Remembering What Life Was Like Before
It’s hard to believe it’s March and just a year ago I was hopping around the country just like the rest of you . I remember March so clearly like a childhood trauma stamped upon my forehead. I was privileged to present at Providence Medical Center Conference in Everrett, WA. I had never been there before and the doctors and other medical personnel were bright, friendly and interested in the topics I was speaking on chronic pain, addiction and trauma.
There was back door rustling and people were talking in hushed tomes about a plane coming in from China with folks who had the flu. I thought nothing about that – not my problem I was off thinking about my next adventure. I was traveling to Utah to present on Family Mapping to the clinical staff at Cirque. A quick stop at home then off again – life was good – predictable and oh so free.
The COVID Pandemic Hit (along with trauma)
And then like most of us the pandemic hit like a tidal wave of fear – no toilet paper – no hand sanitize r- no travel – no seeing family – no nothing as we had known. A huge trauma bubble covered us all and we had no idea how, what or why.
In the months that followed we all weathered our own storms. For us it was multiple trips to the hospital for Mr. Wadas, a move, a book launch and work with many people whose hearts were ravished by mental health and substance use disorder who needed help.
We watch business come and go and saw how in California and across the country so many lives were recasted with stay at home orders. Big box stores were allowed to stay open while mom and pop stores livelihoods were threatened. Gyms were shut down, personal services were shattered, masks became a way of life and grocery stores became a place where one went to socialize.
Schools were shut down and zoom became a way of life for preschoolers. Who ever thought zoom school could replace in person instruction really does not know much about children and learning. Graduations, proms and usual rites of passage were canceled and the social interaction of connection lost. Zoom school became the norm.
Here is a timeline of COVID events from AMJC: https://www.ajmc.com/view/a-timeline-of-covid19-developments-in-2020
Death became apparent, not only death by Covid also death by overdose skyrocketed.
All the while mental health crisis rose while Amazon fulfillment centers blossomed. Substance use disorders also rose and we saw an increase in anxiety, depression, youth and adult death by Suicide.
Changes for Individuals, Families, Society
At the same time pods began to form ( those are the groups your safe circle ) of people that you traveled with. Political elections came and went and FaceTime became an everyday occurrence.
Racial unrest which had long been brewing toppled the country’s in a way in which social justice and doing the next right thing for all has become the mantra of 2021.
As for us, we like many folks moved. Our reasons were two fold- to be closer to family and in search of better doctors. Others left the big cities-to smaller area and we forged ahead as best we knew how.
Loneliness, feeling grumpy and a general malaise captured the country along with a fair share of natural disasters rounding out this year.
Bolstered by online self support groups through the year I was and still am grateful for the Hollywood squares connection of online meetings.
Vaccines — and a New Hope
With the vaccines come a new sense of hope. Hope that we can meet in person, hope that gyms cab open, that small mom and pop businesses can survive that we are not totally taken over by big brother watching every move.
That the families we work with are able to attend in person events, that conferences come back and we see each other in person, that schools reopen, that parents and other caregivers get some respite , that we greet each other with a smile not just with our eyes and that we all join together to create a world where compassion and empathy reign.
Connecting With Each Other Again
In closing March is not an ending yet a new beginning to all of you who have walked by my side, who have read my newsletters and who have shared themselves with myself and my team I want to thank you for your graciousness.
As we approach the Ides of March let us go back to its original meaning. Ides simply referred to the full moon, which usually fell between the 13 and 15 of the month. In fact the Ides of March once signified the new year which meant celebration and rejoicing. And to all of you may this Ides of March signify a new way or relating and a connectedness which heals us all.