Saturday, March 14, 2020

You matter

Preston and Patsy

My daughter Ariana gave me permission to share a post of hers from Facebook here:

Everywhere I turn there is another reminder that the world is scary and I am medically vulnerable. As the crisis continues to escalate, I am trying to find new ways to soothe and distract myself. I’m sharing this pep talk to myself because I know I’m not the only one:

You may wake up with fear every single day until this blows over. That makes sense. That’s okay. Your heart is big enough to hold this fear, and it still has room for other emotions too.

There is a point where researching is productive, and there is a point where it becomes obsessive, a way to feel a false sense of control. Reading 100 articles with the same 5 tips or knowing precisely how many cases there are in your state will not fix your immune system. Focus on what you can control. Make a good, detailed plan and then watch a gardening show or read a detective novel.

Now may be the right time to have a movie marathon or reread a favorite book from childhood. A lucky rock, a beloved stuffed animal. Is there any small way to feel a little braver, a little more whole?

Skype your therapist, cuddle your pets, text your friends. Ask them how they are holding up, and when they ask you, be honest. It can be a huge relief to vent and commiserate. That said, if it feels like 100% of your conversations are being pulled into the black hole of the coronavirus and your brain can’t produce a single unique thought, google “questions to ask your friends” or “36 questions to fall in love.” It may feel silly to talk about which celebrity you’d want as a dinner guest or whether you’d rather have a baby fox or a baby koala as a pet, but it may also be exactly what you need.

Insight Timer is a great app with thousands of free guided meditations. Grounding yourself in the present moment is the antidote to mourning things that have not yet come to pass (and may never come to pass). Maybe gardening or watching the Bachelor or crafting or cuddling your dog is your version of meditation. Whatever way you meditate, meditate.

Reflect on everything you have already survived. You are here. You matter. Your heart is big enough to hold this-- even this.

A caveat: I know there are young, healthy people who feel invincible and need to take the coronavirus much more seriously… this post is not for you! Stop reading this post and go wash your hands. This is for my friends with anxiety, my friends who take immunosuppressants, my friends with asthma and mast cell disease and other serious chronic health issues, my friends who have loved ones at risk-- for anyone who feels doomed and overwhelmed. You are not alone.


I think I've posted this song before, but it seems like a good time to bring it back. A song from Waitress, sung by Natalie Weiss and Brad Greer:


Margaret Simon said...

Thanks Tabatha for the repost. I have been told by my 30-something children to assume I have it and be socially responsible to not spread it to others. This takes me to another place, caring for others, and works well for me. There will be another church service, another play, another party. For now, my introverted self is happy to stay home.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Thank you for these words, Ariana—they make a whole lot of sense. You also have a great big heart like your mother.

Pop said...

Good advice from Ariana...especially the thoughts about distracting yourself from the outside (scary) world. I've found that doing Zentangles has helped a lot.