Non-essential businesses are closing.
The mall attached to where I work is closed. It is an eerie sight. With gates down, access is limited to the occasional security guard making the rounds. And at first, there were custodians cleaning the floors and seating surfaces.
At another local mall, Chick-Fil-A has a tent set up near a mall entrance door. They are doing drive-through from the tent, as their store is in the middle of the mall.
Runners are bringing the orders to cars after they are prepared inside.
There are no bounds to people’s creativity during this pandemic. All kinds of services are re-inventing how they operate in order to comply with new directions. Customer and worker safety are top of mind. And for many businesses, being able to be open at all is an accomplishment.
Being closed off, for me, involves too much time listening to the news while commuting to work.
READ MORE: If I am not in control, am I out of control?
Wanting to hear every new development, every uptick in the number of cases, made me shut down. All the negative news, and the underlying uncertainty about the future was driving me crazy. I was becoming obsessed with the next case, the next executive order, the next policy change by the CDC.
All this new information serves only to make me more anxious and even angry.
It is the lack of control over the situation that was making me upset. And worse, I was trying to control what I cannot control. Who gets coronavirus, is not up to me. Other than my own social distancing and not traveling to Covid 19 hot spots, I am not in control of the virus. Or the fact that it is spreading, and we are still learning all the possible ways that can happen.
But I can control my attitude towards the virus and the pandemic.
Just as I am doing as I challenge depressions’ unhelpful thinking styles; I can control my attitude towards coronavirus. I can choose how I will listen to the news, or if I even listen at all. Last night, I put a CD in the player and listened to the Allman Brothers band the whole way home. Today, I turned to the news at the top of the hour, and then switched to the classical station.
I can decide how much Covid 19 news I absorb.
This is very empowering. To know I can control my attitude towards this has reduced my anxiety and improved my outlook. And there have been additional benefits. Less stress means I can be more in the moment. Being in the moment gives me a chance to appreciate all that I have. I can appreciate just how far I have come in the past year.
My hospitalization for depression was the opening of my life, not the closing up of it.
Being closed off by sheltering in place is just a matter of attitude. I was able to visit someone by making a phone call from the parking lot to a person looking at me from a second-story window. While this is certainly not the same as face to face, it worked very well. Out attitude towards connecting was stronger than the feelings of sadness that we could have had, in not being able to meet face to face.
So, I am determined to keep from being closed.
Will I social distance? Of course. Is it possible to be open all the time? Of course not. But then again, it never was. I get to decide who and what I will open to and what I will be closed to This skill I have learned from SMART training, WRAP training, my own reading, and Peer Support. It is my decision where I focus my attention.
I get to decide if I am closed or open.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.