I know there is a lot of you out there struggling to cope with the pandemic. The stress, anxiety, anger, and frustrations are flooding your life. They are controlling every step you take and every decision you make.
You say and do things you don’t really mean to. So, you end up hurting the ones you love, or they are hurting you instead.
But let me tell you something.
This storm will pass. It may take longer than we thought. But it will pass. What matters is that you laugh. It’s OK for you to laugh. It’s crucial, even. When we have to face something this terrifying and hard, it’s vital that we try and find out what each moment will teach us.
Remember, difficult times don’t last, but tough people do.
How I Got Off to a Bad Start
I would always let my anxiety take hold of me. That distress became my wheels while I was just a hungry horse trying to drag the whole carriage down.
The truth is, no one could predict how fast COVID-19 was going to reshape the world. To me, it felt like everything happened overnight. Millions of people lost their jobs, cities turned to ghost towns, and everyone I know and love was suddenly at risk of getting infected with a disease. The thought of losing them was horrifying.
Then, my best friend got infected. Someone I’ve known since middle school got bedridden almost immediately after contracting the disease. That’s when it hit me. This was real.
My anxiety went through the roof. The lockdown made me feel panicky and trapped. There was nothing I could do to help my friend. I had to stay at home and limit my interaction with people. In just a matter of days, mine and everyone else’s future became uncertain – no more weddings, summer vacations, or family gatherings. No more life as we knew it.
I’m a law student. I’m used to long lectures, regular visits to the library, workshops, and study groups. But the moment the pandemic rolled in, everything was put on hold. Even my single source of income, a job in retail, put me at risk of contracting the disease and losing it all.
I couldn’t let that happen with my weak immune system. I quit my job. I couldn’t go to class anymore and couldn’t meet my friends to seek support in my community.
Suddenly, I lost the will to do anything. I was moping around in bed and doing nothing. I just went through the motions, morning to night. And just before I realized, I wasted five days of my life frowning, slouching, and crying over what could have been.
No more! I won’t let that helplessness ruin me or what I stand for. Yes, I did feel alone. And yes, I didn’t want to ignore my loneliness. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing I can do to fix it.
The Pandemic Didn't Change Me; I Changed Myself
Hope and motivation are something we should find for ourselves. They are a key component of our happiness. Something that keeps us going.
When I’m afraid, I need to be brave for someone else. I had to be brave for my friend. She was always my backbone. She was there for me and gave me the little pushes I always needed to keep moving.
Now our roles changed. Honestly, I’m happy they did. As soon as she got better, I stood up, freshened up, and went to check in on her.
I can’t describe to you the warmth in her smile when she saw me walk through the door. I’ve always been the wisecracker in our group. I could make even the grumpiest old lady laugh at my jokes. I think the moment she laid eyes on me, she expected I’d make some weird joke.
Luckily, my sassiness remained unchanged. Just a couple of minutes of me being there, every patient in the room was having a blast. In the end, my friend just looked at me and said, “Thank you. I needed that.”
I’m happy to say my friend made a full recovery. I know I didn’t treat her with a couple of gags. But, I also realized something else that day.
Each patient in the room there needed something to lift their spirits, regardless of how small it may be. To you, it may sound insignificant, but everything we do, everything we try, can put a smile on their faces and ours.
So, don’t just drown in your own self-pity, fear, or silence. You must find your own strength and learn from it. This is the only way we, our civilization, will heal. Yes, I understand that things may not always go the way we want them to. But, when they do, we should be able to enjoy it.
Take one day at a time. Figure out what’s crucial in your life. If you want to stop feeling helpless, start helping others. It will get rid of that loneliness, sadness, and stress. Another thing you can do is get your body back on track. Move around, go for a little walk every day, try doing some push-ups or jumping jacks.
Trust me; a little exercise can go a long way. It will clear your mind and give you something to focus on. If you don’t think you can handle all of that alone, try getting expert mental health treatments.
As long as you do everything to get that smile back, you can make it work. Just don’t give up on yourself and those around you. Although COVID-19 will not go away as quickly as most of us wanted, we can still maintain a positive outlook on life.
Just in a different way. Find your anchor, anything that makes you happy, and stick to it. Spend time with your loved ones, relax, and enjoy the time you dedicate to the people around you. So, when this pandemic passes, you will still be you.