I wrote this article back in early May 2020 but didn’t post it because I didn’t want to be yet another writer throwing his two-bits into the so-called coin pool opining on the Corona Virus, (or Covid-19, or whatever you prefer.)
I’m anxious. I’m paranoid. I’m not sure how to feel. I don’t know who to trust. I’m bored.
This is all too surreal.
I’ve been waiting for my alarm clock to wake me up for about eight weeks now.
Suddenly, over the past few months what may seem to many as the Apocalypse – is happening. The Four Horsemen are upon us: War, Famine, Plague, and Death.
At first, I started seeing memes and jokes on Facebook about the hoarding of toilet paper. Many of us thought that it was funny. And then we saw the shelves in the store were devoid of these precious rolls of two-plied golden squares.
Reality has come crashing upon us – that single roll of toilet paper turned to into an enviable possession. Similarly, additional non-perishables were being hoarded as well. And when these items were made available, even more people reacting out of the fear of being left without bought more as well. This became an epidemic unto itself, until the governments and stores had to step in and put limits on essential items.
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A few months back – before the Covid-19 outbreak – a good friend of mine told me that what we needed was a war. Her reasoning was that we needed something to bring us back to enjoying our humanity – to bring us closer as families, friends, and communities.
As a pacifist, I was flabbergasted by her thoughts at first – but after mulling it over for a few seconds I was forced to admit that she was correct. And with the ever-widening divisiveness growing in the world – on just about every possible topic – I too had been predicting that something was brewing
On March 15th around 2pm, I was at a popular fast-food restaurant meeting with friends for coffee. On March 19th we heard through the news that our daily haunt had an infected 18-year-old employee working there from noon until 8pm on the 15th – while we were there. Plus, we had continued visiting this restaurant until the dining area was closed on the 17th. Among my friends were a 55 and a 73-year-old woman – both of whom were high risk for the disease. I’m diabetic, which also put me in the high-risk classification.
So, for four days we were all walking around and interacting with others, with the Covid-19 virus potentially festering within each of us. As soon as the self-isolation/quarantine was implemented we all stayed in our own homes – waiting and worrying that we may have contracted and/or inadvertently passed this virus onto our families.
I wasn’t sleeping well through the nights, and when too mentally exhausted my weary mind closed around the same time as the sun rose. I would sleep for three to four hours before resuming my state of worry. I was constantly worried and anxiously wondered when the symptoms would show up. Was that a tickle in my throat? Did I feel a little feverish? Was my body aching, or had I just slept on it funny? I became hyper-vigilant.
And what of my family? Even if I remained asymptomatic, I could be a carrier – I could pass this life-taking disease to everyone and anyone with whom I encountered. By the time I realized this, it was too late. We were as good as doomed.
I feigned a casual persona for my loved ones – I hid my feelings of anxiety and paranoia for my loved ones. I downplayed the issues and concerns about the virus. I self-isolated for two weeks.
Fortunately, none of us got sick.
Towards the end of the two weeks, we learned that the “infected woman” had fraudulently written a doctor’s note stating that she had the Covid-19 virus just so she wouldn’t have to work for the rest of the week. The restaurant was forced to shut down, be cleansed, and its employees laid off.
The employee was fined $5000 – a significant amount for a young woman of only 18 – a significant amount for most of us. However, to me her selfishness was akin to an act of terrorism – she selfishly caused a panic for dozens of people who had both worked with her, and who visited her place of employment. She may just as well have called in a bomb threat.
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If you’ve read Stephen King’s “The Stand,” you’ve surely had chills run down your spine as if it was an uncanny prophecy come true. If you haven’t read it, I wouldn’t recommend it at this moment in time (my apologies Mr. King… I love all your books!)
Although well controlled by my meds, being a survivor of schizophrenia, the occasional pull on the paranoia strings still manages to create a resonating chord inside me. Although this time, I believe that my illness has little to do with the paranoia – I think it’s a widespread paranoia sweeping across the world regardless of mental health.
If anything, mental health issues should be seriously concerning – second only to the Covid-19 virus itself. The stock market is uncertain. Businesses are closed – many forever. Millions are out of work – not knowing if they will be able to afford their bills – looking to their governments to bail them out. People are worried about becoming homeless. The public levels of anxiety are going through the roof. Long-time lack of security may cause depression – even suicide.
In fact, if you aren’t feeling a little anxious, paranoid, or overwhelmed I may be inclined to question your mental health – and you are the one of many to whom this message is addressed. Either that, or you’re an asshole – and unfortunately, I know that there is a good number of individuals representing the latter group.
We all have a duty to take action against this enemy. Taking action can be as simple as staying home and self-isolating to keeping the virus unable to transmit; or it can be a medical professional coming out of retirement to aid the already overburdened.
Me? I self-isolate and I write – my hope is to help someone else with my words.
But this is a site about mental wellbeing, isn’t it?
Yes, it is.
Sadly, I am not a medical or psychiatric professional. I know as much as the average Joe does – I have no sage advice to offer. The only advice I can give is to keep taking your meds, stay safely isolated, and stay in contact with your medical practitioners. That is the same advice most laymen like me are giving.
That being said, my message for this month is simple: we are all at risk; stop being assholes to one another; and, we can beat this.
First off, please don’t get wrapped up in any conspiracy theories or speculations that you may hear – about the cause or effect of this pandemic – even if they are logical and perhaps even true. The What, When, Who, Where, and Why questions are now meaningless – whatever is to come will come. We need to work together as a species to eliminate this virus and then we can worry about what the fallout is.
If you are having difficulty, please contact a friend or doctor, or even a website such as this one – just to get your thoughts and feelings out.
I’ve been known to often say that “common sense is a fallacy” – this is a scary reality. And it’s being proven minute-by-minute as we watch some of our fellow humans’ behavior and blatant disregard our world experts’ warnings – it is sickening.
My heart is breaking…
I have seen the best and worst of people surfacing, and it’s going to continue. The medical professionals are putting their fears and anxieties behind them, they are all working their asses off to keep the rest of us alive – and even they are not immune to this deadly virus.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are scammers and looters taking advantage of other’s fears. When people are at their lowest, there are those who choose to prey on them. They should be put into jail and the keys thrown away.
I’m Canadian, and our government is doing a pretty good job at keeping the statistics from exploding, but the virus is still spreading, and it will not stop without complete compliance to the “rules.”
Every day I am hearing about people gathering – which has been outlawed in most countries. They seem to think that they are immune, and while I don’t want to wish this on anyone, I honestly don’t think that I would feel as bad for them if they got sick as I would the others who catch the disease from them.
What I find almost humorous is how simple the “rules” are so simple, yet so many seem unable to follow them. Stay at home. Don’t go out unless you need to. Don’t go visiting friends. Make efforts to avoid catching or communicating this virus – practice “social isolation,” stay two meters apart from each other.
Don’t follow these rules because your government or the authorities say that you have to – do it because it is your responsibility to protect yourself, your family, and more so your fellow humans – even if you don’t get sick or aren’t experiencing any symptoms you can still be a carrier and transmitter of the virus.
Secondly, as much as I hate repeating clichés, but “We are all in this together.” I know – it’s everywhere. But it is true. Essentially what this phrase boils down to is saying “stop acting like assholes to one another.”
Share the wealth – whatever wealth there is left. I know that many of us are out of work. We are depending on government bailouts to keep us from drowning in a sea of bills.
You do not need twenty tins of tuna. You do not need twenty packages of spaghetti and sauce. You do not need fifty rolls of toilet paper.
Remember that we’re all afraid and anxious. And remember that there is a proportion of us who are really suffering from debilitating anxiety and depression. Check in on your friends and families. Pick up the telephone or send an e-mail.
Thirdly, if we follow the first two principles, we will get through this.
The humanity and lack of humanity of our world’s population is being tested.
The most important message I have is that you take care of yourself. Mental and physical health are equally important. Resources may be scarce right now, but they are still here.