It’s not even noon yet and I’ve already cried six times today. Which must be some kind of record for me, because I rarely cry. I cried myself to sleep at midnight, woke up crying at three, and bawled for a solid half hour this morning before managing to calm myself down briefly, and crying a few more times.
According to all the crazy statistics and data scientists are coming out with, I’m not at high risk for dying of Covid-19. I’m a teenager with a (hopefully) healthy immune system. Many people who’ve contracted the disease at my age don’t even exhibit symptoms. A number of my peers have asked me why I’m so scared, why this is such a big deal for me if I can get it and be fine. And my answer has always been that it’s not about me. It’s about my grandparents, my kids, the dozens of people I know who’re immunocompromised. It’s about the losses we face as people are scrambling for a solution. With pandemics, death isn’t the only loss we see.
In the past week, my dream trip to France has been canceled. My school shut down for the rest of the year. I’ve had to temporarily stop working. My therapist postponed sessions until the situation improves. My parents, both healthcare workers, are on the front lines of this epidemic. The people I love, my friends, my kids, are no longer accessible to me. Treatment is no longer accessible to me. My world has essentially stopped turning in the blink of an eye, and I’m at a loss of what to do next. No one seems to have the answer.
Hundreds of thousands of others are in the same predicament. We’re sitting ducks in a seemingly endless storm. We’re fearful — for our lives, and the lives of our loved ones. It feels impossible to unite against this, because how can we be united when we can’t come within six feet of each other?
So how am I coping? In truth, I’m really not. I told myself I’m allowed to have nine meltdowns during this whole thing, and I’ve exceeded that number in a couple days. I’ve been knitting obsessively (if anyone needs an extra pair of socks, let me know). I’ve been busying myself with whatever I can to distract myself from this reality. But I do have a few things that’ve been able to help — even for only a little.
- Research. Learn anything and everything you can to be prepared for when the virus hits your community. Instead of resisting the inevitable, make yourself aware enough to face it.
- Make plans with your loved ones for when things are safe again. Set a tentative date. Remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if we don’t know when that tunnel will end. Worst case scenario, you have to push your plans back a few more weeks.
- Reach out to those you love and are concerned for. Let them know they are in your thoughts. If you cannot unite in person, unite in spirit.
- Set up online courses and means of educating yourself and your children. Do not try to replicate school for them, but show them that life can continue in spite of this mess.
- Take long baths. Paint your nails. Take naps. Do whatever you can to make yourself happy and taken care of, because you have the time for that now. Keep yourself busy, but allow yourself time to come to terms with everything that’s happened.
- Be kind. Help your neighbor. Don’t hoard supplies, and don’t think that it’s every man for himself. It’s not. No matter what your situation may be, there will always be one that is worse, and you can do your part in benefiting the world.
And most importantly, cry. Allow yourself to feel the pain. Don’t try to suppress it, but let it be a means for gratitude. When it all returns to normal, never take for granted the amazingness of being able to live your life.
We will get through this together.
Your fellow crusader.