Quarter Circle A Ranch, Big Horn, Wyoming
Back in March during the first blush of the COVID-19 lockdown, I thought I’d jumpstart my blogging . There was a strange, giddy air online – people baking, creating, singing. Eventually the enthusiasm wore off as reality set in. Life was changing dramatically. Yes, skies cleared up, we realized that people can effectively work from home and for a minute we were on the same page, together, cooperating.
But, Americans are an inpatient lot. The economy started to tank. People went back out, masked and unmasked, gun violence erupted, #BlackLivesMatter protests broke out. I can’t even remember all of the details because it’s been too much on a daily basis. Blogging went on the back burner, again.
I witness, with an ever sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach, our democracy failing. Checks and balances are non-existent. Our foreign friends watch with pity and dismay. We no longer lead the world, not that we ever did, not really. We led with power over, war machines, money, political manipulations and interventions. Our country was built on colonial transgressions, rape, murder, theft and annihilation. Perhaps someday I’ll write about my ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower and the ones who owned slaves.
For now, I’d rather concentrate on a different topic – how to stay sane during a pandemic when the world is on fire, literally and figuratively.
I know depression and anxiety are on the rise. Even the usually upbeat Michelle Obama admitted to feeling “low-grade depression” from the pandemic, race relations in the US and the political strife surrounding it all. (CNN, 8/8/20) A Census Bureau survey found that one in three Americans are reporting symptoms of depression or anxiety, more than three times the rate from a similar survey conducted in the first half of 2019.
Depression and anxiety are difficult to manage for me to manage, too. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle with depression. I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol for years. Now I’m incredibly grateful to have 25 years clean and sober. Counseling unearthed my anxiety so now I’m learning to manage that, too. I’m not sure I need medication. Maybe. I’d prefer not to go that route again but it did help in the past.
What to do?
Get outside, if possible. Fortunately, here in Big Wonderful Wyoming, there’s a lot of open space and not very many people.
Call a friend, talk honestly about how you’re feeling.
Get professional help, if you can afford it.
Watch light-hearted movies or comedies. I’ve watched some real “Hallmark” doozies because I can’t tolerate movies with too much drama or violence.
And, one of my favorites, start or maintain a journal or three. Write it all out.
I’m beginning again because it matters now that we help each other.