COVID CHRONICLES (Part 1) By CASSIDI LONG, LCMHC
It’s been a year and a half since our lives were turned upside down by Covid-19, a virus that completely changed life as we knew it. The week before lockdown I was celebrating a good friend’s engagement. Little did I know, it would be my last taste of true freedom for months to come. I’m sure you can remember where you were prior to the world shutting down. We have been in the midst of a global pandemic and it has challenged and chipped away at our mental health. Take a moment to reflect on all that we have been through. We were in quarantine for several weeks with our only outings being trips to the grocery store or Home Depot to busy ourselves with DIY projects. We wore masks to protect ourselves, washed our hands 47 times per day and marinated our groceries, packages and mail in Lysol. We suffered toilet paper shortages and hand sanitizer became a luxury. Some of us lost our jobs and found ourselves looking to our government for support and guidance. Our doctors and nurses were spread thin with limited supplies and overflowing emergency rooms. Other essential workers didn’t receive the respect and admiration they deserved and instead were met with insults and at times assault for simply enforcing Covid-19 precautions. Parents struggled to work from home while homeschooling their children. Others experienced severe isolation and loneliness. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police sparked a social justice movement heard around the world. We suffered many other losses including Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and Rayshard Brooks, just to name a few. We took to the streets to confront the long standing and ongoing issues of police brutality, racism, and inequality and demanded change, justice and equity. We voted in record numbers in the 2020 election. Some of us recognized the effects on our mental health and sought therapy while some of us coped in other ways. Some of us were confronted with anxiety and depression for the first time while others recognized that their existent symptoms intensified and were unsure of what to do. I couldn’t help but recognize that we were all going through the same thing at the exact same time. Never in my lifetime did I think I would face the challenges and struggles of a global pandemic, have to quarantine for weeks and need for my mom to mail me toilet paper. I also can’t help but to recognize our perseverance and resiliency. Did you thrive or simply survive? Both are commendable. Some of us bought houses, started businesses, homeschooled children, adopted dogs and cats, became plant parents, got married and had babies. Some of us recognized our strength and our value, started therapy, set healthy boundaries, cut off toxicity, and started new journeys. Some of us struggled, I think we all did in some capacity. Some of us were confronted with loneliness, felt trapped by our circumstances, were laid off, couldn’t get out of bed, coped with our vices, felt afraid, and lost loved ones to Covid-19.
No matter where you fall, take a moment to take a deep breath and acknowledge where you are and how far you’ve come. Think about how you feel, what you want and what you need. How are you coping? Is there anything that you would like to change,
explore or express? We are still very much in the throes of Covid-19 and it is likely far from over, but a rose can grow in concrete. I’ve thought quite extensively about the impacts of Covid-19, especially on our mental health and it’s a discussion I want to continue to have and provide space.
Join me on the Covid Chronicles where I will continue to share my thoughts and hopefully help spark meaningful outcomes.