In trying times like these I tend to project an unbothered countenance or relieve stress through humor. But as this pandemic changes our lives I feel compelled to share an aspect going on not only with me but others across the world and especially in cities enacting self quarantine and regular daily life activity restrictions. The hustle and bustle of life especially in big cities like the Big Apple can drown out many things. The constant movement and sound can disguise many people holding on by a thread. The people battling chronic conditions, depression and grief.
I am such a person, as someone who has been dealing with depression for years and dealing with grief especially today on the 6 year anniversary of my mother's unexpected death. The streets and businesses of New York are not just a playground, they are refuge for those of us battling things larger than ourselves who need the escape in order to get through the toughest of times. You may not know this but isolation can be a hell of a thing for a person dealing with grief or depression as it is much more than an inability to sit still and be with oneself.
This is just some food for thought for those who think sitting at home should be easy in the city that never sleeps. That everyone should be happy to stay home and watch TV or play video games. As the mayor ponders enacting a ban on all movement except for essentials like food and medicine - with good reason, the reality is some New Yorkers do not have internet service, cable, TVs or even homes. And for some of those in New York City who do have those things, they do not have peace. A walk through the streets is not always an act of rebellion or selfishness, but an act of self care, an act of release, an act of mental, emotional and spiritual healing. While I agree the call for anyone who is feeling sick with flu-like symptoms to stay home is absolutely necessary, I also ask for all of us to have some compassion for others who are sitting at home with grief, with mental illness, and with inner demons who will not give them peace in moments of stillness.
Forced isolation can be a different kind of hell for people who are vulnerable in ways that are easy to forget if you are not currently dealing with them. There may be people who due to activities and services being cancelled are fighting battles that you cannot see, including recovering addicts who may not be able to go to the meetings that keep them clean, and women and children who deal with abuse and terrors at home that many of us are lucky to not have known. Please be mindful of all of the different ways people are being affected by the Coronavirus and the changes we have been called to make as a society. Please be empathetic, compassionate and vigilant during this time to people who may need your concern and your interaction but most of all your understanding.
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