We are experiencing something that the world hasn’t seen since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Every country in the world is impacted by a virus that is killing thousands of people every day. Most of the world is living in a state of government-imposed quarantine. My family and I have been in “self-isolation” at the advice of our state government for about three weeks and it’s starting to wear. How are you holding up?
I’ll be honest, I’m not holding up as well as I would like. Let me state here that I am an emergency manager by training. I literally studied this sort of thing for my undergraduate degree and some of my graduate work. I learned more than a little bit about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that infected some 30% of the world’s population which is an estimated 500 million people. The fatality rate was at least 2.5%, with the total number of deaths estimated to be somewhere between 50 and 100 million people .
Coping strategies that I’m using
This is a hard time. This is a hard time like very few people alive now have ever seen. Huge numbers of people are at risk for getting sick and dying because of this virus, mostly those with poor respiratory health and other underlying conditions. I have lung damage, so I am in that category.
Because of this, I am taking particular caution with my exposure. My church has closed it’s doors and moved to online-only services for the time being. Korinji, the Buddhist monastery that I am a member of, has gone to all on-line interaction for anyone who is not a resident and has started producing content on the Patreon page to help Buddhists continue their practice at home. It can be a great comfort to take refuge in faith practice in difficult times. I have been referring to this material regularly.
Normally, I am extremely connected with the news and goings-on of the world. As an American citizen, that includes being very aware of the political climate. With our president that can be… Frustrating. So, I have mostly stopped following a lot of the news outlets that I’ve historically kept in my awareness. Shortly after COVID-19 made it to America’s shores I started having anxiety attacks when I would put any concerted thought into the COVID-19 impacts on both my family and my country. I had to mostly stop watching the nightly news, I had to mostly stop reading on Facebook. If I didn’t I would have an anxiety attack.
A couple of weeks back, John Beckett wrote an interesting post on Patheos titled “Keeping a Plague Diary” in which he talks about journaling, especially in times of historical import. He talks about how it’s not like your words will make it into some future HBO special, or that you’ll not likely be a notable figure, but your family, your descendants will be interested to know what you went through. They will be interested to know what you thought, and how you coped .
John made some very interesting points and makes reference to a Facebook post by local Pagan associate of his. Between the two of them, it’s clear that personal journals that are kept in historically significant times are profound. There is plenty enough reason to keep notes of your life. For some people, it is a good way to release anxiety about things that they are going through currently. For others, keeping a journal is a good way to keep track of their personal status through time.
For others, keeping a journal is a letter to history, letting the future know what it was like to live today. For parents of young children, it can be a way to document the things that children have lived through when they are too young to realize that their experiences are significant.
Tonight, I will be starting my plague journal as a way to help get my anxieties out and into the light. Gods know that I have enough blank journal type notebooks around here that I have never written in before. I have always told myself that I will write in them, but it just hasn’t happened to date. Now is a good time to start.
So, tell me: How are you coping? Leave a message in the comments and let me know.