How are we coping?
More than 230,000 Americans have passed away from Covid-19, and that number is just the baseline of what has been recorded so far because we have to realize that there are more deaths that haven’t been recorded.
A lot of victims losing their lives during this historic season of a global pandemic, and the brutal repercussions stemming from how the Trump administration botched the response to an unprecedented national health crisis, are succumbing to life-threatening symptoms that are not directly related to the deadly virus.
It was recently confirmed that there is a rapid increase in the number of Americans who are developing an unhealthy dependency on alcohol.
This disturbing trend is undoubtedly due to the coronavirus quickly becoming the reality that mandated a nationwide shutdown.
On average the data is sobering when it comes to the harmful effects of alcohol abuse in this country that accounts for 93,000 deaths each year, which translates to 255 Americans dying every day from overconsumption of alcoholic beverages, thereby drastically lessening the life expectancy of victims.
The abrupt erasure of normalcy that encompasses an unrecognizable existence, that affects livelihoods and activates fear for an uncertain future that won’t provide ample assistance to restore original settings, can create the hopelessness and dispirited stance that ignites old and new bad habits.
Trump and his co-conspirators worked overtime to maintain the falsehood that Covid-19 has been defeated, while touting the mighty return of the “booming economy,” that doesn’t translate for jobless Americans suffering the plight of reduced unemployment benefits and endless wait for the second stimulus package that may never come.
The chaotic climate got even more unbearable with civil unrest inspired by the graphicness of systemic violence, that was heightened by the horrific slaying of George Floyd, the Black man, who was callously murdered by a white racist cop on the streets of Minnesota, while two officers stood and watched.
When you add the nightmarish events that claimed the life of a young Black woman, Breonna Taylor, whose shooting death by plain-clothed Louisville police officers, who bulldozed their way into her apartment in the dead of night, tragically resulted in the acquittal of her murderers — it’s understandably hard to stay sober.
Some of us are combatting internal and external forces of doom that collide to produce battle scars that certainly deserve whatever will do the trick to temporarily minimize the pain and frustration, for an extended period of time.
How do you define residing in a country that was presented as the fairy tale that will live up to the dreams of near perfection, with access to opportunities beyond wildest imagination, and then wake up to the distorted landscape of dysfunction and deadliness, catering to your imminent extinction if an unlucky day places you as the target of police brutality?
Add the horrific log line about a killer virus that has yet to be subdued, and an egomaniacal brute as the Terror-in-Chief, who won’t rest until he has killed us all, including the idiotic supporters who worship at his feet, and you have the recipe for a mental explosion that leaves you scarred enough to justify self-mutilation and the long-term submission to chronic diseases.
These hellish months of what has turned out to be the start of a profoundly debilitating new decade, have tested everything we can muster, and as we deplete the excess reserves, it’s important to ask how we are coping.
Celebrities and influencers answer that question with gratitude for how their privileges have placed them way above the debris, as they recline in the comfort of resort-like fortresses and utilize the tools of engagement to maintain millions of followers with casual vlogging and Insta-live sessions that reinforce those blue checks.
This isn’t an attempt to shame the rich and famous for being able to effortlessly afford escaping the trap of desperation and emotional duress from the misfortune of not winning the lottery of life, that dictates never having to rely on the federal government for financial assistance when the going gets rough for reasons that are beyond anyone’s control.
However, in a world where impossibly wealthy tech masterminds are getting wealthier, despite the surge in homelessness due to displaced households that can’t sustain the cumbersome status of no longer relying on steady paychecks or the extra $600 in unemployment— it’s remarkable that the subject of mental health isn’t aggressively highlighted.
Depression, bipolar disorder, and all the crippling branches of mental illness should be considered just as serious and any of the other diseases that are capable of ending the life of the sufferer if symptoms go unchecked.
Alcohol abuse can occur from consuming a dangerously high amount of liquor over a short period of time, and this can lead to the disorientation that propels suicide and poor decision-making that can lead to drunk driving, which causes fatal car accidents. There’s also life-threatening medical emergencies like alcohol poisoning.
For those whose alcohol dependency spans a long period of time, with failed attempts to successfully withdraw without setbacks, there will be health issues down the line that run the gamut of cancer, liver disease, chronic kidney disease and heart disease.
Giving up all hope and choosing to believe the worst days are ahead with no rainbow to hide those thick, hovering clouds, like the dare you accept at your own expense, is easy to do after months of self-isolation and the social distancing that keeps you far away from recovery mode on all fronts.
For me, each day brings new challenges that my Buddhist morning prayer doesn’t quite cover, but I allow those bad spells to overwhelm my senses and body, as I patiently wait for my spirit to soar.
Just the other day, the blows were so intense that it took me back to those harrowing moments when glasses of wine helped to reduce the devilish grip of the invisible beast, pummeling my soul to the point of choking.
Taking cover and recognizing the spiritual warfare for what it is has been my only recourse. The very next day, in the late afternoon, I was able to exhale and marvel at my survival, and how so very different I felt, compared to hours ago when awful images assaulted my memory.
But we can’t go on like this for much longer.
Seeking professional help is ultimately the best bet when it comes to responsibly taking ownership of your mental health, and even I’m guilty of waiting too long to explore the database of qualified therapists, who are trained to cater to my specific case.
Covid-19 has converted social interaction to online only, and therapy sessions are part of this “new normal,” but that shouldn’t dissuade anyone who really needs help from making those considerations, even if you have a brief consultation to get an idea of what you can expect once in-person appointments are back.
How are you coping?
Taking care of yourself is key and nothing should ever compromise that mission statement because you are worth the love that only you can give yourself, so you have more than enough for the ones who love you back.
God only knows how election day and the weeks after will play out, and while we can’t control the uncontrollable, we must take stock of what we can handle with healthy assistance from survival kits that contain positive results from taking much-needed action.
Here are some resources for the self-care we all deserve: