A little over six months ago, I wrote about not being OK. This was in the wake of the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol and record-high numbers of Covid cases and deaths in my state, and the country. I was not in a good place, struggling just to get through each day, exhausted and angry.
Here we are now at the end of July 2021, and we have witnesses to that Jan. 6 violence sharing their stories, only to be met with denials and threats of more violence. Supposed “leaders” claiming that what they experienced, and what we all watched, wasn’t really what happened, and their followers threatening even more in the future.
We have Olympic Games going on in the middle of the largest outbreak of Covid cases in Japan, in empty stadiums and arenas, mainly just so organizers can meet television obligations. An Olympics that has been a massive mental health challenge to everyone involved, only to have some in the media and elsewhere make claims of the “weakness” of athletes who want to take care of their own mental health first.
Oh, and the COVID19 situation? This is what it looks like in my state:
So, I’m not feeling hopeful. I’m trying my best to find hope, find comfort in the number of people who are vaccinated or are doing what they need to do to keep themselves, and others, safe. Or the people voicing support for athletes’ mental health, fighting the stigma around the issue, and those who are simply out there doing what they can to help each other. I continue to try and find my own ways of doing that, sharing what I can, being there for our friends and loved ones, etc. But it’s not easy. There is so much negativity, and there are so many who sew that and benefit from it. There are so many willing to simply lie in order to gain a following, or power, and so many willing to be lied to.
I’m grieving, and I’m exhausted. I’m grieving the vast numbers of people we’ve lost to this disease, but also the vast number of people we’ve all lost because we can no longer talk to each other, the ones so far down their ideological rabbit holes, on all sides, that they are lost to us. I feel so much anxiety and stress every time I see someone talking about getting “back to normal” while also looking at that chart above. How do you act like this is all over when we are also seeing higher rates of infection than we ever have, and millions of people who simply cannot be trusted to do the right thing for people around them?
How do we maintain any sense of hope in this situation? Maybe this advice I read recently is the best we can do:
Now, more than ever, good and tired people need to cultivate community, to stay connected to our tribes of affinity, and to carry one another through the fatigue when it comes.
We fill in the gaps among us, and we let those of us who feel strong enough today to engage the fight for those who need to catch their breathe and renew their strength.
We surround ourselves with people who value us not only for the work we do and the causes we support, but for the inherently vulnerable beings with finite resources that we are; those who demand that we rest and encourage us to play and give us space to pause—so that we are not consumed by the brutality of the day.
We need each other now, as always. We need our community. We need our connections. We need to know that we are not alone in this. So, let me, in the midst of my own exhaustion, do this one thing. If you’re feeling hopeless, angry, anxious, depressed, etc. because of the state of the world, or the state of your job, the losses you’ve suffered, the issues you are fighting for, the struggle to hang on to hope, you are not alone. I am with you. I see you. I share your exhaustion, frustration, anger, and your need for rest. Whether we’ve talked about this personally, or if you’re simply holding this all in and trying to keep it together, I see you. I’m with you. We are together in this, and we should share the little bits of hope with each other. They may be hard to see, but the more of us who are dedicated to looking for them, and sharing them, the more of it we’ll draw strength from.
Remember, acts of kindness and support, can ripple out much further than we think they do.