A recent tweet from CNN: The coronavirus pandemic’s global death toll has reached 2 million. That’s as if 10 of the world’s largest commercial jets fell out of the sky every day for an entire year.
I knew the number of two million but the above comparison affected me. This is my attempt to explore why.
A part of me feels numb, I have noticed. There are so many things happening in my life, and in the world, that are incredibly challenging and difficult and I realize there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, that I can actively do to change this. I can’t make covid-19 and all its effects go away. Death, illness, restrictions, lockdown, isolation, anxiety, fear. Everything. We’re all living in it and we all have to find a way to cope with it. Not for a month or half a year but we’re closing in on a year and many countries are still facing incredible challenges.
It’s as if now that my Long Covid symptoms have reduced to a more manageable level, I suddenly take in other things. Things that other people who haven’t been directly affected might have sat with for much longer, I don’t know. What has the world become? I observe it and a part of me feels overwhelmed by it all. The aspect of time, I feel, is at the center of it. This truly is a marathon, and not a sprint. So the question becomes, once again: how can I stay grounded in the midst of it all when it just continues and continues?
Staying grounded for me these days is a strange mix of meditation, Netflix and books. Or in other words: a combination of being present and escaping. I wish I could write that I spend my days in a continued form of meditative bliss. Completely in ‘the now’. Able to deal with whatever comes on my path without even feeling the urge to escape. Like a Buddha.
That would be a fat lie.
I need Netflix and books to get me through this pandemic. I need to escape, to just enter another world sometimes. A part of me (my mind) judges myself quite harshly for this. It tells me to do something more constructive with my time. Who was it a long time ago who invented something amazing during the plague? Thoughts like that.
I realize that exactly this thinking adds pressure on myself. And if there’s anything I don’t need, it’s added pressure in my life. Thankfully I am in full control over this mechanism that makes me feel all constricted inside: at any time I can take a step back and observe what’s really going on inside me. And there I find the voice of my mind (I call him Lennart) that judges me for escaping excessively in TV and books right now. And I can see it for what it is: just a voice. Nothing to do with the truth!
It seems to me like a very human and natural reaction when living through a global pandemic: escape this reality for a while. I’m just glad that alcohol isn’t a part of my escaping anymore. My body couldn’t handle that at all, I feel.
The fact that there is a vaccine is such a gamechanger! It gives me hope. Also here the aspect of time plays a huge part. It will take time to vaccinate everyone and that’s also something we just have to accept. I have understood from other long haulers that taking the vaccine can cause initial symptoms to emerge again, but fortunately they seem to subside for most people. So I’m already now mentally preparing myself for potentially getting symptoms again and potentially experiencing rough days when it’s my time to take the vaccine. For the benefit of my personal health of course but also for other people. It feels to me like a solidarity-thing to do, taking the vaccine. For my own health I somehow believe my body has built up immunity that will last a long time, but what do I know. I’ve read reports saying immunity only lasts 8 months but also reports that claim you’re immune for years after infection. No one knows for sure, as with so many other aspects of this virus that remain a mystery (such as why some people, like me, are really sick for months and months). I look forward to the day that scientists have discovered the reason for Long Covid with 100% certainty. It will be an interesting read.
For now, ten of the world’s largest commercial jets keep falling out of the sky every day and I sit here and witness it all. I feel I’ve built so much inner resilience since March 2020 but because of time I feel a part of me has checked out for a while. As I wrote before: it is what it is. That feels true also regarding this: a part of me lives inside the world of Netflix and books and is not so available for anything else at the moment. And that’s my truth today.
Thank you for reading ♥
Photo: Leio McLaren – unsplash.com
This writing is part of what I call my Corona Chronicles. On this page you can find an overview of my stories since March 2020.