Being Still and Gaining Perspective from the Coronavirus

The coronavirus has traumatized the entire nation. Life as we know it has changed, and many wonder if we will ever fully recover. As an introspective individual, I attempt to reconcile the current condition and my reality. I analyze, over-analyze and re-analyze everything. It is a tedious cycle. My endeavors are farfetched due to the occurrences in life that are inexplicable. The coronavirus is one of those occurrences beyond my comprehension. I, like many, have a multitude of questions with very few answers. The when, why, how and where inquiries lead me down a rabbit hole of fear and frustration.

Focusing on myself and my family

Thus, instead of focusing on the answers I will not receive, my efforts have turned toward protecting myself and family while remaining still. I believe there is a valuable lesson to learn in the throes of this pandemic. Here, I will share my lessons and perspective. I have devoted minutes, days and hours trying to grasp and process all that is going on.

I plan for emergencies and try to control my surroundings

Truth be told, I don’t like crowds. I need to have control of my surroundings and the ability to act if necessary. I am the person who rarely sits with her back to the door and will tell you where most (if not all) of the exits are in a location, and I can have a conversation all while devising an emergency plan. This is me. My professional background and my need to control my surroundings compel me to “think quick.”

“Shelter in place” directives

With that being said, the “shelter in place” directive caused me to feel anxious. Choosing to remain inside is much different than being directed to do so because of a pandemic that may cost you your life or someone else’s. I discovered the angst and uneasiness I feel in large crowds parallel the discomfort I feel knowing that my movement is restricted. I’m stunned, perplexed, and perturbed about the condition of our nation. As I watch the news and witness the loss of life that is occurring, I am traumatized and over-stimulated. Protecting my mental and spiritual health becomes paramount.

Perspective is critical

Writing in my journal prompted me to ask “Is my glass half empty or half full? After much cogitation, I realized that perspective is critical. Perspective determines if we will remain optimistic in a given situation or if we will succumb to pessimism. Perspective often separates victims from victors. Perspective dictates if we exhibit hope or hopelessness. Perspective has saved my life.

Being thankful for today

Surviving a pandemic is arduous and disheartening. There is much to lament. Also true are the life lessons being taught daily. When feelings of being stuck at home consume me, I offer a prayer of thanks that I have a home filled with love, warmth and the necessities needed. A safe space for my husband and me. In the midst of many aches and chronic pain, I am thankful because I am still breathing. As the death toll mounts, I could be included in the number. At this moment I am not, and my family is safe. Tomorrow is unknown so for today I am thankful.

Lessons learned

I value my life immensely because I fought for it since birth. Life never stops instructing. My assignments will continue until I take my last breath. The temporary loss of “everyday” liberties urged me to reassess my existence. Never again will I take for granted something as simple as going to a grocery store without worrying and wondering if someone is too close, while obsessing over what has been touched and wiping everything down. I will further savor the gift of hugs, family dinners, walks in the park and eating at my favorite restaurants. Life’s greatest lessons are often learned in hindsight and it saddens me to confess the many things I’ve unknowingly taken for granted.

Stress and anxiety are natural in this situation

In closing, periods of anxiety, uncertainty and depression as this pandemic unfolds is a natural reaction. I refuse to decorate these feelings that may visit from time to time. As the stormy water rises, my loved ones, the mighty pen, books, music, and my faith are lifelines. There is always something to be grateful for.

You are not alone

To anyone reading this article, if you’re feeling lonely and disconnected, reach out for help. Your feelings are valid, always. With MS and compromised immune systems, sheltering in place protects us from threats known and unknown. May you stay safe, follow the directives of trusted authorities and know that this too shall pass.

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