When the world is moving incredibly fast, it’s hard to take a deep breath. Today, I was driving back from the grocery store when this wave of anxiety washed over me. My heart started palpitating and I noticed myself holding in my breath. I pulled over to a nearby parking lot of a park and spent the next hour crying. I cried over all the people that we’ve lost so far, known and unknown to us. We may be strangers, but none of us are strangers to grief. We are all connected in such a universal way right now; the trauma of COVID-19 is shaping each of our lives in humanizing and also frightening ways.
Everything feels so imperative. So many news articles demanding our attention. So many people are quietly suffering and I feel like I just want to hug the whole world right now. We’re being pulled in so many different directions and I don’t know if we’re also directing any energy towards maintaining our wellness.
The anxieties and grief of yesterday led me to call a Warmline (which offers peer-to-peer mental health support). The person on the other line told me, “I’ve heard a lot of people saying they’ll start grieving once a sense of normalcy has returned,” and that sentiment stuck with me. It’s as if a lot of us are holding our breaths through the pain we are experiencing. Grieving has no perfect timeline. If anything, it inconveniences our lives in unapologetic and timeless ways. It’s okay if you feel like you can’t keep it all together all the time, no one is really supposed to-no matter how hard you push yourself to.
Humans are fallible, we aren’t meant to hold steady all the time.
So if you’re struggling with the built up of anxiety, the overwhelming grief, anger for the fact it feels like there’s so little we can do, I want you to take a deep breath. I earnestly believe we will get through this. I can’t say I know when this pandemic will cease, but there’s something innate about the human spirit. Troubles move through our lives in cycles, but hope can always be a constant. Resilience breathes its way into our blood. Strength sits in every bone in our body. We are survivors of many unspeakable things-no matter what tribulation we face, humans have an incredible way of persevering through it.
The “normal” we imagine post-COVID-19 might not be the normal that manifests. If anything, these past few months and the upcoming ones will teach us how to live in different ways, maybe even in more patient and forgiving ways as well. This pandemic is demanding the humanity of each other and to display kindness for one another. When we are met with the reality of our mortality, it makes the world seem so much smaller. We are a tiny blimp in the unending progression of the universe.
Take a deep breath because the only way out of this is through.
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