeling particularly low. Usually, I can feel a low point coming, but this hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t anticipating such a dramatic shift and was not prepared. Being my regular in-my-head-self, I tried to take the time to evaluate what was so triggering. I narrowed it down to a few things and wanted to share.
Fear: When the news of the Novel Coronavirus first broke here in the United States, I was very skeptical; a lot of the components of the virus weren’t explicitly explained and it was hard to disseminate how this was different from the flu. Then a week later, it became very clear we weren’t dealing with a “normal” sickness. The environment was changing by the hour and it was hard to keep up. With all of the unknowns, despite me not actively thinking I was scared, I was. I was and still am fearful about the current state and what’s to come. Every sniffle, throat tickle, cough, or sneeze felt like it could be COVID. I was concerned about family members getting sick and if they would be able to seek treatment and survive. I am fearful that people will continue to not take all the precautions seriously and endanger others due to their ignorance. I am worried about what our futures will look like, things will inevitably be different and it’s hard not knowing.
Anger: I am angry at this country’s response to the pandemic. The blatant disregard for human life, selfishness, and greed that has dominated what could have been a proactive defense against this virus. I am angry that this virus has and will continue to ravish through disenfranchised communities already suffering from a lack of resources and adequate access to healthcare. I am angry at the corporations that prioritize profits over their staff’s wellbeing. The workers that were regarded as disposable are now essential, yet not essential enough to receive a change in pay, proper working environments, proper protective equipment, or paid time off. I am especially angry at the fools who are protesting stay at home orders, who continue to compromise the health of others, and who try to justify the deaths of people in their neighborhoods, state, country, and around the globe. It’s all truly detestable.
Guilt: I felt a lot of guilt and still do to an extent regarding my current situation. I feel so grateful and lucky to be actively employed and able to telework. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for a lot of people, even in my household. My spouse works in finance, is people-facing, and is considered an essential employee. Everything was business as usual well after it was declared a State of Emergency and the cases around us were rising. Watching them wake up each day and get ready, while I spent the last three days in the same pajamas ate at me. It took four or five weeks, but luckily there have been some modifications to the schedule, restricting others from entering or having too many employees scheduled at one time. But each supermarket visit or food delivery comes with a strong helping of guilt. Everyone should have the ability to stay safe, stay home, and be well, but it’s not possible.
Loss of control: This was a tough pill to swallow, but it’s helped me see the other side. Uncertainty is a lingering feeling for me, but at least I could conjure up 2-10 different versions of an outcome. When my routine was interrupted abruptly, restrictions were being rolled out rapidly, and I was confined to the home, it felt like a breach in my autonomy. Nothing is too different about my life, but I miss having the options. If you felt like you had a lot of freedom to do as you please, this may have hit people a little harder. But, you have to remind yourself that you do have a lot of control still. Obeying stay at home orders, when possible, or wearing a face mask means protecting others and that’s a lot of power. I think it’s fair to say problems with authority fall on a spectrum, but, some people are taking protective orders as a personal attack and choose to be rebellious; that is causing obvious harm to others. You can’t control them, but you can control yourself and continue to do your part.
This feels like a good point to stop for a moment and take a nice deep breath.
If you have been feeling these things since the onset of COVID-19, don’t you think for a second that you’re alone. I thought I was going to handle this with finesse, but I am glad to be reminded that I am human. Right now, all that matters is surviving. You don’t need to be productive or motivated if it doesn’t feel right. You and your families should be the only priority, if it can wait, let whatever fall temporarily to the wayside. Rest now and try to stay as healthy as you can.
Take care, my friends!