A (COVID-19) Love Letter
COVID-19. This is really hard right now.
My husband and I visited Paris at the beginning of the year. It was the first time that he’d been to Europe and the trip was nothing short of perfect, full of baguettes, pastries, and old architecture. We returned to New York on January 24th and received news updates that Coronavirus made its way to France that exact day. Both of us said out loud that we were leaving at the “perfect time.” However, that made it very clear that Coronavirus would soon make its way to New York and neither of us expressed that part out loud. I couldn’t at the time. A little over two months later, it’s here in the city and life is completely turned upside down.
Going to the grocery store is kind of scary.
Our homes are our offices, gyms, and entertainment spaces.
If your neighborhood is anything like mine, you see people laughing and hanging outside in groups. It pisses me off every single time.
Reading the news is hard because you’re being informed that medical resources are low and morgues are at capacity.
Then on top of all of this, you might be an essential worker and still have to leave your home to work. Store clerks make sure shelves have food for the masses. Medical personnel do the obviously necessary work. Cleaning services and staff keep our shared spaces safe. Food delivery shows up full of love on those nights that you just can’t.
As a therapist, I’m an essential worker too. Luckily, I can do all of my work from home. I became a therapist because I feel so much and always have. I truly give a shit about others’ well beings and want everyone to be able to have lives that they’re proud of and feel accomplished in. Like many of you, it’s hard to see that positivity throughout this though. My thoughts have been overwhelmed and send my emotions into a very unstable place. For example, my brain was occupied with the following details this morning during quiet moments:
The fact that morgues are full is horrible and sad.
So many people have already died and we haven’t even peaked in numbers.
I have a lot of at risk family and friends…
One at risk friend recently shared that he’s having Coronavirus symptoms and just waiting to see if/how they progress.
What if one of these people dies?
Should I start mentally preparing for one of them to die?
Yeah, you’re a therapist, but can humans ever actually prepare for death?
Everything, life is very bleak right now.
I’m writing this as a reminder to myself and anyone else who needs it because we’re at such a low point that the only other way we can go is up. It will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. This is temporary and will be a very scary and uncertain memory in the past. I’m doing the good work. My sessions consist of encouraging clients to practice coping skills and maintain their humanity and hope.
To all the essential workers out there, you’re doing the good work too. If you have days where you just can’t deal and feel like work is impossible, that’s okay. You can take some time to yourself. You should and need to make time for yourself. I know that there’s a huge sense of immediacy because of people’s lives being at stake, but doing little things to keep yourself sane helps both you and those that need you. We can do this. We will get through this.
I love you for what you’re doing for all of us. I love myself for being able to be there for my people. I love that as a group we are able to make immense change.
Thank you so much to all essential workers and people just pushing through during these weird, sad, uncertain times.
We will get through this and come out stronger and more centered at the end.
With love and optimistic thoughts of when we can hug again,