Coping the Best We Can
People are losing it. However, I am doing better. Somehow, I always manage to do the opposite of what others are doing. When there are jobs galore, I can’t buy one. When everything is shut down, I suddenly have a possible opportunity and a job I am simply waiting for everyone to go back to. If you are up, I am down, and vice versa. I don’t know how it works.
Here is my surprise upside. I have been using this time to dig deep and try to resolve psychological issues. A few days ago, I did a shame healing meditation on You Tube. I knew I had truly brought stuff up because I was crying. By the end, I felt so much lighter. I had developed a real compassion for the little kid that was me. I finished the meditation and got on my computer. I saw an email from the career services lady from my alma mater, DU. I had not heard from her in over a year and a half. When some local employer had an opportunity, they contacted her and she immediately thought of me. I wondered how much, if anything, had changed with the meditation. I felt the chest-caving feeling of shame and overwhelm, as usual, but perhaps something had changed. So I called my psychoanalyst. I called her in the evening. We talked it through and I felt like I had some high-class problems. The next day, I updated my resume and applied. I’m not saying I will get it, but it was huge progress and it happened instantly after doing the meditation. I felt like an energy shift had occurred.
But others are going crazy. The other day, some of my less sane fellow Michiganders protested the common-sense social-distancing measures imposed by Governor Whitmer. Of course, they were Trump supporters and proud of their lack of compliance with scientific reality. They crowded onto the lawn of the capitol. It was funny to watch. Some of these people are going to get sick and die and their contracting of the coronavirus will be traced to this precise protest. True Darwin Award winners. I am not worried about those people. They are doing themselves in.
The people I am concerned about are all the people going crazy in their homes with few coping skills. I am thinking about people getting drunk or the ongoing opioid epidemic that didn’t go anywhere. I saw a blurb on CNN saying that alcohol makes people more susceptible to the virus and makes it harder to fight once infected. I believe it. Then there are my upstairs neighbors not getting along. I would rather hear their bed squeaking than hear them screaming at each other. Think domestic violence. Addiction. Not getting your psychoactive meds refilled. What could possibly go wrong? Let me count the ways….
One of the things I am learning is that anything you don’t do consciously and deliberately, you do subconsciously and compulsively. I don’t recall the website I saw it on, but I found this quote, “Shame is linked to the need for protecting the vulnerable child.” When I was able to have empathy for the kid I once was, something changed. I didn’t need the shame so much. What the hell needs are those protesters fulfilling? What makes a person defy common sense, put themselves (and their families and the rest of us, for that matter) at risk and cram themselves on the capitol lawn when it is breezy and in the upper thirties? I don’t get it.
One good thing I thought of: my oldest brother’s son is probably home from MSU and perhaps my brother won’t drink himself to death, after all. That offers me some hope. And we could all use some of that right now.