I like knowing things. Uncertainty just drives me insane. I can’t stand mixed signals or unanswered questions. I thrive on transparency. It’s because of this which is why I find myself struggling during this pandemic. Sure, being locked down in my tiny flat in London is a pain in the butt, but that’s not what’s driving my anxiety. I have a flight booked back to Canada in July which is, so far, still on track to take off. Not knowing if that is going to be cancelled is worrying me. I’m trying to stay off the media because one news broadcast contradicts another. Other countries have unleashed exit strategies and yet the UK government is keeping us all in the dark like we’re children not deserving of information. My brain keeps looping over potential scenarios: Will I be cooped up in my flat until I leave, not being able to see my friends again? What if my flight gets cancelled? I’m supposed to take off two days before my visa ends. Also, if I am able to get a flight, what if I contract COVID-19 on the plane and accidentally give it to my family members? (This was one of the main reasons I didn’t leave when this whole thing blew up in March.)
Then, to top it off, after I worry about all of the above, I think about how selfish I am to worry at all, because plenty of people have it considerably worse than I do. I could be in an abusive relationship and self-isolating with my abuser. I could have lost my job and be struggling to get by. I could be cooped up in my tiny flat with three restless kids like my neighbours. I could be a health care worker on the frontlines seeing people die of this disease every day. Here I am, worrying about an unknown result when these people are struggling with reality.
Both of these thought processes are toxic and unhealthy. Worrying about the unknown is wasting energy, and so is comparing your trauma to others’. Everyone is suffering in their own way, and they shouldn’t be shamed for that. Celebrities have been called out for crying in their mansions, and at first, I participated in the degradation. I sneered at Sam Smith for allowing the world to see their pain. I realise, now, that was wrong. Their suffering is still suffering. The world is already full of enough despair and hate. We shouldn’t be feeding the flames.
Everyone is so focussed on protecting their physical health, but we can’t forget about our mental health. It's equally as important. For me, I do that by working out, writing, singing, and talking to my family and friends via social media. Those are the things I love most in this world. But when those don’t work, sometimes I just need to cry. And that’s okay. Do whatever you need to do to protect your mental health. You need it now more than ever.