Putting one foot in front of the other on a daily basis is challenging to anyone who suffers with mental illness. It’s an even bigger struggle if there’s no support system in place that you can rely on. I became aware of this through my personal issues and my observations of the world around me. We are living in a time of fear… of the unknown… a time of chaos. Finding services to help those currently struggling with mental illness is difficult. There’s no quick trip to the emergency room if the brain hurts. It’s a process that takes a lot of time… time that some people think they don’t have. We need to do better in tackling this problem.
The importance of establishing a support system is vital to the well-being of everyone. The isolation that came from this pandemic hit dangerous levels for so many people… including myself. Sometimes being trapped alone with those you love the most isn’t a good thing. Every house carries its own secrets - things the outside world has no idea about. There were elderly left alone in nursing homes without the companionship of family visits. Children that live in violent homes were forced to accept it as their safe haven without access to their teachers and friends. Abused spouses had nowhere to escape from their tormentors. Domestic violence hit new levels courtesy of Covid… too many lives were lost.
Reading the daily headlines that swarmed social media through that initial phase of isolation was heartbreaking. The secrets of many families were brought to the surface after body bags were removed from their homes. It was tragic - it still is tragic. News channels covering the life and death of those affected with the virus also instilled a type of fear that’s hard for even the sanest person to handle. There were no longer resources available. There were no longer in-person office visits. While the country struggled with a way to accept everything going on, those with mental illness struggled with a way to survive. That fear is a dangerous level in someone who doesn’t know which way to turn.
Seclusion wasn’t hard for me to accept… with my PTSD, I actually preferred it that way. Watching others suffer through life while losing everything, that was the hardest part. There was nothing I could do to offer assistance except a phone call or message. Sometimes that’s enough… most times, it’s not. As a society (and part of human nature) we need that physical connection. We need those face to face encounters. Mental health matters… whether you deal with mental illness or not. There’s no other way to really say it. We lost a lot within ourselves the past two years, it’s time to get it back… time to make it right.
The fear mongering needs to stop and society needs to get back on the path of lifting each other up. We’re each only as strong as those who hold our hand along the way. There are a lot of lessons that living through a pandemic taught us. The danger of isolation is the most prevalent… it could become the difference between life and death. We are each responsible for our own fates… destinies… whatever you want to call them. They are ours and we own them. We need to fight for the lives we want, we need to do it together. The days of being alone should end.
My advice is simple… take the lessons that the past two years taught us and run with them. Take the fear that embodies you from this pandemic and learn from it. Step up and move forward… and take the rest of society with you. None of us need to be alone anymore. Go give your family, friends and neighbors a hug…