17 Mar Fear Gone Viral
Yesterday was spent navigating multiple conversations around ‘The Virus’ that seems to be overtaking the world. By the end of the day, I admit I was a bit irritated. My patience had worn thin and my level of sarcasm was peaking at an all time high. I’m feeling so many different emotions – irritation, yes. Disbelief too. Surprise. Anger. Empathy. Concern. Sadness. Worry. Fatigue. I’m feeling a little rebellious too. I‘m feeling trapped. I’m feeling weighted down by the emotions of others. People I don’t even know are affecting my wellbeing – the sheer volume of news, memes, and general opinions being projected out into the world is having a noticeably negative impact.
This Virus appears to be affecting people’s minds far more than their lungs.
Listen, I’m an emotional being with highs and lows that would excite any extreme mountain climber. I can run the gamut of emotions in one day with little to no stimulation. I’m a feeler; it’s how I’m wired. I’m dramatic and explosive and subdued and powerful and vulnerable… all in the same squishy human shell. All of that is true, and yet I rarely go off the deep end letting those emotions rule me. I do not struggle with anxiety, I don’t worry or fret, and I’m absolutely hardwired for joy in all circumstances.
It’s my superpower.
But yesterday, I felt my limits being stretched. My empathy is triggered. Concern is increasing for folks who do not have the same superpower. The onslaught of fear-invoking news reports and social media commentary is astounding, even for the highly immune. I had four work meetings yesterday focused on proactively managing fear and staying focused on controllables. WORK MEETINGS. Not to mention the countless personal conversations and text threads that took place. By the end of the day, I was frazzled and making inappropriate jokes with my sister over tostadas and hibiscus tea. We just can’t anymore. Just cannnn’t with all of this.
By the way, there is plenty of toilet paper in Mexico. Truck loads untouched on the shelves. And happy, healthy people enjoying the sunshine and beach in social proximity. I’m so happy to be here where the heat and humidity seem to warm people’s souls and ward off any hint of viral infection… Fear is not here yet. Maybe that wall was a great idea after all as fear seems unable to make the leap. (Bad joke, I know)
Those conversations resumed today. Fear, worry, anxiety, stress- the virus is spreading and affecting people’s behavior. The mandates for social distancing seem to feed the frenzy and spread the virus even more. When hard times come, community is what gets us through. When stress is in abundance and hope seems scarce, community and proximity carry us forward. When we face moments that feel too big to handle, connection is the solution. So this plan of action fundamentally based on isolation only seems to fuel the hunger for news and the news exacerbates the fear by providing a 24 hour stream of inflammatory commentary and fear-based doomsday speculation.
It feels like Opposite Day. What the actual hell are we doing?
Isolating the most vulnerable promotes the rabid replication of this virus. Disconnection from community perpetuates the spread of this virus. Exclusion and distancing and social disruption empowers propaganda and misinformation. (Oh, how I hope you know by now that I am not talking about the Coronavirus or COVID 19.)
Today, I sent this text to my dear friend who is worried about losing her job. I want to share it via the blog in case it helps someone else. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what the CDC knows. I only know what I’ve lived through and what has helped me in moments that feel too big. Hope this lands well with you.
“Time for faith not fear.
Time for trust not panic.
Time for surrender not control.
Time for logic not emotions.
God is God even when things seem out of control and hopeless. God is God even when solutions seem out of reach. His ways aren’t our ways; His thoughts aren’t our thoughts.
I know fear too. I know what it feels like to lose a job, lose a home, lose all my investments, lose everything I had built. It’s horrible and scary… but it doesn’t kill ya. It is terrible but it is not the end.
You will be okay. Your kids will be okay. God equipped you with more HUSTLE than anyone I have ever met. You CAN navigate this moment. You WILL be ok. Solutions will present themselves and you will be provided for. Period. You are loved and highly favored. You are not on your own in this.
Read this over and over and over again. CHOOSE to believe it.
Surrender your fears. Confess the anxiety. Call it out and say, “Not today.” It will ease up then it will come back. Each time it does, tell it no. Don’t give it power. Look fear in the eye and say, “Nope.”
Remind yourself of God’s promises. Remind yourself of every single moment you have faced and overcome in your life. This is no different.
You’ve got this.”
I don’t know where your emotions are taking you today or how the ‘virus’ is affecting you. If you’re feeling some of the feelings I shared, you’re not alone. We need to take our health seriously – our physical health as well as our mental and emotional health. If you feel like things are out of whack, reach out and connect with someone. If your social circles seem to be infected by the very thing you’re trying to avoid, get outside of that circle and find a fresh perspective. A new voice. Align yourself with people who are filled with HOPE. People who are wired for JOY. People who have retained the ability to imagine life beyond this immediate moment. Soak them up.
Stay in close proximity to the life givers and tank fillers.
And if you cannot find anyone, connect with me. Call me. Text me. Email me. I’m fighting this virus right along side you.
Thanks for reading. If you can relate, please comment. Your voice is welcome here. Be a part of the conversation.
Holly is Regional Sales Director for a global pharmaceutical company and Founder of The aMasongrace Project, a suicide prevention organization. She is an advocate, speaker, and author. Her widely-read blog, “It’s Just Me” chronicled her journey of surviving suicide loss. Holly’s latest endeavor, “Totally Enough,” is focused on empowering women of all ages to recognize their unique value, to walk in abundance, and to rest in the knowledge that they are enough. As is.