Our New Normal
Dealing with Big T Trauma - Where do we go from here?
Many of us have had far too much to process in recent years. We've had the Covid Pandemic, hyperinflation, hostile work environments, mass shootings, and a ridiculously toxic dating scene. We all have our crosses to bear, our traumatic childhoods, addiction issues, and a skyrocketing divorce rate, but when will we come together again to be a community? Is the sense of community dead in 2023?
The Covid Pandemic is in my opinion, a Big T Trauma. A Big Trauma is a life-altering event. In fact, many would classify the pandemic as a Capital T Trauma as it changed the way we live, work, and interact with others. Compounding the problem is that there are virus deniers who assert that covid has changed nothing at all. People still walk around in masks, work from home, now sanitize everything that never sanitized before, and live in a level of isolation that they have experienced before. The question is, "can we go home again?"
My life has been in the process of a complete overhaul these last three years. I've moved out of my hometown, gotten sober, divorced my husband of twenty-five years, and changed occupations. All of this has happened in a changing political and economic landscape. Complicating the problem, is that most of us are left processing this trauma in isolation, which is the exact opposite of what you are supposed to do.
When Covid arrived here in Ohio, our Governor put the state on lockdown. A good friend of mine likened the experience to 9/11. Her life changed inside of 24 hours. She is a hairstylist by trade - a job that cannot be done by Zoom. It's also not a career that is known for making enough money to save for retirement. Like many, she's been working since she was a teenager, and now, she can't go to work. She doesn't have a savings or retirement plan. She's cut off from her family and friends. As I said, she said it was as life-altering to her as 9/11. What makes it hard to share her experience she finds, is that so many want to argue, if it was a man-made virus, was it a biological attack? For her, all of that didn't matter. She was just trying to get through the day.
Some people feel that the way we are denying our new reality is akin to people who denied the Holocaust was happening. For the average Joe, this is happening and the larger reasons are too big to of a concern for them - at the end of the day they have no control over them. All we can do know is too make meaningful connections to people - if that is important to you. No man is an island, as the saying goes. It's time for me to make meaningful, authentic connections based on shared interests and volunteer work. Just because you've known people you're whole life doesn't mean that they are the best people for you to associate with.
For myself, without a sense of community, I will feel too estranged from the outside world. I've started volunteering at a non-profit that helps children whose parents are in the throes of addiction. I'm donating my time to non-profits who are trying to break the cycle of poverty and generational trauma. Most people grow up in very dysfunctional homes. Isn't it time we become the parents and grandparents that our children deserve?
I've developed very low cost hobbies in my spare time, which I have an abundance of these days. I read about 20 books a year. I've been publishing on Vocal for over a year now. Reading and writing are truly the keys to getting out of poverty. Going through life without the ability to read would be like going through life without one of your five senses. The perpetual confusion would leave you unable to function in many ways.
With the volunteer work I am performing at my local non-profit, I'm hoping to instill this love of reading in children. Help them see the value of quiet time. Many of us are over-stimulated. Learning to self-soothe early on will help prevent addiction issues later in life hopefully. My hope with this non-profit is to be a mentor to girls graduating out of the foster care system. Many people with addiction issues have not had positive role models in their life to even show them a better way of living. Positive role models, reading and writing, and mentoring can go a long way in helping those less fortunate than myself. I've learned the hard way in life, you cannot rescue people who won't participate in their own rescue. But at the very least, I can plant the seed.
The pandemic has increased the addiction issues in this country for a variety of reasons. It's estimated that someone dies every 11 minutes due to addiction issues. As I'm in recovery, this is a cause very near and dear to my heart. The current generation has a very different mindset than previous generations. The respect the hustle culture is dead for many people. Quilting as a form of mindfulness therapy has made a comeback. It's time to reevaluate our lifestyles and values. Many people have a habit of being pre-occupied with destination addiction. This is the idea that happiness lies in the next pay raise, promotion, partner, or new car. Evaluate your own personal core values. It's best to find happiness and peace within. If you keep looking for it somewhere else, it will never be where you are.
About the Creator
I am an aspiring writer currently writing a book on the Sober Revolution we are in the midst of, a book about essays that will change the way you think, and a novel about a serial killer. I am also working on a book of poetry.
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