My Covid Times Diary – Fear
Ok, let’s all just admit it, we’re all scared as hell!
And in fact we should be, we are facing the largest pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak. Even worse, the economic impact of these Covid Times will certainly be our next recession and possibly our next depression. But my aim tonight isn’t to scare you, you’re already there, particularly if you are obsessively reading or watching the news, if you’re watching daily press conferences or letting your mind runaway with you.
I can see the fear in the posts of my friends on Facebook. I can hear it in the voices of my family when I’m talking to them on the phone. I can feel it coming from my colleagues in the moments when they take a breath in between making decision after decision in completely new territory.
I can see the fear when I’m walking in the street on the faces of the people as I go by them. You can tell that some of them are actually holding their breath as they pass you, I notice this as I hold mine. You can see now that people are spacing themselves as they wait to go into stores and restaurants, giving each other wide berths on the street.
Fear makes people do crazy things, yesterday a train engineer tried to drive his train onto/into a navy hospital ship. He was doing so to get the media to pay attention to “what is really going on.” I’ve seen paranoid responses from my faculty and staff. Most definitively, I haven’t driven past my local gun store once in the last week without there being a line outside of it. People are scared and their buying guns to try and make themselves feel better.
We’re doing lots of things to make ourselves feel better, in my last grocery store trip I bought a chocolate cake and devoured it in two days. Good thing I’m running four days a week or I might come out of this much larger than I went in. People are binge watching TV to stay distracted, some will actually do self-destructive things as a fear reaction. I’ve talked to several people who’ve had to tell friends they can’t come over to visit, the extroverts are taking this all especially hard. I walked by a guy yesterday drunk off his ass in the middle of the afternoon mumbling about how he’d be driving his Camero if he wasn’t so drunk. I saw a guy picking up some groceries, he had six or seven attachments on his belt. He had a leatherman, a couple of knives, pepper spray and three I couldn’t identify. Fear is everywhere. But.
Fear is a liar. The image from the very top of the post is a passage from the novel Dune by Frank Herbert. It’s one of my all-time favorite quotes. I read Dune for the first time when I was around 15. It was a particularly bad time for me, I read the book not long after I had attempted suicide. I was living with a lot of anger and fear, that little ball in my stomach was constantly with me. I remember reading that quote, actually stopping, reading it again, and truly taking it to heart. I tried to let it happen, to let all of the fear I had roll over, through and past me, it worked, if only for a few minutes, the fear was gone. It was an important moment, it was a confirmation that another way was possible, that life could be different, better.
We’re all afraid right now and that’s ok, but take a moment, let it roll over, around and through you. Let it go by, take a deep breath into the safe space that’s left, even if it’s just for a minute and hold onto that feeling. You’ll feel that way again, no storm lasts forever, no matter how bad. Keep that in mind when the fear starts to bite at you. It will get better my friends, even if it gets worse and scarier first and it likely will in the next few weeks. But hang on to the fact that this reality is temporary and let go of your fear.
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