Stay at home orders got you down? Ready to rise in rebellion and join the revolution? Wide-ranging reactions to the Coronapocalypse are COMPLETELY NORMAL. During the COVID-19 crisis one thing you don’t really have to worry about is the permanent loss of your sanity. At least this is the theory I’m going with. We are just coping here people!
Necessary disclaimer: However accurate and insightful, @foundersgirl is not a doctor of any kind, nor licensed in anything credible. She makes no validated behavioral recommendations and claims no responsibility for the actions of any readers who have voluntarily subjected themselves to the following musings and assertions.
How many stages of Corona Coping have you experienced, how many will you circle back through before the madness ends?
Stage 1: Global Pandemic Shock
There is a reportedly nasty virus that started in China. We don’t know a lot about it, but IT IS HERE.
Fight and flight?
Information please. If you went straight to the Google and / or various media sources looking for answers, you probably didn’t find a whole lot. At least not a lot that was accurate. If you’re a data junkie, you hated the early stages of the outbreak. None of the data aligned, rumors were rampant, and numbers changed daily. Actually wait; this is still ongoing.
If you weren’t consumed with the quest to gather information, maybe you ran right out to save everyone and everything in a panic-induced state of frenzied action. Did you thoroughly prep for months of self-quarantine? Call all of your loved ones to make sure they weren’t in China in the past 10 years? Buy ALL OF THE TOILET PAPER?
Don’t feel too bad about your initial reaction. You were in a state of shock. It was likely brought on by media sensationalism and the unknown. If you overbought certain supplies (read: toilet paper), go ahead and share with your neighbors who played it cool and under prepared. Forgiveness can be bought one roll at a time, guys.
Stage 2: Denial
What’s the big deal?
Many will come in and out of this stage as we now live in constant disbelief over the current state of modern life. Something about the COVID-19 and the way it unfolded just doesn’t add up. You don’t have to put on a tinfoil hat to acknowledge that the reaction to the virus outpaced the spread. Disinformation and inaccurate information from around the world and throughout the media contribute to feelings of skepticism and disbelief.
Or maybe you just don’t really feel the impact. If you’re not in a risk group for contracting the ‘rona, are considered an essential employee, and have plenty of toilet paper, then maybe you can just ignore the insanity blasted on every news channel, social media network, and the less-crowded water cooler chit chat. But dude, ya still can’t go to the park or stop at the local pub. Can’t pretend this is normal forever.
Stage 3: Anger
What the hell are we doing?
Having experienced a lifetime of freedoms and all of its associated luxuries, at some point most of us are realizing that having it revoked to such a degree is hard to accept. In fact, it’s infuriating. Responsible, self-sufficient, independent adults HATE being told what and what not to do. This is compounded when mandates prevent one from running a business, earning an income, and supporting a family. You’re not really a mad(wo)man; you have reached the pinnacle of frustration and most would-be coping mechanisms have also been eliminated by the powers that be.
Frustration leads to irritability. Compounding the building ire is the fact that many of us are trapped with our loved ones. Yes we love our nearest and dearest, those we married and those we spawned. But do we like them? For an uninterrupted and unforeseeable amount of time in close quarters? Without external influence and relief? Grab your earbuds. Find your own space for a while, a closet or bathtub if you have to. Then get your rear back into the family room and play another board game. No one is going to forget about this time or how we spent it.
Stage 4: Bargaining
Enter the face masks.
Maybe if you follow all of the precautions for social distancing (I was never a hugger anyway), wash your hands religiously (like more than you already should), drain those excess bottles of hand sanitizer you purchased, stop touching every surface that you have not personally disinfected, and wear a mask that you made out of dirty socks (saw it on YouTube), then you can just go on about your business and get life back to normal. It’s a small price to pay right?
Except. When you find yourself at the grocery store with all of the other freaks in their hazmat suits and the overly observant Karens you will be hit with the realization that NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you convince yourself of - the world is simply not on its usual axis. Minding the stickers on the floor is not going to make it all go away, you are not in control of the Coronapocalypse or any of the ramifications - at all.
Stage 5: Depression
This is awful.
So we aren’t in control. We can’t stop it. We can’t do what we want. This is it. We are going to die in our homes with a mountain of toilet paper and people who are tired of us. Honestly this section is all a little too depressing for me to personally address. I have been here. It’s dark. It’s hopeless and it hinges on the feeling that this is NEVER going to end and life will never return to anything resembling normal.
We know it won’t actually go on *forever,* but not having a timeline or a certain idea of what lies ahead is rough. Let’s not dwell here. Drag your mind on to the next stage, we need something else to think about.
Stage 6: Testing
Harnessing the inner rebel.
When you can’t wallow in frustration and despair anymore, you start thinking about what you can do. Good and fed up? Ready to buck authority? Start a revolution? ME TOO.
Let’s be realistic though, while I’m dabbling in therapeutic (for entertainment purposes only) endeavors. You can’t go to the public park. But you can hop the fence in your neighbor’s back yard and charge off into the great unkempt and unknown hills of your hometown. OK, that’s what I like to do. But, you start finding ways to make this work. You have to wear a face mask to work? Well that’s stupid and it sucks, but you still have a job - so make it a humorous one and put the damn thing on.
Lifehack loopholes, this is unknown territory - anything is worth a try. This is survival mode. Do what works. Maintain your sanity. Mind your safety. Enjoy cold pizza and vodka for breakfast if you feel like it, Karen’s attention is focused elsewhere right now.
All of that fluffy feel better crap being said, there is nothing wrong with plotting a rebellion in your mind. Just in case this absurd situation actually refuses to succumb to a natural end. We’ll be more than ready to overthrow the insanity and move on, if and when necessary.
Stage 7: Acceptance
Yeah. We’re not here yet.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.