One Day, One Thing, At a Time

posted in: Observations | 3

So, how are we holding up after a month or more in COVID19 related lock-down?

Clearly, it’s tough all the way around. I’m not going to sugar coat any of it, because it sucks. Whether you have gotten sick yourself, know someone who has, or lost someone who has, or don’t know anyone but are dealing with not being able to work, or trying to work from home while also homeschooling kids, or just being anxious about what comes next for you and the people you care about, you are feeling the effects of this.

It’s a lot. and it sucks, and we’re just not sure when it will end, how it will end and even what the next few months looks like.

That being said, for some of us who survived childhood abuse and trauma, there is something vaguely familiar about what we see when we look ahead, or maybe that’s just me.

Hear me out though.

At my worst, the first time I walked into a therapist office, to take one moment in time, if you had asked me to look into the future and tell you what being “healed” of the trauma looked like, I might have laughed at you, or gotten angry with you, because I had no idea what that looked like, nor any idea of what it would take to get there. I suspect many of us would have felt the same way at some point, if not now. The idea of figuring out how to get to “healed” from where I was that day would have been as massively overwhelming as figuring out how an international pandemic will play out. We don’t know. We can’t possibly know.

What I do recall from that day though, was that I didn’t have to have all the answers. I needed to do two things, make it through that day and go see a therapist. Then, I had to make it through the next day, go to work, be careful of my mental health, and keep doing that, until the next therapist appointment, and on and on just like that. One day, one thing, at a time.

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That’s not to say that I didn’t have an eye toward healing, but I had to accept that goal as one that was too far off, and too overwhelming for it to be focused on every day. The individual steps not only needed to be taken to get to the end goal, but they have to be the daily focus and they should also be celebrated. That’s how we prevent the totality of everything that is involved in healing from overwhelming us.

Today, I see the same pattern when it comes to this virus. If my focus is on when this all goes away and we all get back to “normal”, that might be extremely overwhelming. I’m reading, and believing, experts say that we may not be locked down for too much longer, but that normal is a far way off. This will be a constantly changing situation until there is a vaccine or a very effective treatment.

If I focus on that every day, I’m going to be overwhelmed by it, unable to even get through the work day, let alone weeks of quarantine. As tempting as it might be to just give in to that, I’m trying to avoid it. Oh, I still have some moments, and days where that is tough. Days where I get through work and just pass out asleep for 12 hours, or spend a few minutes just staring out into space, aren’t unheard of in my house either. I think we’re all having those, but I try and snap myself out of with a simple question, what CAN I do?

For all the things I can’t do, it’s the things that I can do that seem to snap me back.

  1. How do I get through today? 
    • What kind of routine do I need to stay safe, sane, as healthy as possible, and get to the next day?
  2. What can I do to help others?
    • Once I have what I need, what can I do to help other people and make sure they can likewise get through today?
      • Do they need to talk?
      • Can I reach out and let them know I care?
      • Can I share something with them that might help, or even make them laugh for a moment?
      • If they’re not working, can I help connect them to work, or resources to help? Can I help grow their professional network?
      • If they’re a service I’ve used in the past, can I support their business somehow? Order takeout, buy gift cards, etc.
      • Can I help someone else with technology or setting up a blog or social media account to likewise stay in touch and reach out to their friends?
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That list is hardly all-inclusive, and you probably bring other skills to the table that can be helpful to other people. (Hello people who can sew masks!) The important thing to know is there is something you can do today, to both get yourself through the day, and assist someone else in doing the same.

None of us has the power to fix everything right now, or to even predict what is coming. That uncertainty is hard. But we all have things we can do, so let’s focus on doing the small things we can do today, and maybe even some bigger things we can do going forward instead of being overwhelmed by what we can’t do, and don’t know.

Here’s hoping you are getting through today, and please feel free to celebrate that fact alone, as well as any small thing you can do during this time. We all need something to celebrate!

 

3 Responses

  1. Randy Matlack

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