We are now in the world that is quite different from what it was a year ago. It is safe to say that a lot of us underwent a sort of a collective trauma with having been in lockdown, losing jobs, losing people, and witnessing the uncertainty of our government. It seems that no one really had the best answers, there was—and still is—a lot of trial and error in how to navigate these new waters. For people in recovery and people who have suffered trauma in the past (such as relinquishment for my fellow adoptees), uncertainty is extra scary. Recovery and healing happen in environment that’s conducive to routine, predictability and calm. We’ve had anything but in those past few months. But many of us survived it and with flying colors. Some of us didn’t survive it, there were many relapses, the numbers of people dying from addiction-related causes spiked enormously, and addiction became a much stronger force than it ever was before.
Yet we have to have hope. We’re rebuilding slowly and it will take time before things are relatively safe. In the meantime, it’s important for us to tend to our needs and be gentle with ourselves as we try to adjust to the new normal. I never thought I’d live in the world where wearing a mask would be a prerequisite of being able to be in public—I think it’s great that we’re careful and smart about the virus, but I’m sure many of us would admit that it’s still a little shocking to be living like this.
I think on the positive side, the lockdown allowed us to become open about our fears more; I’ve noticed despite conflict and confusion people have started to share more openly about their fears and about not doing well when they aren’t. I think this collective vulnerability is good because it allows us to be more compassionate and kind toward each other, which is what we all need. When I see or read about people snapping at one another and fighting, all I see is fear. I see reactions that are basic responses to crisis, those fight-or-flight instincts activated in all of us as we walk around the world unsure of where it’s going. I myself am practicing a lot of patience these days and try to understand that even those of us who are angry and antagonistic are operating from the place of fear. I stay clear of conflict because it doesn’t really add any value to my life.
And I would suggest for you to do the same. Leave those social-media arguments, and stop searching for information that will prove you are right while everybody is wrong. We are all just grasping, just trying to learn about what’s going on because knowledge gives one a sense of control. But that’s a delusion as well. We cannot control a lot of things, and we certainly can’t control something like an infectious disease. We can only adjust, adapt and improve. Stick to our reality and do the best we can for ourselves and our loved ones. Conserve our energies so that we’re ready to use them for good rather than spend and waste it on anger and frustration about things we can’t do anything about. I think a walk in the park or a quiet moment sitting by your favorite tree might be better medicine than anything else. Learning how to stay calm and taking advantage of the good things life has to offer is how we become stronger and how we heal from fear. Calm and clear mind is better defence than winning an argument online or telling someone off in a line-up.
#newreality #mentalhealth #sober #soberlife #sobriety #health #addictionrecovery #addiction #alcoholism #substanceusedisorders #recovery #adoptee #adoption #trauma #traumainformed