I remember in March hearing 15 days to slow the spread and thinking “that is forever.” Here we are nearly six months later and we are still seemingly in that 15 days trying to slow the spread.
The rules change daily, sometimes hourly based on the latest information or who is reporting. Masks/no masks. Open/close. Go to work/don’t go to work. It’s all a confusing jumble of word salad that is tossed and then doused with dressing. The confusion salad makes a recipe for a mental health crisis in America.
COVID is relentless. Not only does it physically cause you to not be able to breathe but it mentally causes you to feel isolated, alone, fearful and unsettled in spite of commercials that plea “We are in This Together.”
We have learned new words like social distance, new normal and mitigate. We have circled the drain trying to decide what to do for our children and their education. Will we homeschool, virtual learn, go to school, or a combination of all of it?
Our minds are like pinball machines and it is taking a toll on our mental health. Staying positive is increasingly harder when there is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. We find ourselves defeated. It seems easier to shame others who don’t agree with our stance without taking a moment to realize they have a story that dictates their behavior. But what can we do to help our minds to settle?
We definitely need a Waffle House friend-someone we can depend on to meet us at Waffle House at any hour to chat over scattered, smothered and covered hash browns. Help us get it off our chest. Feel a sense of connection and belonging. We can turn the tv off and escape into a good fiction book. We can watch funny home videos on our phones. If necessary, we can visit the doctor to make sure there isn’t a serotonin deficiency due to circumstance.
We can be kind. We can adopt the thinking that COVID is not doing anyone any favors, and the damage will manifest itself in different ways in the individual. We are all a hot mess. Some of us just hide it better than others.
During World War II, as a distraction from the pain and stress that is war, America adopted a league of their own, women’s baseball. During this viral oppression of today, may we distract ourselves with a league of our own in whatever form that takes for you.
It won’t be long until this uproar will be a distant memory. Hopefully it will be sooner than later, but a memory nonetheless. And while we endure, may we not merely survive, but thrive by sharing a smile, a kind word, some understanding and some solidarity. May we lock arms and march forward into the unknown timeline that is 2020.
Jennifer Anglin is a local author and speaker.
Best Days are Made,