By Marie Choppin
As I write this post, over 500,000 people in the United States have died from Covid-19. This means that over 500,000 families and loved ones are grieving. It is hard to imagine the devastating loss this is to so many people and our country as a whole. As well, we are almost one year from the initial shutdown last March 2020. How did we do it? If you are reading this, you are a survivor. You are resilient, vigilant, and persevered, despite whatever losses, hardships, and mental health and physical health impacts. You are HERE.
The anniversary comes when some people have gotten their vaccine, some have had their first dose, and many are still waiting. This has provided some hope and a way to see the future with some brightness. And yet, we still have months to go, if not another year, before we will feel safe again. We must continue to be strong and vigilant.
As mental health providers, we have seen the devastating effects this past year has had on everyone – young children, elementary-age children, teens, young adults, adults, families, and couples. Last March, when this began, it was hard to imagine that we would be doing this for more than a few weeks. Then, as the weeks, months, and seasons went by, we are upon a year of zooming, masking, distancing, and being without loved ones. And yet, we are here and have survived!
My experience over the many years as a therapist, mother, wife, daughter, friend, and community member is that humans are amazingly resourceful, resilient, adaptable, and flexible when it comes to crises and life, in general. I am always in awe of how we do this!
Along with all of this devastation and hardship, there have also been amazing things that have happened because we were in this situation – the number of changes regarding the Black Lives Matter movement; the awakening of a commitment to racial and social justice, and changes in the police practices are some of them. These structural changes to society will take many, many years. We’re on the journey now.
People have also found an appreciation for slowing down, being with family, working from home, and finding new ways to live. Many people notice that they don’t miss their commute to work, like working from home, and are more relaxed in a different way. Whatever the outcomes, we are aware of changes that we may want to make in our family lives, how we do business, and prioritizing what matters. We will emerge stronger than ever.
Wherever you are on your journey as we come upon a year, please know you are not alone. The whole world is on this journey, and there is hope for a better world for all people.