There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
the other is as if everything is.
Every morning I walk with Gracie, my Swiss white shepherd, and at the start of the COVID-19 it was no different. As we marched along I noticed a mysterious looking black sailboat with red trim. It caught my eye—and my imagination.
I wondered who lived on that boat and what that might be like. I thought about how I’d love to swim out to that boat and sail away…from the virus and all that it was going to bring.
My first glimpse of the mysterious boat was the very first morning I learned all my co-workers were going to work from home. I chose not to. I wanted to be in my office setting and create some form of “normalcy” even though I knew I’d be working all alone in a locked building looking at my computer screen doing video sessions. This was not normal by any sense of the imagination but it was as normal as I could muster up.
So, each day I walked my white princess my eye would catch the obscure boat and I’d wonder who owned it and what was going on. Why was this boat anchored in the same spot day after day—filled with what looked like someones belongings? Was someone onboard sick with the virus my imaginative mind wanted to know?
Each day after my long walk I set off to work in my empty office to talk to patients hour after hour separated by a screen yet still so connected. I’d hear about the over eating, bingeing, sips on drinks and gambling through stock purchases. Addictions continued to bubble up no matter what shut down we’re in.
Google news as early as March and as recent as June talks about the mental impact the COVID-19 is stirring. The ominous virus is pushing the world into a mental health crisis they inform. The article goes on to say there is a surge in the number of anxiety and depression cases reported in the U.S., which I can attest to given my patient load as of late.
I continue to walk every morning to keep my sense of balance in spite of the growing fears and concerns. Google health news points out the wide variety of mental health support offered. Anxiety, stress, depression along with other mental health concerns are sprouting among health care professionals which I’m seeing first hand.
I maintain my daily strut morning after morning without fail and there it is, the mysterious sailboat floating without drifting too far from the day before and the day before that. I keep looking for signs of life but after a while I realize there’s nobody on that boat. Nobody. It was just there floating day after day, week after week.
I decided at some point that the sailboat would be my barometer to when things would open and the pandemic would be a thing of yesterday.
I bargained with myself that If the sailboat was still there then the virus was going strong and if it was not there then we were coming to normalcy. A game of hope.
Google health went on to say out of the anxiety, depression and stress may result in increased alcoholism, substance abuse, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Yep, I was seeing this firsthand.
Ana Ley, in The Virginian Pilot, writes about a mental health worker, Edith Beaujon, in Virginia Beach, who speaks of her clients afraid to eat that the virus might be in the food. She goes on to say they were getting dizzy from lack of food only to end up in the hospital. For sure appetite may go up or down with depression and anxiety as I’ve seen this firsthand with my patient load. Some are immobilized…fearing to go outside because they may “catch” this thing.
After weeks that turned into a month and then months I thought more and more about what it would be like to live on that boat and write—just write. I thought about all the adventures I’d experience along the way. I guess I wanted to run away from all the panic and fear so many were experiencing.
Of course this is not a reality. Life has to return to normalcy—whatever that means—at some point.
But while we wait for normalcy the coronavirus has impacted our country like no other national crisis, leaving Americans of all ages terrified. The KFF health tracking poll shows:
These stats are scary but by my calculations based on my patients, friends and family hold true…and then some. So yes, it would be nice to return to normalcy, and it did—sort of, but in the end will have many residual crumbs for all of us to work on and through for years to come.
On the last day of May my getaway boat was gone. My heart sort of sunk and then soared. I thought okay…my self-regulator indicates it’s time to return to “normal”…
Now I’m in the second week of June, still alone working in my office, but I feel a sense of normalcy as I see one patient in person each day while the rest are still on the video sessions. Slowly and steadily we will return to normal, this is America after all. Small tiny steps back to work in our offices, stores, and restaurants.
It’s a beginning. We have to return to work and life or else we will get too complacent, to afraid…perhaps even paranoid.
Though I do think about who touched what and what if they cough, sneeze or laugh too loud…what spittle will float into the atmosphere.
But that’s only for a brief moment and then I return to moving onward and forward. We have to…I have to.
The flowers are blooming and the birds are singing, the clouds are white and fluffy against a deep blue sky, and the palms are waving the palm fronds as if to say hello world…let’s get on.
What are you doing to return back to normalcy? How is it working for you? Do you prefer to work from home? Are you afraid to go back out into the “world” again? What about travel, are you ready to fly or cruise or drive across the state?
Stay tuned…you never know where my mind will wander to next…
You can leave a comment by scrolling down to the section that says leave a reply…all the way down, past the email box (which I love to connect with you there too!!). I look forward to hearing from you!
Hugs to you, I care!
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No More Diet Mentality!
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.