I’ve spent the last several days having conversations with various colleagues, friends, and family members about the COVID-19 pandemic. The one general truth about all these conversations is this: People are in different places emotionally and thinking about different facets of the crisis.
Some are more-or-less in step with the media narrative, which is generally short-term focused. (I say this without judgement. This is fine.) They are upset, and upset in particular about the challenges of disruption to daily routines for them and their families. They are concerned with the response of politicians, local and national. All natural. All normal. Those in this place have the advantage that many, many others are with them. This is a shared experience.
Then there are some that are thinking beyond the immediate. Some are thinking a few weeks to months ahead. What happens if school is closed for the year? What happens when family or friends get sick, even die?
Some are thinking many months ahead. How do we get to herd immunity safely? How long until people cannot tolerate staying in their homes, working from home? Will this unwind gracefully or badly? What about next school year? What about the election? And so on.
This is also normal, but people thinking much further ahead may feel much more isolated with their thoughts because it’s not where the most others or the media seem to be (yet). I have spoken to several people who don’t know what to do with these thoughts. They feel they cannot articulate them on Twitter. They worry they’re too speculative. They feel their family or friends can’t handle them or don’t want to hear them.
I do, and I’ve spoken about them in individual conversations. But my point isn’t to articulate those concerns here, but just to say that it is OK to have these thoughts. You are not crazy to worry about the future and future problems just because few others seem to be. I assure you, many are, they just aren’t saying so.
It is important not to be and feel alone in this crisis. Find someone to talk to about all your concerns, but naturally don’t freak anyone out who isn’t ready. Use your community and resources as best you can. Seek professional help as you need it. You are welcome to email or tweet them at me, if nothing else.
This is hard. You are not crazy. You are not alone.