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My Emotions are Pulverized by the Blender of Life

by Brenda Mahler 24 days ago in advice

Learning to overcome the fear of the unknown

My Emotions are Pulverized by the Blender of Life
Photo by Andrea Niosi on Unsplash

We just got a phone call that another longtime friend has passed away from COVID. Damn!

At first sadness filled my heart for loved ones. Then I became angry because I know he chose not to be vaccinated saying he didn’t need it. Next, my nerves began to sizzle thinking about the danger surrounding us. This shit is real!

Last week 5 neighbors got sick so now I wait to see how it will affect me because yes, I was in proximity at the homeowner’s association meeting. We met outside and kept our distance, but the mystery of this disease has yet to be revealed. It tricks us into living in complacency, then creates illusions that camouflage the truth, conceals reality to cause conflict and misleads us to fight each other instead of working together to defeat the insidious virus.

Each day my emotions are mixed in life’s blender

I woke and called my granddaughter to wish her a happy 5th birthday. Then in the afternoon, read an email from the daycare. She had a fever of 100 and needed to go home.

My husband and I took a walk around the lake. Fascinated by the blackbirds perched on the thin cattail stalks, humored by the cows mooing when we invaded their space, and soothed by the doe leading her fawn through the pasture we embraced nature. When we walked in the door simultaneously, we proclaimed our heads ached — sinuses? effects from the smoke? symptoms of COVID? Maybe we should stay indoors.

The granddaughter in high school excitedly explored my closet for clothes to dress up for western days at school. She left with grandpa’s flannel shirt, a cowboy hat and some earrings. In the morning she stayed home because she had a sore throat, probably nothing more than a cold but decided to play it safe.

Our daughter who teaches in public schools smiled from ear-to-ear when the district decided to offer in person classes. Then she forwarded a text that the principals were asking teachers to serve lunches because so many cafeteria staff had called in sick. Then another text was sent asking for teachers to cover classes as there were not enough substitutes available. At this rate there will be nobody to drive the school buses.

Life resembles a pineapple upside-down cake. Every day begins smelling sweet and I prepare for the sensations associated with home baked desserts, but the final product leaves me feeling bloated, sluggish, and emotionally uncomfortable. My world is being upturned, flipped and capsized leaving me feeling like I may drown.

Magicians captivate an audience. Humans love to be surprised; however, living in a world of the unknown is causing me to feel continually sick to my stomach.

  • The lack of predictability increases anxiety.
  • Limited control creates feelings of being exposed and insecure.
  • The fear of the unknown promotes depression.

I am at-risk of becoming an anxious, insecure, depressed person. Each of these are natural states of emotions until they control behavior. Unfortunately, sometimes decisions are made based on fear.

COVID tricks our brains to doubt facts and react illogically

I’ve established some techniques to keep me emotionally and physically healthy, some based on research and others simply common sense.

Stay positive

When confronted with uncomfortable news or events, I focus on what is working instead of lamenting problems. Maybe my granddaughter didn’t get to experience western days at school, but she will live to experience many other pleasures in the future.

Question assumptions

Someone told me not to get the vaccine because it will place a chip in my body to chart my actions. I contemplated this and determined that if this conspiracy is occurring worldwide, we have a bigger problem than a pandemic. If 97% of patients currently in ICU are unvaccinated, then the vaccination must impact the effects of the disease. Is it safer to function on assumptions about the worst-case scenario that may occur in the future or to respond to current facts?

Do research

Attempt to be informed and explore all sides of an issue. Assess the credentials of the supplier of the information and rely upon reputable, unbiased sources. Require information to be published in multiple publications.

It didn’t take long for me to determine a headache alone does not mean I am infected with COVID. Walking outdoors is healthy and completely isolating from life is unhealthy. A temperature of 100 is no reason to panic but practicing safety measures makes sense.

Be safe

Receive data with an open mind knowing it can be interpreted from different angles. Then respond with actions that promote safety. I do not speed towards a cliff in my car knowing there is a chance of survival when I can instead adjust my speed, follow simple precautions and practice defensive driving.

Wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting a vaccine makes sense and keep me safe.

Stay grounded

Determine what is within my circle of influence and outside my circle of influence. When I do not try to control what is out of my control, I find greater peace. If someone I know chooses not to be vaccinated, I share my thoughts but love them even when I disagree with their choice.

Separate fact from fiction

If information sounds like science fiction based on the standards of the time, assess it accordingly. If someone told me there would flying cars in 1950, I would not have taken them seriously; today I might search the skies for evidence. In 2021, if I hear COVID doesn’t actually exist and it is no worse than the flu, I simply start counting the names of deceased friends. Then I circle back to my first technique to remain sane, think of something positive.

When I heard schools are safe, I remained calm and supported the decision to open the doors. However, as youth hospitalizations increase, and breakthrough cases appear in vaccinated adults, the evidence contradicts the original claim.

Each morning I wake energized to accept the day’s events but realistic that everything may not be perfect. Life is not perfect. Lately each evening finds me emotionally drawn but knowledgeable that the sun will come out tomorrow. Sorry for the cliché.

The good news is I still have the blender so when days get tough, I can mix a margarita. We may all have to identify our drink of choice.

advice

Brenda Mahler

Stories about life that inspire emotions - mostly humor.

Lessons about writing based on my textbook, Strategies for Teaching Writing.

Poetry and essays about the of art of being human.

I write therefore, I am.

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Brenda Mahler
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