I was scrolling through Instagram recently and found myself growing increasingly bitter about what I saw. People were congregated on beaches, packed like sardines in bars, and carrying on with their lives as if a global pandemic wasn’t happening around them.
At this point, the novel coronavirus needs no introduction. And as someone considered to be “high risk” in the current state of our world, I take global pandemics pretty seriously. I take drastic measures for an average cold and flu season, so I really don’t mess around with pandemics. You can imagine how infuriated I was when I saw people weren’t heeding warnings about the repercussions that could follow their actions.
I was in a really dark place that day, one I don’t find myself in too often. Lately, life has felt heavier than normal, as I’m sure it has for many. But I have been social distancing since Christmas, in total quarantine since March 6, and I came down with a cold seven days into my quarantine. Although I hadn’t been exposed to anyone, my body reacts undeniably poorly to stress. So, when I woke up with a sore throat and shortness of breath one Saturday afternoon, I wasn’t all that surprised.
Nevertheless, I was worried. I wasn’t presenting COVID-19 symptoms, but I was aware of how quickly things could change. In addition to my fears and the uncertainties about my health, I was now festering over people’s posts on social media, which only made matters worse. But somewhere between the bitterness and fear was a little voice that spoke truth into my heart again. It whispered:
“You may not be able to fix the world, but you can fix how you respond to it.”
I sat with those words for a while that day and weighed both options. On one end, I could stay bitter and fearful. I could fester in what was going on around me and continue to wallow in my stress. Or, I could take these emotions and let them fuel me to create positive change in my little quarantined world and the world around me.
In between naps and nebulizer treatments that day, I made an irreversible promise to myself. Instead of reacting negatively to people’s actions regarding the coronavirus and its impact on the world, I would use that time as an opportunity to educate, encourage, and support anyone who was willing to listen.
I shared a raw and vulnerable picture of me at my worst in the hospital to educate others on what a virus could do to me. I rallied my Instagram community and asked them to share some good news to brighten everyone’s day. (The responses made me cry.) I began FaceTiming loved ones (despite not enjoying talking on the phone) to foster human connection. And slowly but surely, I began to notice a shift.
My fears and uncertainties are most likely here to stay for a while, and that’s OK. Being well-informed about this virus is my top priority. But in an ironic turn of events that fateful day of scrolling through Instagram, I have chosen to respond to my fears and uncertainties, this virus, and all its implications with love. I may not know what the future holds, and I may not always have it all together during this time.
But with love, I believe we can conquer anything.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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