We’re all in this isolation situation together. Sounds kind of funny doesn’t it? Billions of people around the world are all stressed due to the Covid-19 corona virus pandemic yet it may be for slightly differing reasons. I feel like I get paralyzed some days and just plain overcome with inertia to be able to get anything done. I’ve heard other people express similar sentiments on zoom chat calls when they talk about how they are doing. Initially, I thought it was just me. Now I feel that we’re experiencing a new kind of stress that I’ll called COVID-19 PTSD. The answer is to stay positive, reduce this stress and promote a healthy immune system.
Just what is the undertone of this COVID-19 PTSD? Some of us are more concerned for our financial situations due to job loss or the state of the economy in general than for their health. As I’m in the high risk category, my health is my primary concern. I’m not working as I’m already in retirement; yet, I still have concerns for the economy because my income comes from investments which are currently in a volatile state making withdrawals from my account extremely expensive (taking the money and tax out at a 25% loss equals 40% in actual dollars!). Others may be concerned for their relatives going to work in high risk environments like first responders, medical professionals and those working in the delivery services as well as in stores still open.
The bottom line is that we’re all feeling Covid-19 stress, a new kind of PTSD from being isolated, shell shocked, having to live in a new reality not of our own making as well as dealing with everyday situations like going out into the “jungle” to get food or supplies. Where will it lead? No one really knows at this point. So what can we do about it? Well, some people are doing a lot of complaining about how the whole situation is being mismanaged so they think. Apparently, they would open the economy and allow people to move about. Others are saying that no, that would only contribute to more people getting sick and possibly dying. Well then, just keep the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions under wraps! I’m not proposing this; I’m merely stating what I’m hearing online and in the news. My personal opinion is of no consequence since I can’t affect the outcome of a virulent disease.
So what’s my point and why am I writing this article? I do believe that we must stay positive. What does that look like in this volatile environment? It looks like not discussing how wrong all the government and bureaucratic decisions are, constantly looking at how many people are sick, how many have died and listening to the news all day. Yes, be informed but don’t let it all overwhelm you. Allow a certain reasonable amount of time daily to keep up to date on best practices, what one is supposed to do at the moment and stay calm about it. Getting hysterical, rioting and going against best practices is not the answer. Leave it up to the experts – anyway, the experts can’t decide what’s best – only God knows what will happen. It’s a virus and it doesn’t follow any rules. If we stay in now it may just delay the inevitable until later. But maybe later we’ll be more prepared. I certainly don’t want to have the lives of millions of people in my hands, do you? So leave it up to them and stay in your own body (or frequency).
Understand that everything that happens, even when someone dies, while others live is all part of the divine plan. We do our best every day, keep our minds positive, think the best of people, situations we find ourselves in and don’t allow our minds to be dissuaded by negative people. Don’t get on phone calls and listen to people go on about how bad everything is. It isn’t good for you and certainly not for them. We need to stay positive. It’s proven that staying positive keeps the immune system up and this is the best thing we can do for ourselves right now (that and eating healthy, getting daily exercise and drinking fresh water of course). Know that you aren’t going crazy you’re dealing with Covid-19 PTSD. Stay positive!
My dear friend Teresa died yesterday from complications of a rare form of cancer. She knew she was dying and totally prepared for the event. I was fortunate in being able to see her before I left on my trip to South America in early March. I was one of the few of her friends that saw her in her last days before her doctor prohibited such visits due to her weakened condition. Our friendship was unusual in that we rarely saw each other but for some reason that I can’t explain, there was just this underlying like and appreciation for each other. Unlike myself, her life path had included a very healthy marriage with children and grandchildren that loved her very much.
During my visit with Teresa, she recounted a near-death experience she’d had several years ago, where, during a heart attack and treatment in the hospital she essentially died on the operating table. During this episode, she sensed her soul floating up to the ceiling of the operating room, hovering over her body where she could see the doctors and nurses working to revive her. She was aware of what they were saying as well. I could appreciate what she was telling me, although never experiencing an out of body experience, I have spoken to souls after they’ve passed on. So there was no issue in my believing her story. She also told me about seeing the most magnificent light as she travelled very fast through a tunnel of time and experienced what she believed was God. She was told that it was not her time and she needed to return to the Earthly plane.
When she returned to her body, the doctors had no rational explanation. Her heart seemed fine and she fully recovered. But Teresa knew in her heart, excuse the expression that she was merely being given time to prepare her family for her eventual passing. However, she was also angry with God for sending her back. She felt such love that she really wanted to stay in that other spiritual dimension. For the last two years she’s really been in a preparation mode planning her funeral her last days being happy with her family knowing full well that she would leave. Thus, when the diagnosis came of cancer it came quickly without much warning but she was ready.
Teresa and her husband had gone on trips that had many happy days and she was ready; so, in her words “Don’t Cry For Me because I’m going to be okay as I know what it looks like on the other side and my departed family are there and I am looking forward to being there too. I know my family will be okay here; they will miss me but they will be okay.” So when the call came last night from the rabbi’s wife that my dear friend had departed yesterday morning, part of me was glad that her suffering was over.
I will try not to cry for you. You were a good friend and I will miss you.
I already know that I’m not going to make friends on this blog article. The word “entitlements” is charged without even knowing the perspective or specific contextual meaning. Usually, we use the term Entitlements to mean benefits that one earns through working and paying into a system such as for social security retirement or Medicare insurance. After working for 40 years, and paying for 40 credits (quarters), one earns the right to have benefits paid out in the form of a social benefit payment known as social security. However, if one is disabled and by definition can’t work, one is entitled to claim benefits after as little as five years. That is, in our great country, we pay people social security disability after just a few years of working versus the full 40 years if they are able bodied.
So why am I bringing this up? Well, I have a friend that wants to retire and is complaining that he might have to work a couple more years rather than retire now in order to help his family – disabled sister and invalid Mom out for a bit. But let’s look a little deeper. The family has resources that they are not using or wish to keep for later. So rather than sell one of their two properties (a home in an affluent city neighborhood as well as a vacation home in the outer banks) to take care of the disparity in their finances, they want to just live off of the government. My friend is complaining that the amount of money that his sister gets from food stamps which was reduced from $300 per month to $260 is outrageous (as he puts it) and so unfair. This is in addition to the money she gets for social security disability. Now I certainly am sorry that she can’t work and that she is caring for her daughter and yes, it’s difficult to eat well on that money. But I can also tell you that I’ve gone through tough times in my life, when I was starting my life coaching business and was living pretty meagerly. Sometimes one has to do that. What I’m hearing from him is that his family doesn’t want to give up anything, and that the government should take up the slack. He’s furious with the President, since of course it’s all Trump’s fault for his current situation. If it were me, I’d sell one of the properties, accept that the vacation home is a luxury that isn’t affordable in the current climate and then live comfortably with the money one gains. No, unfortunately, he doesn’t agree (and I didn’t actually say that only thought it).
Why do people think the government should take care of everyone to such an extent that family should never have to help out? Who is the government but us individuals who pay taxes into a system? At what point are we paying for a lot of other people to live well because their families don’t want to help them? It all comes down to a bank account of ins and outs. I’ve saved all my life and in putting money away for a raining day I had to give up some meals out, some special activities that I didn’t attend, etc. I’ve watched this friend spend lots of money on special programs not giving any thought to whether he could really afford it or not. Where is it written that we have the RIGHT to fancy restaurant meals, Starbucks café coffees daily rather than as a special treat or other niceties? We all have to make choices and it really irks me to listen to this guy complain about the current administration and how his problems are all due to the Government and not in his own financial management. He also told me that he would have to figure out how to get his 88 year old Mom a car so his sister could drive her around. Perhaps Uber for the few trips would be more economical or a special ride program. Oh no, they’d never be able to drive up the long drive way. He has an answer for everything. Well, perhaps the big home they’re living in is no longer suitable for his Mom and sister. Again, they don’t want to make any changes. It’s easier to just blame everything on the government.
I’ve written about personal accountability before, but this is a bit different. We can’t expect the government to do EVERYTHING. I feel that his sister is getting a lot from the government. When I asked about the other services available to her, he just brushed me off. He knows I’m one of the millions of crazy people who actually voted for this President and who is very happy with this economy which is very much due to his economic policies. And that’s my side of the story.
Someone close to me is enduring a very difficult life lesson, the spiritual context of which he’s not yet aware. From where I’m sitting, I see that his wife and daughter don’t pay much attention to him when he tries to communicate with them. I’m not sure if this is in response to his neglectful behavior or whether it was they who first neglected him. These situations tend to have long, winding and complicated histories with only the tentacles visible to those around the individuals of concern. The result is a very unhappy person who does his best to work hard to provide for all the luxuries that his very materialistic family has come to expect. Yes, this is a definite example of entitlement to the nth degree. So what’s the lesson?
Once a year I go for a visit and I was told that he would not be available during my stay of six days. At first I was rather irritated since I’d provided my itinerary over six months in advance. Then I realized that there must be something more serious going on since he told me when we spoke that, “I’ll be ok and not to worry”. When someone makes such statements one immediately begins to wonder what they shouldn’t be worried about. Just what is the problem? How serious is it that it can’t be simply stated? I really dislike secrecy since I think it causes more harm than good.
Here’s a bit more background. Let’s call this person Bob, which is a name change for privacy sake. Bob is a very highly-educated professional, running a business with multiple employees and has provided a high standard of living for his family. His wife and daughter have anything they could possibly want. I gave up worrying about what to buy them as gifts years ago since my offerings could never meet the standards of which they had come accustomed to so I just bought what I could afford and left it at that. It’s also important to note that I’ve never been jealous of what they had either, since I could never afford to buy the kind of clothes, cars, jewelry or other luxuries that they had, nor did I care about it. I’m happy with what’s within my reach and was also happy for them if it truly made them happy to have these things.
After actually leaving on my trip and arriving at my destination, I was surprised to find that Bob hadn’t gone wherever he was going…yet. We were able to share a couple meals together but without the mention of what was wrong or where he was going. I did notice, however, that during the lunch that his wife and daughter seemed a lot nicer to him. So what happened? Bob is aging and has come down with an illness. The old adage is that money can’t buy love, but the fear of dying can certainly change perspectives. Bob was ignored before and disrespected, but from where I was sitting, it sure looked like reality (as in he might not be around forever) set in.
So how does the life lesson work? Bob wasn’t getting his needs met. He was being nice to everyone around him. He has a wonderful nature, is of service to his community, yet, went home to an emotional shell. When he got sick, it was a wakeup call to his family. I certainly hope that he gets well and that everyone realizes that money does buy things, but that’s all they are, just things. People and what they bring to our lives are much more important. We all should value what we have before it’s too late.
I hope both Bob and his family learn the lesson of being less material and more spiritual. The universe has a way of pulling us back into balance… sometimes kicking and screaming. Sometimes it’s a tough lesson but one that we all need to learn at some point in our lives.
Inspirational memoir capturing a love that extends beyond the veil of death, of care-giving, of the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease as well as a widow's restructuring her life after the only man she ever loved was gone. Buy safely via PayPal