The first part of this post contains some of the questions that I’ve received about the pandemic and my responses. The second part is a story about two women dealing with the most stressful time in their lives.
Pandemic Q & A
Have you heard anything from dead people about the pandemic?
My guides and dead friends have been surprisingly quiet about this. What they have said is that this is the time to practice connecting and operating from your innermost self. Making a deliberate and conscious effort, no matter what is happening, to think, speak and act from your heart and not from fear.
Are there lessons to be learned?
This life is our classroom. The lesson to be learned is that every thought, word and deed either opens us to our soul or closes us off from it. It’s easy to be kind and live by your principles when everything is going your way. The test is, can you do it when nothing is going your way?
Do you have suggestions for coping?
Anger, fear, anxiety and depression are all emotions that can be exacerbated by our thoughts. The suggestions below are effective ways of countering those unpleasant thoughts and feelings. If you find these too difficult or not working for you, please contact a mental health professional. Just having someone to unburden your worries to, can help you find your emotional balance again.
1. Identify your feelings straight on. Sometimes it helps to look in a mirror. Be honest with yourself. You can’t deal with something until you can name it.
2. Gratitude. I’m not a saint; at times this is hard for me too. With all of the challenges that we’re facing, it can be very difficult to feel grateful. Find something positive in your life. It could be a person, music, a cloud or a flower. You can’t feel gratitude and anger or fear at the same time; it’s impossible. Close your eyes and smile, then for a few moments center your entire being on feeling grateful for something. When you get there hold the feeling until it fills every part of you. Then still smiling, slowly open your eyes. If you practice this, you’ll soon be able to bring that feeling with you into your day.
3. Do something for someone else. Open yourself to being aware of someone else’s needs. If you’re more comfortable with animals than people, volunteer at an animal shelter. People need to be of use; it’s in our nature.
We are all facing challenges that we never dreamed of and it’s hard. The best that we can do for ourselves, our loved ones and the stranger that we see on the street is to do our best to always act from our heart.
Abby & Lara
About 11 a.m. on a day 2 years into the pandemic we got a call from our friend Abby. She said that she’s a functioning alcoholic, suffering with depression and felt that her life was in a downward spiral. She knew that she couldn’t handle this alone and needed help.
Abby had gone through rehab 15 years ago, but believed that she could be a social drinker. Then the pandemic hit and the pressures and loneliness were too much for her. She began drinking heavily every day. I talked with her for an hour while my husband Bobby spoke to her clinic. They had a doctor call her and they spoke for over an hour, and we joined the conversation about halfway through. The soonest that she could be evaluated was in 6 days. Even though she was not suicidal we didn’t think that it would be healthy for her to be alone 24/7 until then. She agreed to let us hire a companion to visit for 2 hours a day. She had gone to school with a mutual friend, Lara who has been a caregiver for 10 years. I called Lara and something sounded off but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I thought that it would be good for Abby to be with someone who already cared about her and knew her story, so I hired her.
While the girls were talking with each other to set up a schedule, I realized what was wrong. Lara was completely drunk. I was so focused on Abby’s needs that Lara’s erratic behavior and slurred words didn’t ring an immediate bell. Luckily Abby was together enough to recognize it and called me. She knew that being around someone who wasn’t sober wouldn’t be good for her. I called Lara and told her that we had made other arrangements. It’s impossible to have a rational conversation with a drunk, so I didn’t say anything else. To make sure that Abby felt safe until her evaluation, Bobby and I promised her that we would both talk to her every day.
According to a Harvard study, scientists estimate that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic will result in 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040.Please dear reader realize that if you are suffering you don’t have to go through it alone. There is help available. You can call your doctor’s office for a referral to a mental health professional or Alcoholics Anonymous. Both Abby and Lara have people in their lives who love them and will help them through the hard times but there are many people who don’t. We need to keep our eyes and hearts open for those who are alone and in need.
I’m very optimistic about Abby. She accepts that she’s an addict and is willing to do whatever it takes to get well. Lara is another story. No matter how much I love her, I know that at this time there is nothing that I can do to help her. Until she accepts that she has a problem and is open to receiving help, she can’t heal. If she does open herself to getting help, Bobby and I will be there for her and I will let you know.