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The Mental Challenges of Enduring A Pandemic

Someone mentioned during a news segment that navigating through these dark times that hover with menacing authority is almost like accommodating the signature stages of grief.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

At first I balked at the notion that suddenly losing someone you can’t live without under tragic circumstances is comparable to surrendering to an unprecedented global emergency, that not only destabilizes an already frazzled foundation, but you could possibly die from exposure.

But, as I explore my emotional state from the earlier phase, when the full scale of what we are now facing was unclear, and chart it to my present disposition, there’s no doubt that my acutely sensitive nerves are being slammed down by the gravity of a frightening situation, that gets more so as the days crawl by.

When you are immersed in making plans for tomorrow, the higher the stakes, the harder it is to be distracted by the breaking news about a growing national concern that isn’t directly affecting operational capabilities.

And just like that, my attention was sucked into the daily updates that were intriguing enough to inspire the almost two weeks of increased texting activity, and occasional phone conversations with a couple of girlfriends, who shared assessments that were similar to mine.

As the only independent contractor of the group, who has been struggling with the basic access to a dependable job that lasts longer than three months, this unexpected turn of events is adding more stress to a future that was dimming by the second.

But the ability to communicate frequently and even have the pleasure of belly laughs to soften the mood, definitely helped to delay the inevitable dark clouds, lurking with brutal reckoning.

Things have gotten considerably worse.

The text messages aren’t nearly as frequent, the death toll both at home and abroad isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Trump and his squad of corrupt Republicans are showcasing typical damning traits of dysfunction, and the alarm bells ringing in my head are torturously loud.

I am knee deep in the trenches of “anger” and “depression” as the disbelief of what is transpiring quickly overtakes my mood and attacks my fragile mental shell.

Nobody can afford this extended disruption to the mechanisms of what used to be our daily schedule, but I can’t help being overwhelmed by my own personal woes.

Tax season is traditionally a major buzzkill and the blaring reminder of what it means to be stuck in the immovable status of barely making enough to pay back what you owe due to a paltry annual income.

And when you factor in this epic period of heightened threats to everything that you rely on for tools of functionality, with the lurking boogeyman of a potential positive diagnosis, it’s impossible not to be carried away by the viral emotional breakdown that stings more than usual.

The silence from friends who were active not too long ago, when we each provided comfort and reliable engagement during unfolding developments, is the undeniable evidence of the heavy toll that this nightmare is exacting across the board.

We confessed our handicap in ways that leave you with the validation that you’re not alone in your grief, and yet you feel more isolated as the hours deliver the distance from alienated normalcy.

It makes sense to retreat into individual cocoons when shit hits the fan and blasts reality out of the safe haven, that protected you from what can no longer be avoided.

There’s no good news to report, and staying optimistic is a feat that will require supernatural vibes that my wearied state refuses to summon no matter how hard I practice.

My mood swings are more erratic during the day, and resorting to music therapy does produce a level of relaxation that gratifies. And the remaining CBD gummies for nighttime are the magical antidote to crippling insomnia.

Morning is for meditation and the workout that has been relocated to the cool outdoors, which has been the only upside to this ongoing crisis.

The therapeutic effects of combining nature at its peak with your chosen soundtrack are wonderfully healing for body and soul.

But to assume that those moments of euphoria are durable enough to get you through this wildness of juggling mental tribulations, and the increasing anxiety that stems from being in the category that’s less likely to benefit from governmental assistance would be dangerously naive.

For those of us who were already navigating the perilous pathways of living on the edge with constant threats of not being able to sustain a stretch of decent playing gigs, this sudden interruption is nerve-racking.

And not even the communal fiesta on social media with the genius of DJs, enthusiasm of trainers-in-training, and over-sharing of the rich and famous can provide the delightful distraction from the direness of our existence.

It’s easy to embrace the side of optimism when you have enough to secure that positivity.

However, there is a large population of the scared and isolated, who can’t garner enough hope to shield them from the waves of depression that leap higher and higher with each splash.

We have all the time in the world to imagine how bad things could get and there’s absolutely nothing concrete enough to dissuade our thoughts from the dark side.

My fear is the weighty toll that will be exacted, and whether or not tolerance levels are strong enough to withstand what we’ve never battled before.

Depression doesn’t always strike when the world looks like its about to explode, which seems to be the endearing misconception.

Sufferers understand the complex wheel of emotions that drag you without warning, and the obvious reasons why you should be feeling so bad when nothing demands it.

Now more than ever, we need to discuss mental health, and how this harrowing period of duress that places us in permanent panic mode, could potentially break the sprits of those who can’t summon the energy to participate in viral sessions of creative unification.

It was hard out here before the deadly arrival of a global pandemic. And each passing day seems to bring me closer and closer to the hour that will devour my will to fight off the vultures.

I’m not predicting the unfathomable. I’m just being honest about how much more formidable those mind games have become, and why it’s necessary to be transparent for silent soldiers.

Somehow we keep going, and I guess that’s what births those testaments.

In the meantime, take it easy on yourselves and don’t be afraid to reach out and touch somebody, even though we are being advised against it.

I’m doing it now, and so can you.

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