How not to lose your mind during the Coronavirus pandemic

The Coronavirus is testing more than our resilience.

It’s trying our humanity.

My generation and many younger ones would not have experienced anything like it in our lifetime. Understandably, people are panicked.

I’ve had friends from all around the world getting in touch to say they’re anxious, they’re scared or worried; They’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning.

We’re concerned about the trail of destruction the virus will leave in its wake; the loss of life, the sudden changes and restrictions to life as we know it. The removal of choice and many liberties we probably took for granted.

Many of us are worried about what tomorrow will bring. Will our loved ones be safe? Can we get through 12 weeks of lockdown? Will we have jobs? What will life be like?

Bare necessities

Apparently gaming consoles are flying off the shelves. People are afraid of boredom or being left with their own thoughts.

I get it.

It genuinely feels like we’re living in a parallel universe. And it is scary.

I have been more anxious than usual but I’ve generally been dealing with this better than I expected. I wanted to share something that I think has been helping me to cope with the circumstances. Now, I don’t know if you’ll find it helpful but you can take what is useful, and leave what isn’t.

You might already know that I have struggled with living my whole life. By this I mean I live with suicidal ideation and have genuinely wondered why people love life. I’ve asked the question too. What gets you up in the morning? What do you look forward to? What do you dream about? What makes you want to live?

For everytime I’ve asked I can’t ever recall anyone saying, ‘I want to finish level 50 of World of Warcraft” or “I want that latest iPhone.”

Ok so material things can enhance our lives but if life was stripped bare (kind of as it is now) and you had to truly consider what you lived for, what would you say?

Live now

At my very worst, when I felt I had nothing and emptiness consumed me I did this.

I woke up, yes, begrudgingly everyday and did the things I had to. I made my bed, I brushed my teeth, combed my hair… maybe not so fluidly at first but I tried. I developed routines. I went to work, came home, made dinner, watched tv, went to sleep, repeat. Occasionally I’d throw something new in the mix. I tried a new TV show, I tried online gaming, I tried whiskey, I wrote a book and so on.

I’m not gonna lie, it was damn hard.

At that point I had just returned home from hospital, under the care of a crisis home treatment team after a failed suicide attempt and I wasn’t sure how to move forward.

When I first woke up in hospital and realised I was still alive, after the regret dissipated, my first thought was “What now?”

The easy answer is, you wake up and try to get through the day by being in the now. Be present. And that means paying attention to you, what’s happening to you and around you. Try to accept what is, and bring calm to the moment. If you find yourself worrying about tomorrow or next week or next year and what lays ahead, if you’re anxious or scared, bring yourself back to NOW. Because the harsh reality is we can only prepare for tomorrow, we have no control over it. But we can manage what we do with NOW.

If you find yourself worrying about tomorrow or next week or next year and what lays ahead, if you’re anxious or scared, bring yourself back to NOW. Share on X

How to calm down? Do something to bring relief now. Do something to make an impact now.

Breathe in and out deeply, sing, video call a friend, watch a funny video, laugh together, help someone, play a game, play with your pet, dance in your pjs, have a nap, work from home in your PJS while eating home-made waffles, paint, plant something, or watch the clouds in the sky and just focus on that, whatever.

Just come back to now.

A massive part of my coping in the present came from focusing my energies on helping others in whatever little way I could. Sure I volunteered with different charities but also I tried to show more kindness and love and help the people around me. It was the small things. And I really do believe that I wasn’t the only thing or one changed in the end.

You do that and I promise you, focus on getting through what’s happening now, it will oil your spokes and the wheels will start turning a little easier.

What matters

Break the day up in smaller parts if you need to.

These are exceptionally stressful times and it’s true we don’t know what will be in the end, but we are here now, and we have each other now.

At the end of the virus when we have all our liberties back with all our favourite cafes, pubs, shopping malls and holidays, our jobs and latest gadgets, ask yourself what it will mean if you have all that but not people.

What if you could have all your favourite pastimes and places again, but no love, and no clear skies, or fresh air, no birds, no kindness, respect and togetherness? No laughter from children, no company from friends, no smiles from neighbours, no embraces from lovers or the shared experience of a delicious meal?

This is what I mean by life being stripped bare. Our humanity is naked before us and it can seem scary to confront it without all the frills and icing on top. But it’s so beautiful and it’s all we need. I’m trying to say that sure it’s pretty tough yeah, but we have all we need in each other. If we could just remember to be kind.

It’s the best way to fight for our future and show gratitude for what we do have.  Be here now, be present and remember what is at stake. If we all do that, that virus don’t stand a chance. Corona-WHO???

This won’t erase your worries but you’ll hopefully feel a bit better about things. I have.

Our humanity is naked before us and it can seem scary to confront it without all the frills and icing on top. But it’s so beautiful and it’s all we need. Share on X

Love and light my friends,

Featured image byJR Korpa

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