If you feel like the world is burning and there are not enough water engines to put it out, you aren't the only one. 2020 has been, to put it lightly, a divisive mess. Remember the Australian forest fires? Kobe Bryant's unexpected death? Yup, those took place just this year, even though they feel like a decade ago. As we're moving into our fourth month of coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us are exhausted and frankly, disheartened.
It's true what the experts say — a global pandemic is traumatizing. We've been staring at a problem we didn't know existed a year ago for months, getting news updates about spikes, reopenings, and any other "are you kidding me?" headlines we'd rather not read. No one is thrilled, mask or no mask. People are scared on both sides of the conversation. Many are horrified of economic repercussions if the country stays closed, while others are scared of what could happen if things begin opening too early, causing an increase in infections. There seems to be uncertainty all around us, from different experiences in the hospital, self-isolation, and a general feeling of helplessness. This feeling of being overwhelmed and confused is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of humanity understanding the weight of the situation. If anything, I think we can all agree that a good long therapy session is needed, ASAP.
Pandemic aside, we are also in the middle of a much-needed civil rights movement. While some may think this means having one conversation with a problematic relative and calling it a day, change is a long-game endeavor. Many of us have recognized what can easily be defined as compassion fatigue firsthand, understanding how much there is to do, and coming to the realization that we can't single-handedly solve the world's problems overnight. While being a "giver" is a great character trait that does make a difference, burnout doesn't help anyone. We have to take care of ourselves in order to make a change on a global scale. Maybe this means stepping away from the giant dumpster fire that is social media and doing something a little less screen-focused, like participating in a local protest. Maybe this means exercising and releasing good endorphins to boost morale. Or maybe that means simply allowing yourself to feel all those emotions so they can get out in the open, ready to move on and get work done.
June is, unironically, PTSD Awareness Month. It's a month where PTSD survivors all over the world educate, share, and come together in the fact that they are stronger than the trauma they've experienced. Trauma is a very real burden that our minds and bodies bear, oftentimes without support or acknowledgment from those around us. If anything now is the time to recognize that trauma, within ourselves and those around us, for the sake of community, encouragement, and an open conversation that heals — both physically and mentally.