Have you been feeling a bit anxious lately? You'd think as the pandemic starts to wane (in our area) and restrictions begin to be lifted, that I'd be feeling great about the potential of reentering the world as we used to know it. Maybe I could walk into a building without a mask, or get on an airplane and attend my brother's surprise birthday party, or … But, how come I feel so nervous to do any of that?
Yes, I'm fully vaccinated, and I still wear a mask when I go anywhere inside. And still, only vaccinated or masked people are allowed into my home. Yes, I know the latest statistics about the slim possibility that I'll end up dying, in the hospital, or contracting COVID-19 at all. But I also don't know who's around me who has NOT been vaccinated or what possible variant is taking over today. I do know people who are still getting it, and even dying from it, as late as last week ... who were vaccinated! And even if I were safe enough not to be hospitalized, who wants to lose their taste, smell, or become a COVID long-hauler at all? Not me.
I also need to remember that I'm not the only one to be worried about. In my family, we have a young kiddo who can't be vaccinated yet, and I sure don't want to be the one who gives him the COVID crud.
But it turns out not just for me, but for others as well, that it's not only about getting COVID-19. We're still seeing violent crime rates rise and road rage incidents almost every week in our state. And what about those bizarre incidents of people biting and spitting on others in airplanes? One woman recently had to be duct-taped to her seat to prevent others from being hurt! No wonder the airlines have stopped serving alcohol.
So even if I wasn't afraid of getting COVID, who wants to reenter a society with that level of dysfunction? What's going on with the continued anxiety and downright anger with some people, still?
Although it's sad to admit, we all need to recognize that our mental health needs are potentially at the highest level we've seen in our generation. All of us would feel and do better if we participated in mental wellness counseling.
Thankfully, our state's efforts to get more mental health help to folks has increased significantly over the last decade. We still have some therapist shortages, but people need to reach out as well.
As for me, I greatly benefit from my periodic counseling sessions. I look at it as the same as going to my physician; preventive and responsive appointments as necessary.
So for now, call me fearful or ridiculous, but I'm still happy living with some precautions till we fully figure out this pandemic thing long-term. As for the fear and rage that are within each of us, but sometimes explode in harmful ways, please do us all a favor and see a therapist. Thank you. It's hard for all of us, no matter your beliefs and experience. The least we can do is practice good self-care and kindness with each other.
Former Colorado state senator, now with a master's in Social Justice and Ethics from Iliff School of Theology, Linda Newell is a writer, speaker, facilitator, and conflict/DEI consultant. Senlindanewell@gmail.com, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell or @TheLastBill on Facebook.
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