(You can find a number of helpful coronavirus resources and all related Tiny Buddha articles here.)
“When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.” ~Fred Rogers
If you are a human on earth at the moment, you’re likely feeling the uncertainty and anxiety of living in the time of a pandemic. It’s not something we have seen before in our lifetime, so every step is a new one, and the end is unknown and nowhere in sight.
Everyone is coping in their own way. Some are fearful and anxious right now. Others insist on staying on the positive side. Still others are in denial and perhaps will feel the emotional effects later or when it hits their area. Or, more commonly it seems, we have some combination of all three at various times throughout the same day.
It’s all normal. . .
Until it’s not
I was minding my own business Monday night
when the news slapped me across the face
and alerted me about Dr. Lorna Breen, a front line New York City ER Doctor who had to not only deal with the COVID-19
but herself was infected and had recently recovered from it
and had just started back to work
before being sent back home to Virginia
to recover further with her family. . .
Dr. Breen, 49, did not have a history of mental illness, her father said. But he said that when he last spoke with her, she seemed detached, and he could tell something was wrong. She had described to him an onslaught of patients who were dying before they could even be taken out of ambulances.
“She was truly in the trenches of the front line,” he said.
He added: “Make sure she’s praised as a hero, because she was. She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died.”
I haven’t missed a day of work since we have been sheltered in place
but I haven’t knowingly dealt with any patient that has tested positive for COVID-19; I have witnessed thousands of deaths, some terribly filled with suffering but none with this disease who have had to not only endure dying but often without any one, let alone a cherished love one, by there sides.
I HAVE NO IDEA
and no personal willingness to find out. . .
I have come to realize there is no right or wrong way to feel emotionally. Everyone is doing the best they can based on their own coping style and I have the awesome blessing of merely
c o m p a n i o n i n g
instead of trying to
As a life-long recovering people-pleaser,
I used to try to talk people out of their feelings,
make them feel better
by taking over responsibility for their emotions. . .
I had to fix them to make myself feel better. . .
H E Y
People have a right to be angry.
Everyone has the right to feel anxious.
It is not my job to judge how anyone reacts to life. . .
It’s theirs. . .
It is my job to be a compassionate witness to their suffering and to my own suffering. . .
I go back to School to learn this lesson
It’s a hard subject to learn
(if it’s even a possible goal)
Life as an empath
One who feels intensely,
can sometimes feel you are being tossed around
in a tiny boat in an open ocean,
with no solid ground. . .
When some are looking for
others are just looking for a piece of solid sod
to plant their feet. . .
It’s a terrible feeling.
So we struggle,
we gasp for air,
and occasionally come up to breathe
for long enough to see
the sun setting on the horizon
and better still–
TO SEE IT RISE AGAIN
in the Morning
how other people seem to live easier,
to ride the waves smoother
and leave storms behind
as they head for calmer waters. . .
Until we find out that we see and feel things differently,
and have to learn the skills to row efficiently,
with the wind,
and in the preferred direction
without a broken compass. . .
It’s one thing to be a little boat
getting tossed about
and it’s another to do it without
a life jacket. . .
During this time
when the world can feel overwhelming
just take the time
to do a little check up
from the neck up
Notice where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing.
Breathe into the tight areas and imagine
breathing out your compassion
into the world.
If someone you are with is anxious, can you stay present and breathe?
If not, take a break and find compassion for yourself.
Notice what you are consuming—news, stressful or needy people, violence in movies or TV;
decrease and take lots of nature breaks. . .
It’s real easy to see
and to know
that we are all in this together
but it means nothing
unless we act like it
BEGINNING WITH OURSELVES
N O W