Mental Health Review and Reminder

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

After a year of sustained mental trauma, let’s look at where we were at this time last year to where we are now.  People started as angry and scared and confused, and now, people are angry, scared, and confused, just for different reasons.  During this whole time we still haven’t managed to change much other than our tolerance for ambiguity—and that is because we will do what we want regardless of the directive.  Physically, we have lost over half a million people in this country alone and that number is climbing.  People are scared and looking for ANY answer to change what this looks like.  They are more willing to risk themselves for the off chance that they will be able to live a normal life again than they are to simply stop.

I don’t pretend there are/were easy answers to any of this—anything that was decided would have been incredibly difficult to implement and it would have meant massive change for everyone, even if it was only for a short time.  But I also don’t pretend that any of this was managed well.  That is because we focused more on protecting our economy than on protecting the people.  We believed that managing an economy, a man-made system, would somehow save the people.  We forgot that we can create a new way to thrive—economies rise and fall and fluctuate all the time.  We can replace it.  We can’t replace the people we’ve lost.

As far as how we function, I’ve personally felt a particular sense of being rushed and needing to accomplish more and more.  It wasn’t all my personal drive, it was because I’ve been pulled in a million directions, trying to “save” something.  I’ve felt so disoriented that my mind spins trying to make sense of anything and that is why I’m trying to finish so many things—I’m trying to make all of this have meaning.  So many people are trying to make things make sense—it doesn’t matter if it’s the right answer, they just want to have some sort of answer.    

That is completely natural.  Humans are designed to evaluate danger and either kill it, run from it, or fix it.  We have been trying to treat this like every other crisis that we’ve faced before, and you can’t make a natural disaster, a global pandemic behave how you want it to.  While I agree that we didn’t necessarily have the time to “wait and see,” this situation required a certain level of patience and responsible observation.  It wasn’t ours to control—that’s evident by the evolution of the disease.  It is ours to learn to adapt and to recognize that we don’t have all the answers.

I’m frustrated because we are essentially where we were a year ago.  In so many cases we haven’t learned anything.  I still see people behaving so desperately that they no longer know how to function with other people.  They are still entitled and demanding and don’t seem to get that the world doesn’t bend to their will.  Above all, THAT is the lesson: the world doesn’t move according to our schedule.  It moves on its own.  I believe that we will get out of this and I also believe that it will happen faster if we stop for a moment and look at this with fresh eyes.  Then we can start to heal.      

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