My mind swirls with so many thoughts right now. The mere thought of writing something meaningful becomes an exercise in trying to choose what would be most beneficial, most needed in this time of turmoil and confusion. Even the choice of not writing at all has presented itself.
The chaos of these times becomes deafening at times, wearisome at others, and, for some, hopeless as they peer into the future. Why wouldn’t we feel some, if not all, of these things? We’ve been taken out of our comfort zone and thrust into the Unknown – a place where we seem to have no control. For many of us humans, that’s a very scary place.
It’s been a little over three months since we began to live this new normal and I’ve begun to see what it’s doing to some of us on a psychological level. It’s troubling and I don’t believe it’s going to get any better. While I understand the reasoning behind home isolation and social distancing, we are human beings that need close, in-person interaction with other human beings. Isolation, of any kind, for too long has a negative effect on our minds.
There are those of us who are more introverted and may not feel the effects of what’s happening and being asked of us as much as those who are extroverted and are used to being very social and very much out and about doing things, going here and there on a daily basis. With almost everything closed down – restaurants, bars, parks, events, etc. – a person can begin to feel stir-crazy. That can create anxiety, anger, and/or depression, to name a few. It can make people difficult to live with and cause uncomfortable living situations with others.
While being able to talk to others on the phone, through chat or messenger, text, or even vid-chat helps, it’s not the same. We are feeling beings and touch is part of those feelings. We are told how babies require touch – being held – we sometimes forget that all of us, baby, child, teen, adult, still need that touch. Now, we are being told to social distance, to stay home as much as possible, and we’re heading into four months of doing it. Yes, I do understand why. That still doesn’t negate who we are and what we need.
Even the masks we’re being asked to wear close us off from our fellow human beings. Am I telling you not to wear one? Nope. No way. That’s not mine to decide for anyone but myself. What I am telling you is the effect it could have on you and/or others. We can’t see each other smile. We can’t mouth a word, when we can’t or don’t want to say it out loud. For those with hearing impairments, it means they can’t see what someone is saying. Like I said, it’s closing us off from each other. That, also, can have a psychological effect on people.
Then there’s the infinite amount of information that’s being presented to us through TV, radio, newspapers, and social media. There are so many perspectives, a person hardly knows what to believe anymore. You begin to feel like your head is spinning or going to explode as you try to sort through all of it and decide where the Truth lies – if it can be found at all. Many have turned off their TVs, radios, and even stopped reading the news. It’s become too much for them to handle. Who can blame them?
As I look at all the people protesting, for both perceived or actual reasons, and I see not just people speaking up for what they believe are injustices, but people needing to connect with other people, for whatever reason. The need to be out and about and doing something is combined with their desire to speak up and out. Would this have happened under our old normal conditions? Possibly. Would it have been so intense and attracted as many people? Possibly, but I don’t think so. People are feeling frustrated…and for many, many reasons. (I state here, for the record, that these are my observations and opinions. No more, no less.)
Everything that we have been going through this year – whether your talking about the pandemic and the resulting occurrences because of it, or the protests and all that has caused them – has made many of us feel like we’ve been placed in a pressure cooker. The longer this continues, the more the pressure cooker heats up, and the more people will act and react from the energies created from it.
So, what can we do? It would be very easy for me to play armchair quarterback and say this or that is what should happen. The truth is, we each need to be aware of where our minds and emotions are during this time of trial and tribulation. To take that step alone allows us to choose what happens next. For some, it might be walks in the woods, meditation or long, relaxing baths. For others, it might be talking over their feelings with someone they trust, or rigorous exercise. We’re individuals who must decide for ourselves what will help relieve any tension or feelings of isolation we may be feeling. The main thing is to be aware of what’s going on within, decide what would help, and then take action.
“We are in this altogether…alone.” That’s the key. We’re not the only ones going through this, but we are individuals and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Be open to the suggestions of others, but, ultimately realize it is you who must decide how to best cope with our current conditions.
Stay safe…and sane.