As I move through this crisis with all of you I am speechless and horrified all at the same time. I find myself moving into a state of immobilization and wanting to flee and then realizing that anywhere I run to, the crisis is still there. It reminds me of a saying “everywhere I go there I am. There is no running from this.
I feel powerless with no control over what is happening, the two triggers that are the most powerful states for triggering our unresolved trauma. While it feels bad and while it feels scary I remind myself to breathe. I think about my grandfather and my grandmother during world war II. I think about how they got through it so maybe I can get through this. Even though no bombs are dropping weirdly this virus does want to kill and it could kill me and the people who are closest to me.
I remind myself I have choices. While I can’t choose what happens to me I can choose how to respond to what is happening to me.
I am not going to pretend that I have been a pillar of strength these last few days or that I have been an example for my family. I have actually been screaming my head off letting the anxiety of it all completely take over. I have cried, laughed, yelled at the people who love me, and even asked my partner to wake me up just in case I was dreaming.
As I walked through the aisles of a familiar supermarket the other day and saw that most of the shelves were empty I was reminded of a similar feeling I had in 1998 when a very nasty snowstorm had fallen in my hometown without any warning and the food trucks were unable to get over to the island to deliver. It was the first time in my life I had ever experienced a reliable food source suddenly not be there. Then as exactly what happened then in 1998, cortisol shot through my body and I began shaking. Wondering about whether the food will be there tomorrow is a horrifying thought. Even though I prepared myself for what I knew was coming it was still very shocking to see it gone.
I am not sure what happened. I came home prepared to take a much-needed spring break and suddenly I am working from home, adapting to extraordinary changes at lighting speed so that I can maintain a sense of stability amongst the chaos.
Similar to war, I am witnessing systems that we have come to rely on falling apart and well aware of the tremendous consequences this is going to bear in the years to come. I believe it is inevitable that we will all come through this changed forever and perhaps even enter a new world.
Ironically the time for community and friendship is more than ever needed now and yet we have been forced to isolate for the sake of our health and the lives of others.
I can’t help but keep asking myself, COVID- 19 what is your mission? As I am forced to change things quickly in my own life what do you want me to learn? What do you want our community to learn and how will the world be changed forever once you are gone?