Pandemics are not new… SARS, HIV, Ebola, the Bubonic Plague, cholera. But let’s talk about the very real human cost of a pandemic such as this, that leads to quarantine and social isolation. Corona Virus, aka Rona, she is not a sweet ole girl… she’s more like a… social, economic, and emotional savage. She gives no fucks, has RBF like a mug, and she will be cruel.
The Truth About Rona…
We already have seen and heard every way this virus has spread and how we can help prevent it. There is no vaccine and in America there are few tests. In addition to the physical challenges, Rona doesn’t just stop there. Recently I started a business, the blackkside, a social experience sharing and curation company in Detroit, which promotes cultural inclusivity in new businesses. So first, Rona is a sack chaser because she wants all my money. I can’t get the bag if we can’t go into social venues and restaurants. She’s eating my 401k and investments for breakfast and lunch. Bag thwarted. But when they take our bag, we buy low … stocks that is. That was a freebie for ya!
Then there is the psychological cost…
Anxiety and depression are real, but not one in the same. My business partner is Kafi… she’s our team social butterfly. She is ready to go all the time. I am the business mind… budgets and organization. I’m the DJ, she’s the rapper. Kafi goes out on Tuesdays. She’s a regular like Norm at her local bar. She never meets a stranger, and will probably hug you every time she sees you or parts ways with you.
Kafi needs social interaction because she’s an extreme extrovert. Lack of human socialization for someone like Kafi can lead to loneliness and ultimately depression. Today in Michigan all restaurants and bars were ordered to close with only delivery and take out options available. Most workers are working from home. Group events over 50 are prohibited, and soon a curfew may be instituted as in New Jersey. Kafi is not okay… I mean she is, but she needs her friends and family to check on her, offer to visit, invite her over. She doesn’t have the Rona but the Rona ain’t making her feel good inside.
Depression can be acute or chronic, situational or long term. Either way, it needs to be taken seriously and individuals who feel like they are moving from basic boredom and loneliness to a deeper and more emotionally difficult state need to reach out to others during this time. Pandemics are not just about the virus, the economic impact, and being infected. The truth about Rona is that she won’t just hurt you physically, yep she’s violent, but she can also leave you feeling emotionally unbalanced. Be proactive and find ways to have some small social interaction to keep yourself healthy in every way.
Now, me, I’m an introvert. A lot of people don’t believe me, but trust me I’d rather be home, in my pjs, with a few folks I really dig, than in a group with too much talking. This whole thing has affected me in a much different way. “Stay home. Stay away from folks. Stay watching Netflix. Stay happy!!!!” That’s my current ministry… and the threat of this virus outside of that safe bubble gives me anxiety. I mean I’m the poster child of wishing I was home alone.
Today, after a weekend of social distancing, I had to present at my job where I interview people from every country under the sun, many of whom have likely traveled, been around someone with the virus, and desperate to get the benefit they present for. It is not an unlikely idea that people who might be infected could end up less than three feet in front of me… coughing like a non-cigar smoker in Churchills. The very thought of that as I got dressed this morning made me sweat. I started feeling anxious, and just wanted to get back in my safe and quiet bed. But alas, I could not. I got in the car and listened to some of the raunchiest and murderous rap music I could find… it calmed me. Don’t judge me mmm kay.
I walked in the building, cleaning each knob or handle with my Lysol wipes before I touched it, and the sweat again caused my hair to cling to my forehead. It wasn’t until it was confirmed that we could work from home that I calmed down fully and all worry left me. I was feeling full on anxiety at the thought of having to interact with people who might present despite their travel or health history. Sure enough, a guy who had returned from China less than 15 days ago sat in my co-workers office smiling at her waiting on her to start his interview, like he wasn’t exposed to the plague a few short days ago. Luckily she discovered his travel and promptly escorted him out. Had that been me, I might have spazzed out on his premeditated pandemic spreading ass. I will happily sit at home… it’s going out DURING A PANDEMIC that’s my problem. I mean don’t nobody want Rona.
So check on your people. Whether they are extroverted or introverted, this new normal may cause some mental health issues that we might be ignoring because of the exponential spread of COVID-19. In the meantime, if you are extroverted, FaceTime a friend or have a FB Live dance or craft party (people will watch because they are weird voyeurs). If you are introverted, you should be good. But it’s safe to make it official… every little step you take outside, Rona is definitely in control… You, you, you know it!
Be safe and stay well.