My my, it has been a while since I have sat down and written out my thoughts in this way on my public outlets. And how much the world has changed in that time.
I will not reiterate the state of the world at present (the death, unemployment, travel bans etc) all caused by the insidious little pathogen we know as the Coronavirus (or Covid19 if you're fancy). I'm sure you are completely overwhelmed with all of that already.
In fact, it is likely that you have personally been affected by this Regina George of viruses.
That's what I want to talk about today.
Photo by Luisa Starling
A Global Grief
See, in the midst of the outbreak and subsequent lockdown, many of us went through the 5 stages of grief which go like this:
Denial Remember when we were all saying that the Coronavirus was no more dangerous than the common flu? Or when we said it was heat resistant? Yeah, we were wrong . Some very notable people are still floating about at this stage
*cough *cough * Trump *cough * cough*
but most of us progressed to...
How dare this pathogen threaten my livelihood? My wedding planning? My health and loved ones? Absolutely not. We took it out on the governments who seemed powerless and ineffective. We hurled insults at each other on Twitter in complete panic, before progressing to...
This is the "Please Will Smith save us!" mode. You do everything to abide by the rules and pray away the plague.
Then onto this lovely stage. A deep pit of sadness sits in your stomach, as the world flips upside down before your eyes, and you realise that Will Smith is probably not saving us this time. Cue ice cream, takeout, chocolate, day drinking and endless napping.
Eventually, you rise above the depression and act on what you can control. You use your quarantine for nourishing things and thinking through what is next, to come out stronger on the other side.
Now famously, this theory is not an exact science, nor is it completely cyclical. You're more likely to jump from stage to stage and back again, in random sequences, sometimes multiple times a day. How discombobulating is that?
Photo by D10Photo
Sunshine and Rainbows
It is my view, via the stories I have heard and the things I have seen, that you may have gone through all or at least one of the stages of grief in the past three weeks. Probably multiple times. Some on social media, however, are putting out an entirely different approach.
Has your favourite Instagrammer recently written a post about how beautiful a time this is and we should all be grateful of the opportunity Covid19 has presented us?
... and don't you just want to slap her with a wet towel? :D
Okay mam, you may be having a wonderful time in your penthouse, looking gorgeous and using the time to "reconnect with your primal self", but you are in the minority. Most people are struggling in some way, and, to me, it is tone deaf to make light of that.
Now don't get me wrong. I think there is a place for positivity. It is completely valid, and in a way, I admire the people who can be happy and shiny right now. Maybe I am even a touch jealous.
In the right doses, seeing the bright side helps us to cope. I am also not immune to this! Recently, my lockdown has oddly brought me so much closer to my friends as we interact virtually to support each other. I've had endless video calls, virtual movie watching, games and parties. I realised how much I took nature for granted, and set goals to be more outdoorsy; after quarantine, of course. I am closer with my couples than ever before...
But positive outcomes do not delude me of the facts. That's what the sunshine and rainbow approach does. It pushes away acceptance and keeps a fantasy alive, instead of facing the issue head on and controlling what you can.
Photo by Marni V Photography
It's Okay to Not Be Okay
I am not advocating for wallowing in self pity. I am not advocating for inaction. I'm not even advocating for rejecting positive content. You do what you need to do to get through this.
What I am advocating for is being honest with yourself.
In this climate, above all else, we need to work together and we need a level mindset. Having your head in the clouds, self caring all day, and not actually getting anything done, is not helping yourself or the cause. Neither is sitting in your depression and giving up the fight entirely.
There is a happy medium here. A road to acceptance and action.
And it all begins when you admit to yourself
I am not okay... and that's okay.
I have faith in you.
Take care of yourselves,