I know the last thing people want to read is another post about coronavirus. We're being advised to limit media intake to protect our own mental health, and then we're stuck at home with nothing else to do but scroll through more upsetting news.......how this is a marathon and not a race.....how "we're all in this together" (cute at first and now it's starting to wear on me.....I don't know about you). And as someone who has close family members working in hospitals right now, the reality of the situation doesn't feel real....because at least for now, thank goodness, the people close to me are unaffected.
But anxiety about the future still lingers, especially in moments of quarantined silence when all I have are myself and my own thoughts. How are we going to survive until April 30th? How many people are going to die today? I feel so helpless and I want to help....but the situation is so out of my control, and I hate that feeling (and who doesn't?) With all this uncertainty, unhelpful politics, anxiety about the future, and very real danger that surrounds us......it feels like the world is moving backwards.
I also worry about my students. As a 10th grade advisor, I have seventeen students that I'm tasked to watch over and check in with throughout the next few weeks/months. One of them hasn't left his house since March 13th. Another has been practicing baseball in his basement (also hasn't left his house). A few others have been diligently submitting assignments on Canvas, even though they know very well the assignments are ungraded and won't "count". Others text me during random hours of the night expressing their frustrations and worries over the uncertainty of school and life right now.
One of the things I worry most about is our human tendency to fall back into old habits during times of crisis. For my students, that means falling back into old patterns of waking up after 10 am and staying up playing video games until the early hours of the morning. For me, it means revisiting old patterns of being alone.....old patterns of thinking.....old ways of being that I thought were past but seem to creep up behind my back in moments of silence like this. Move forwards....not backwards I tell myself. Surviving takes real effort.
In moments of crisis, all I want to do is do something. I've been taking extra volunteer shifts with Crisis Text Line this week as well as volunteering to pack boxes of food....all in an effort to progress rather than regress. As we all try to find our own roles in this global mess we're in, maybe we can think of this time as a call for us to discover and move towards new ways of showing up for each other (and notice when we're falling back into old habits). What would it feel like to not just hope for survival but to actively channel our energies towards supporting our communities and ourselves?