It’s different. It’s going to be different for a long while.
Life will be different because none of us, that’s right none of us have ever dealt with anything like this. Ever.
I struggled to write this post. What you read before the start of this paragraph came with relative ease. As I sit at my keyboard, my fingers hovering over the keys, I still find myself struggling to put thoughts in a coherent order. Bandit and I went for a walk and I started to reflect on some recent journal articles that I had written. I also reflected on comments made by two other supervisors during a daily briefing as it relates to making sure that we continue to meet the needs of our patients through this pandemic. My response to questions about my clinic are, “everything has been good. Nobody seems to be having any issues.” I began to think about the pride then I have in my ability to take care of myself and make sure I wake each day prepared to the best of my ability to walk the middle path. Unfortunately, I have done I better job of burying my thoughts and feelings.
It’s hard to remain in our homes, sometimes solitary and many times dealing with family members we could barely tolerate before this all started. I’m not going to give you the list(s) that we’ve all seen ten-thousand times since COVID-19 first became a thing. We all knew what we need to do. It’s human nature to try and make it “not suck so bad.” The problem is it does…suck! There is no getting around that. There is one simple way that I’ve found to make it suck less. Stop complaining. Complaining is easy but it doesn’t solve any problems. It serves to help increase the already elevated levels of anxiety and depression. So stop doing it.
Look for positive things during this time. Look at the things you’re grateful for. I know, I know, that’s a lot of work. What the Hell? Do you want me to just tell you that it’ll be OK so you don’t have to do the work. I can do that. Here goes: “It’s OK.” Does that feel better? If it does then read no further.
We all want this to be over, to be OK. If we follow the simple rules we’ve all been given it will be over and OK. It’s going to take time. I know that patience, despite being referred to as a virtue is not that for many of us. So now might be a good time and work toward that.
I’m grateful that my position is considered to be “essential.” Many of my clients also appear to be grateful albeit a little uneasy with the change from face-to-face counseling to telehealth but it is what it is. It’s better than not having that support. I’m grateful everyone in my family is and remains healthy. Did it suck to not be able to celebrate my dad’s 82nd birthday in person? Absolutely but I’m grateful for the ability to make a phone call. I’m grateful for the quiet and the solace that I find in quiet. I’m grateful for the warmer weather and longer walks. I think Bandit is even grateful for the longer walks. I’m grateful for the happy chirping that I hear when I step out of the house in the morning.
Regarding the coronavirus, I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how to cure it, and I don’t know where it’s taking us. What I do know is that like everything else in life it’s about how we respond to it, whatever it is. I, we can’t control it but we can manage our response to it. Learn to be proactive in your response. It’s our proactive response that will help get us through this.
For years as a social worker I have been encouraging my clients to slow down, to listen to and enjoy the quiet. Our materialistic culture is about having more, doing more, going faster and trying to be more than we are, more than we need to be. Trying to meet these superficial needs causing use undue stress, anxiety and depression. We need to see that this period of rest can benefit us, if we just let it.
We need more kindness, more compassion, more understanding. We need less complaining, less social isolation. It’s time for us to unplug and do a reset of the system, of our system to see what’s important and what’s not. To align our value system with what’s important.
So let the new world begin, now…