09 Jul Hell, On Earth
The struggle is very real, as we all experience our own version of Hell, on Earth, during the current Pandemic and its knock-on effects.
Every single one of us is struggling with something right now on top of the usual life challenges, mental/emotional turmoil, we have the very real Covid-19, pandemic and its knock-on effects to deal with creating a Hell, on Earth. The pain of being alone and isolated is just one of the many unpleasant experiences we might be having. People have all sorts of different issues going on right now. None of us are immune to some sort of anguish over the situation we find ourselves in. Some are finding it hard to be alone so much, while others are struggling to constantly be around the people they live with, be it their spouse, their child or children, parents or share house members. I am not writing this article to offer some magic, mystical cure, I really wish I had one, rather it is to share that all of us are experiencing difficulties now and no one is truly immune to the anguish. It is my hope that by reading this post, you gain some comfort in knowing you are not alone.
Sick of hearing about Covid-19?
Most of us are sick of hearing about Covid-19, but we must keep tuned-in to keep aware if there is anything we need to know, act on, or do, to protect ourselves and others. Every news medium, including our social networks and friends are all having something to say relating to Covid-19, including me, right now in this post. Because the Pandemic and its knock-on effects, are top of mind for everyone in some way or form today, we all have something we want to say, share, or offer. We must acknowledge that this event is going on, it is frightening, shocking, and impacting us all, around the world.
Hell, on Earth, Loneliness is widespread
We are social creatures and no matter how much or how little socialising we like, we need to have some, and the choice to socialise or not, lest we go a bit crazy. Remember the film, the Shining? Jack Nicholson goes completely nuts do to the big empty space, no choice but to stay in and try to write a book. No interactions with anyone outside of the big hotel he and his wife and child were looking after. Not another interaction with any other living person or situation for a long winter. His mind went wandering and found some creative escapes with disastrous results. Many of us are experiencing something like Jack Nicholson did in the Shining, in some form, with too much time on our hands and too many worries, too much sadness, can drive us all a bit crazy. We are working from home, no one to talk to other than the odd distraction, no choice of hanging out at a café, restaurant, pub, or other venue and strike up a chat with a stranger. If we are still working outside the home, we must keep our distance. Social Distancing is just not mentally healthy for us, but essential right now to stay physically well and stop the spread of Covid-19. As humans, we have a need to touch, embrace, hold, smile, acknowledge another person, whatever form of interaction we can, just to stay sane, but now we must not.
Hell, on Earth, Fear is real
We are all lost, confused and uncertain about what the future holds both the near and far future. Plans have had to be changed, weddings, trips, holidays all have had to be changed, even funerals for lost loved ones. This is one of the saddest times for many as we have become much more global, people from all over the world live in other countries to their families. That means, many people cannot simply return to their families regardless of the circumstances. A colleague of mine recently lost her mother to Covid-19 in another country. She not only has to grieve the loss of her mum, also the knowledge that, her mum died alone, due to no one being able to visit with her. Even if we want and can afford to, we cannot go wherever we want, whenever we want, now. Here in Sydney, we have a bit more freedom now, but with the news of what is happening in Victoria, many of us are afraid to venture out again, in case we also experience a second wave.
Hell, on Earth, Stress is high
Many have lost their jobs, their incomes, their livelihood’s, but still must pay the rent, the mortgage, buy food, pay for utilities and whatever else is needed to live. There is some great assistance for many from our Government here in Australia, but others have not been so fortunate. In other countries too there is no assistance during this time of stress and challenge. We have international visitors in Australia who have not been able to return home and many are stranded here with no jobs, no income, no help. It is very distressing.
Hell, on Earth, Anger and frustration are elevated
Some people are experiencing anger, frustration, and generally highly negative emotions on many levels and circumstances. Looking for someone to blame for this situation is normal but not very helpful. No one purely benefits from this Pandemic situation. In some way or form it is affecting everyone negatively. There are conspiracy theorists all over the place looking for some master mind who benefits, but even if there was, the situation will likely negatively impact them as well, in some way. Others are just downright cranky and rude to the shop attendants and anyone else they can snap at. It is another symptom of the fear and anxiety we are experiencing. Husbands and wives are snapping at each other, finding flaws they did not notice before. Parents are struggling to deal with their children and children are finding more flaws and irritations with their parents. All of which is in some part attributable to being afraid, frustrated, anxious, and uncertain.
Hell, on Earth, Sadness and other uncomfortable emotions abound
For those of us who have strong empathy for others suffering, the sadness is overwhelming when we are aware of their suffering. It can often bring up past pain of our own. My colleague’s loss of her mum brought up some very strong sadness in me, for the loss of my dad, more than 30 years ago and yet still so easily brought to the surface again. That left me in a sad space and low morale all day and into the evening. This sort of uncomfortable emotion would likely be happening for many people. None of us are immune to uncomfortable feelings in times of great duress, which we are all experiencing now.
Resilience, Mental Toughness, Mindfulness and other tools and tonics to cope with, Hell, on Earth
We can try some techniques to help us cope, but that is what they are, tools to help us cope, not a cure or a remedy. This situation is beyond a simple technique to distract our thoughts and feelings to become happier. We are all going through different experiences and challenges. Many of us cannot relate to each other’s experiences now. Each of us are having our own unique to our own situations, health, wellness, finance, and experiences, so suggesting we can relate to each other is just not realistic. We can only allow each other to express and experience our feelings and emotions without judgement and platitudes. There is no normal right now, and here in Australia it seems normal, is a long-distant memory. We have endured too much in the last few years, from the disturbing news of slaughtering racehorses, drought, to horrendous bush fires, floods and now Covid-19. Yes, we really are experiencing hell, on earth, so let’s be gentle on ourselves, and each other, while we each get through this.