I feel that if this virus outbreak has anything meaningful to point out to us, it’s the unquestionable truth that we belong to one another.
As part of this Human team, we are only as strong as our weakest player. We can pretend that we are separate and individual, but we aren’t. We live in systems, we operate within the context of our communities. Everything works until one part doesn’t; then the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
This has always been true of mental and physical health, and it’s what we practitioners are pointing out time and time again when we go on about “stigma” and “bias”. These concepts are important because they play out in reality – the judgment and the shame that accompanies being a person that is different or struggling in some way compounds and feeds the root problems, and helps them to exist and thrive and grow, but we continue to pass the judgments anyway. It feels good to be part of the “in” crowd, the healthy and strong and robust. It’s awesome to be a member of the elite until it isn’t. Until the problems find their way into your own community, into your own house, into your own system.
It’s cool to view the struggling as weaker and lesser-than until the weaker and lesser-than person is you.
I think it’s useful to remember the following in times like these:
- Be gentle. It’s very likely that everyone around you is doing the very best that they can, to whatever degree they are able. This goes for yourself, too.
- Belong. Reach out to your people and embrace them in whatever means are available to you – there are so many options in this weird future-y time we live in (I personally think a nightly Facetime with friends and family is priceless).
- Be vulnerable. Don’t armor up and try to ignore the stuff that’s going on around you. Times are bonkers, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. Things are scary, and it’s okay to feel that. There’s uncertainty and tension in our air and it’s hard to breathe it in. Recognize that hardness. Give yourself space to feel the feelings, and to take breaks from them, and let all of that be okay.
We’re all of us figuring out how to do this thing. Let’s turn towards each other and do that together.