Reflections In The Time of Pandemic

Blog#21- 3/25/20

By Richard Davis

We are focusing our efforts on self-preservation and prevention during this time of pandemic. But we will all have more time on our hands for reflection and I urge people to stand back a little and try to take the bigger view whenever possible. It will help with the state of your mental health and it may provide some comfort, even if fleeting.

Most of us have had little experience with the process of death and dying and that inexperience tends to create fear. In past generations death was a part of life that everyone watched play out in their family. They had a chance to understand what lay ahead and they learned acceptance of that inevitability.

As the 2020 pandemic escalates, death is becoming a fact of everyday life and many of us are doing our best to avoid it. But I think we should become more mindful of what is happening around us and think about what our own death might be like if we develop a serious case of COVID 19 and end up in an ICU with poor prospects for recovery.

This need not be a step into morbid self-indulgence, but an opportunity for the cultivation of a higher level of empathy than we are used to in more “normal” times. We have the time, if we are healthy now, to take personal inventory. What have we accomplished so far in our lives? What are the most important things in our life? What changes can we make today to make our lives better for ourselves and others?

This is also a time for people of faith to use the connections they have cultivated to higher powers to provide them with strength. All of us, whether devoutly faithful or not, have the time to look at the ledger of our lives and sharpen the focus of our perspective.

Do we have enough unconditional love in our lives? Questions should be raised, discussed and answered among friends and family. Those who live alone can may have a harder time working on these issues and we need to make an extra effort to reach out to those people.

Shut off the television and shut off your online connections for at least two hours every day and set aside that time for honest discussions about your feelings, about what is going on around you and how you can do better in your day to day life as the pandemic evolves.

Make resolutions for a new kind of life after the pandemic is over and when the world returns to a place that we will not be able to imagine right now. They can be resolutions more honest than those formulated at New Year’s and they just might have the power to not only cultivate what is best in our humanity but, perhaps, also provide a special kind of immune system boost.

Comments | 2

  • Thank you, Richard

    One thing that’s kept me going through moments of loneliness and anxiety is imagining how lovely it will be to see my friends again. To hug them, to sit next to them, to have them over for meals, games, tea, or just because.

    I don’t know when we can do that again. Nobody really knows. That’s the other thing that’s helped: the knowledge that we really don’t know what’s going to happen. Why dwell on anxious thoughts about “what-if” if there’s no way to know? That’s not the same as not being prepared. I have enough food, I topped off my car’s gas tank today, I’m dealing with financial stuff the best I can. But, there’s only so much predicting-of-the-future anyone can do.

    Sometimes these things work. Other times I do feel very anxious and close to hopeless. I’m thankful those moments pass. Calling my mom, writing a letter to a friend, or sending an email or text message to a friend, is what I do in those moments.

    Hang in there, everyone!

  • The 5 Stages seem applicable...

    There seem to be a few types of fears – the health ones and the economic ones. And some people are worrying about both.

    I have a feeling that we may all be experiencing something akin to the Kubler-Ross 5 levels of grief:

    Denial – the shock and confusion of the sudden change to everything

    Anger – frustrations, irritations and anxiety over what’s going on

    Bargaining – the stage where one struggles to find meaning, reaches out to others, tell’s one’s own story

    Depression – feeling overwhelmed, helpless, hostile, and wanting to run away

    Acceptance – accepting the situation, making new plans, moving forward

    Note that these are not always in this sequence, and some levels might be skipped over by some.

    With multiple issues – health, job, economic future, family, etc – I’d even bet that some might be experiencing different stages at the same time now. (Just my guess…)

    I like the suggestions Richard offers, especially the one about getting away from screens for a while.

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