Time June 23, 2020 pp77-79 After Isolation “Stuck With Yourself” “The hidden price of the pandemic that has already cost so much”. By Sam Lansky. Author of “Broken People” a novel due our June 9.
Sam lives alone and his psyche is seriously missing his pre-COVID-19 routines-going to gym workout, meeting friends for dinner, and work events that brought a sense of purpose. Prone to depression and substance abuse, Sam discovered that the pandemic-isolation increased the mindstream of negative thoughts. Exercise is known to counter depression and trying to put a positive spin on shelting-in-place, he developed a goal to improve his level of physicial fitness-be in his best shape ever! Being more active did reduce the negative voices until it reinvigorated his tendency for compulsive behavior.
Soul-searching through what he was experiencing, Sam concluded he was missing real interpersonal connection. He began breaking out of his “bubble of self-obsession” by simply calling a friend-dialoging but mostly listening. This reaching out helped but he also realized “that growth is not always linear. We move forward, and then, sometimes, we fall back”. Life is messy best we “try to cope, however imperfectly”. ‘One day at a time’ works for pandemics too”.
Of course, he is not alone in coping with more "alone time" during the pandemic. “In a recent pole, nearly 40% of American adults reported that their mental health has been negatively affected by the pandemic. There are serious concerns that “as many as 75,000…could die from…’deaths of despair’-from substance abuse or suicide”. If you are feeling down many resources are now virtually available. March call volume “to the national helpline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration jumped nearly 900% higher than the same month last year.” As Aretha Franklin would sing "Reach Out and Touch"-pandemic version talk, Zoom, FaceTime.