Coronavirus Has Become The Great Equalizer For The Mentally Ill

For years now, I have attempted to combat the stigma associated with mental illness.  Again and again, I have given real world examples, approached the subject from differing angles, even used charts and graphs, hoping to help those who have never experienced it themselves better understand.  Yet, sadly I still often feel like I fall short.  While those who are living with mental illness have contacted me numerous times to thank me for putting their experiences into words, there are still those who could not wrap their minds around what it was like to live with our diagnosis.

That is, they couldn’t fully understand until this pandemic hit.

Day after day, for months now, I continue to see postings, comments and tweets that could have been written by any one of the millions of people who struggle every day with various mental illnesses.

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People talk about being worried all the time, sometimes not even knowing what it is that they are worried about, only that the ever-present feeling of dread is looming there, hanging over them.

People talk about being afraid of their world falling apart, the economy crumbling, their job not being there after all of this is over.  They worry about not being smart enough to home school their kids, and of the dangers of sending them back to school in the height of the pandemic. They worry about the house not being clean enough if they have to do a video conference with their co-workers or whether they are even capable to adequately work from home for any length of time. They worry about bills accumulating faster than money comes in and the continuous threat of losing their homes due to evictions and foreclosures.

Even seemingly little things like running to the store for food or toilet paper feel huge.  The world outside doesn’t feel safe.  What if the store is out of whatever we need when they get there?  What if they bump into someone sick? What if they bring the virus home?  The sound of someone nearby coughing makes them jump and want to run back home to safety.  Many even put off going out for days until they absolutely have to, the dreaded eventual trip weighing on them.

People talk about being worried incessantly and excessively about their loved ones and friends, of imagining worst case scenarios of their illnesses and deaths, even though they know they are currently safe and healthy.

Though the common sense part of their brain keeps firing off, trying to remind them that everything is currently okay, and that things will likely eventually be okay again, they cannot help but feel like everything they are worried about is not only possible but probable.  Everything seems to be hanging heavily and even little things feel too big to handle some days.

They feel restless. Their mind runs nonstop.  Even reading the news feels overwhelming, yet they struggle to look away because they feel an urgency to stay informed.  They feel like they have no control over their lives, as if everything is spiraling down into chaos, getting crazier by the day, and there’s absolutely nothing they can do to stop it.

They talk about the confusion of differing information out there, of never knowing what to believe, who to trust, and being fearful of choosing incorrectly and it leading to disaster.

People talk about being continuously exhausted as the pandemic drags on and on, about wishing things would just be over but fearing there is no end in sight. They’re tired of thinking about the coronavirus, tired of worrying about it, want it to just go away. Yet it continues to loom, to linger, to threaten their peace of mind and their very sanity.

All of that is anxiety.

THAT is what people who live with an anxiety disorder go through every single day over a multitude of things in our lives.

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People talk about that feeling of hopelessness.

They feel trapped at home without any real purpose. They are constantly dragging throughout the day.  They can’t stay focused. They are eating and sleeping all the time or not at all.  Some complain about not even enjoying their favorite foods anymore or their favorite shows no longer bringing them any joy.

Some feel all alone.  Many of those feel isolated even with others around, afraid to talk about what they are feeling and going through because they don’t want to seem crazy.  They pull inwards, trying to cope and to put on a brave face, even though they feel like they are falling to pieces inside.

Homeschooling has become overwhelming – they don’t remember school being that hard and feel inadequate because they are struggling to help their kids with basic subjects.  They feel they are letting everyone down by not being enough. Yet the thought of sending kids back to school feels equally as disastrous. It is as if no matter what choice they make, it’ll be wrong, that every option is equally bad and hopeless.

Life itself feels exhausting to them.  There’s times they just feel numb to it all.  Other times, they just want to cry.  Often, they just resort to sleeping, or mindlessly scrolling through social media or watching random shows, though they can barely recall afterwards what it was that they saw.  They feel they are just going through the motions and desperately wish life would just get back to normal – though they know there is nothing they could do to change anything.

Some people are attempting to regain control of their lives, to go out and do something, anything, to reclaim the life they once knew. Yet, while out and about, they are distracted by all that could go wrong, by wanting to return to the safety of their homes. Though part of them desperately wants to enjoy their time out, their thoughts and feelings hang heavy on them, throwing a dark cloud over it all. They feel guilty for everything – for even trying to go out, for trying to have fun, for being too lax or not taking enough precautions. They apologize to others for sucking all the fun out of what could have potentially been a nice day, feeling they somehow seem to be ruining everything they touch.

They see other people being productive, using their downtime wisely to accomplish so many things. They wish they could get things done, as well, but seem to have no desire, no drive to do anything. They find themselves procrastinating and then beating themselves up for their inactivity, which in turn makes themselves procrastinate more, caught in an endless loop where nothing gets done and then they beat themselves up for that lack of productivity.

All of that is depression.

That is what people struggling with a depression diagnosis go through on a regular basis.

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I have seen people talk about wanting to be productive during this downtime, taking on a multitude of projects, more than any one person could legitimately handle, convinced they have the time and energy to do it all, only to crash into an overwhelmed, discouraged heap days later with everything half completed.  They go through cycles of manic, larger than life aspirations and heavy, depressing reality.

People talk about feeling irrationally angry, of feeling fed up about everything and nothing in particular at the same time. They find themselves continuously annoyed with everyone in their life and even the pandemic as a whole.

They describe many of the feelings common with depression, but with an entirely different mess added to the mix. They talk about having feelings that boomerang and yo-yo from one end to another, or sometimes both extremes at once. They talk about feeling so much, in so many directions, that they cannot even put it all into words.

Those highs, lows and extremes are all aspects of bipolar disorder.

People struggling with bipolar disorder often find themselves experiencing a wide variety of emotions and extremes with no rhyme, reason, pattern or predictable duration.

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The list goes on and on of ways this pandemic has helped mirror mental illness in the everyday lives of people who have never experienced it before and struggled to understand it. In the last few months, I have seen these sentiments appear and reappear throughout the country as pockets of positive cases sprung up and the epicenters continued to shift. No matter where the worst of the pandemic currently resides in the country, though, the narrative has remained largely the same.

Whenever I see people talking about their struggles during this pandemic, I want to call out “YES! Yes to this tenfold! That is exactly what it is like!” in hopes of turning it into a teachable moment.

At the same time, I find myself saddened, because I wouldn’t wish any of these experiences on anyone else, even if they are temporary and likely to end when this crisis is over.  I know what it is like to live with anxiety and depression every single day for years on end. I grew up seeing my mother struggle with bipolar disorder and now watch my fiance battle it on a daily basis. I am intimately familiar with many of the struggles of living with a mental illness. It breaks my heart to see so many others going through these struggles because I know firsthand how hard it can be.

As strange as it sounds, though, beneath it all, this pandemic has given me a strange sense of unnerving calm. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel entirely odd, different, unbalanced or crazy.  For the first time, I don’t feel singled out, the odd woman out in a world where everyone else seems to be breezing through life, coping much better than I could ever dream. For the first time, everyone else can finally understand all the feelings I go through every single day.  At least in that one aspect, the pandemic has become the great equalizer for those of us with mental illness.

I can only hope that their memories do not fade, though, once all of this is over.  Perhaps now that more people understand and have experienced many of the feelings commonly associated with mental illness even on a temporary basis, they will be more empathetic to the struggles many of us face every single day. Though even if those memories do eventually fade away, I hope everyone currently struggling to cope with the weight of the pandemic knows, as those of us in the mental health community often reassure each other, that none of you are alone. Though there are no easy answers or solutions to much of what you are feeling, we understand and we are all here, even if physically apart, to offer our support. Please never be afraid to seek help if you find you cannot cope on your own. Stay strong.

Stop Blaming Mental Illness For The Abhorrent Behavior Of Anti-Maskers

Whenever anyone behaves poorly or against the grain of what is considered socially acceptable, many people automatically attribute it to that person being crazy, off their rocker, completely unhinged, mentally ill. There is so much stigma surrounding mental illness that many assume that any unreasonable action or poor behavior must be synonymous with mental illness, because why else would someone behave so badly unless they were crazy and mentally ill.

Our country is currently in the midst of a viral pandemic, seemingly split down the middle. On one side, we have those who fundamentally believe in science, medicine and fact and are willing to take precautions for the safety of all. And on the other, we have those who are trying to politicize the virus, with many touting that the virus itself is a hoax, or no worse than the flu, or simply declaring it not their problem because nobody they know has been affected by it yet. These pandemic deniers, minimizers and anti-maskers have become increasingly fond of video recording themselves as they supposedly “stand up for their rights”, planning strikes against businesses attempting to abide by restrictions put in place for the safety of all. They storm into stores, refusing to wear masks, recording both themselves and the reactions of others, hoping to earn their 5 minutes of fame. They go in with the sole intention of showing their defiance, causing turmoil to businesses, workers and customers alike, and creating a scene worthy of becoming a viral trend.

As we have seen time and again during this pandemic, this type of egregious showboating often backfires, with those who are thumbing their nose at health restrictions ultimately being thrown out of stores and banned, being widely and publicly shamed for their apathy, and in some cases even being fired from their jobs as a result of their very public displays. Yet these bizarre occurrences continue in America, partly because these individuals want to make it fundamentally clear that they believe their personal right to not wear a mask is more important than everyone else’s right to not get sick or die, and partly because they ultimately hope to go viral for their bad behavior, to become infamous on the internet.

Yet whenever someone is called out for their horrid behavior, many people immediately blame mental illness. People assume that in order for someone to do something as foolish as to outright deny a viral pandemic that has infected over 18.5 million people worldwide and killed over 700k in less than a year, let alone to make such a spectacle of themselves by outright refusing to care about others, they must be “crazy” and “unbalanced”, that they surely must be mentally ill.

Often people in this country automatically associates horrible behavior such as this with mental illness, pointing fingers and claiming those involved “obviously need mental help” because their utter disregard for everyone else is unfathomable. Other times, the perpetrators themselves attempt to blame their own horrendous actions on mental illness whenever they are confronted. They cavalierly issue a non-apology, using mental illness as their scapegoat instead of taking any amount of personal responsibility for their own ridiculously irresponsible, ignorant actions. It’s as if they are smirking, shrugging and dismissively claiming they should not be held accountable because they are, after all, “crazy”.

Sadly, much of this comes from the stigma attached to mental illness. It is much easier for many people to assume that anytime anyone behaves despicably, they must be “crazy” and “mentally ill” than to consider that those individuals might just be inconsiderate, attention-seeking people who do not care about anyone but themselves. It is much easier to designate mental illness as the catch all scapegoat for all the wrongs in society than to consider that these people are behaving poorly simply because a portion of our society glorifies their bad behavior.

As someone who struggles with mental illness myself and who actively advocates for the mental health community, I would like to make it very clear that there is an enormous difference between the actions of these people and the mental illness community as a whole. While it is possible that someone who displays this type of abhorrent behavior might also be struggling with a mental illness, mental illness itself is not immediately to blame whenever anyone behaves inappropriately or with malicious intent. People who have mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, ptsd, and bipolar disorder deal predominantly with issues such as self-worth, motivation to accomplish daily tasks, and battling the demons in their own heads and the trauma of their past. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, could not have put it more perfectly when addressing the myth that being mentally ill automatically means you are “crazy”:

It’s plain and simple, having a mental illness does not mean you are “crazy.” It means you are vulnerable. It means you have an illness with challenging symptoms — the same as someone with an illness like diabetes. While mental illness might alter your thinking, destabilize your moods or skew your perception of reality, that doesn’t mean you are “crazy.” It means you are human and are susceptible to sickness and illness, the same as any other person. (1)

When attempting to attribute mental illness directly to poor behavior, let’s consider the penal system. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, there are currently approximately 2.3 million Americans incarcerated. (2) Yet, according to statistics by NAMI, “Only 5% of violent crimes in the U.S. are committed by people with serious mental illness. The unfortunate truth is that individuals with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.”(1) Furthermore, “Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have ‘a recent history’ of a mental health condition.” (3) Though there are always exceptions, the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not the least bit violent or otherwise confrontational, they are not by and large out committing crimes. With only one in five people who are incarcerated having any type of recent mental illness diagnosis,and only 5% of those with a mental illness being convicted of a violent crime, being mentally ill is clearly not the predominant driving force behind bad behavior.

Even if someone who is mentally ill were to momentarily lose control and behave poorly and irrationally, they are extremely unlikely to go on grandiose, premeditated video recorded rampages with the intention to upload the fallout later to the internet, screaming about their supposed rights to do whatever they please even if it means harming or killing others in the process. People who are mentally ill don’t normally plan out and intentionally video record their outbursts from start to finish in order to garner internet attention but rather any adverse reactions they may have are typically an unscripted, unplanned, unrecorded, spontaneous result of someone who is struggling to cope with life in the moment.

People who are struggling with mental illness often isolate and shut down. We struggle every single day to concentrate and focus on simple things, to function and accomplish daily tasks. Nearly one in five people, an estimated 46.6 million adults in the United States today, is currently struggling with a mental health diagnosis. Again, according to NAMI, severe mental illness is defined as “a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” (4) In other words, even the most severe mental illnesses are defined specifically by the impairment and limitations they place on the lives of those who struggle with them. Being mentally ill does not typically send people out on premeditated, politically-fueled tirades and crusades to callously violate the health and safety of others for personal validation or internet infamy. If these types of self-recorded outings and outbursts were commonly indicative of mental illness, with over 450 million people suffering from mental illness worldwide according to the World Health Organization (5), there would be drastically more people causing scenes like this all over the globe.

When taking into account that there are 2.3 million people currently incarcerated and only roughly twenty percent of those have any type of mental illness diagnosis, we are looking at roughly 460,000 inmates who are mentally ill. When you further consider that there are roughly 46.6 million people in the United States currently struggling with mental illness, those who are incarcerated and also have a mental illness diagnosis account for less than one percent of the over all mentally ill population. Again, the proof is in the pudding. Over 99% of the mentally ill community are going through the motions of living their everyday lives, struggling with their diagnosis, not out committing crimes or thumbing our noses at laws or restrictions put in place for the safety of all.

We are not gathering en masse or heading out in droves, intent on recording ourselves causing a scene in the desperate hope it may make us internet famous. Many of us struggle to even function at all, let alone make plans even remotely close to this extent. Rather, these are the calculated actions of self-centered, egotistical people who are showing complete disregard and apathy for everyone else, people who place more value in their own temporary fame than in the health of their families, friends, co-workers and neighbors. These are attention-seeking individuals throwing temper tantrums, so hungry for their five minutes of infamy that they are willing to put other people’s lives at legitimate risk just to have their name trending on the internet.

Though you may see the occasional anti-mask sentiment in other countries, no other country has the widespread, reoccurring, largely combative and often explosive or violent issues that the United States has with people being unwilling to tolerate minor temporary inconveniences for the safety of all during a global pandemic. While there are some people in other countries who may disagree with wearing a mask, you don’t hear frequent stories about their citizens recording themselves causing combative scenes like you do in the United States. To date, I have personally only seen one news story out of the UK about protesters recording themselves storming a store and making a scene. The vast majority of those who disagree with wearing a mask in other countries simply organize peaceful protests or hand out informational material explaining their beliefs on the matter. For instance, in late July there was a peaceful anti-mask protest in London attended by hundreds of protesters. More importantly, those who disagree with wearing masks in many other countries appear to be a small minority. The vast majority of people in many other countries have taken a united stance, observed health precautions with little to no issue and have, in the majority of countries, seen cases declining by the day as a result.

You simply do not see the largely hostile and combative anti-mask sentiment to the scale and degree elsewhere that you see in the United States. Only in the United States are we seeing such a ridiculous and reoccurring blowback against common sense during a viral pandemic that has frequently escalated to rage-fueled outbursts and outright violence, with people even being physically assaulted simply for asking others to comply with restrictions and regulations. Only in the United States are we seeing the virus being widely politicized, regularly used and abused to garner people’s five minutes of internet fame at the detriment to other people’s lives. And only in the United States is a bonafide medical condition being used as a catch all scapegoat to garner all the blame for the bad behavior of these self-centered individuals. With mental illness being a worldwide problem, if this abhorrent behavior was truly a direct result of mental illness, these outbursts would surely be widespread worldwide, as well. But this type of disturbing behavior is predominantly an American thing, driven not by mental illness but rather the largely American desire to become famous or infamous by any means necessary, even if it means putting other people at risk.

Whenever a woman shoves her cart through a grocery store while defiantly refusing to wear a mask, recording herself screaming about her rights to do as she pleases other people be damned, or whenever a man records himself causing a scene by screaming that he is under attack in a store because he was asked to either mask up or leave, or whenever a woman video records herself violently attacking a display of masks while proclaiming she has had enough with the pandemic and being told what to do, it goes viral because people cannot fathom others behaving so ridiculously, screaming like petulant toddlers throwing a temper tantrum because they were asked to be considerate of the health and safety of others. As long as these people continue to trend as train wrecks that other people laugh at for their sheer absurdity and willful ignorance, there will continue to be people out there acting out just for the attention that going viral brings. While we cannot stop those people from behaving badly, nor can we stop others from watching their ridiculous outbursts with abject horror, we must stop assuming their behavior is automatically caused by mental illness instead of simply being the result of attention-seeking, arrogant, apathetic human beings desperately chasing their 5 minutes in the spotlight. Often, bad behavior directly correlates to inconsiderate people who care only about themselves, not to mentally ill people. We don’t deserve to be scapegoats for their poor behavior.

1. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2019/Six-Myths-and-Facts-about-Mental-Illness

2. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/pie2020.html

3. https://namibuckspa.org/education/about-mental-illness/facts-figures/

4. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml

5. https://www.who.int/whr/2001/media_centre/press_release/en/

More than Just a Faceless Number in the Pandemic

There’s nothing quite like those moments of enlightenment when you realize that your feelings and motives go deeper and are more personal than you previously realized or openly admitted.  Why do I care so deeply about people being responsible and staying home as much as possible during this pandemic?
Whenever I was asked, my first impulse answer was always that I didn’t want anything to happen to those I care about and their loved ones, that there are people in my life that are older or are immuno-compromised, friends who are considered high risk because they just got over cancer or who have just had a baby. I care a lot, perhaps too much at times, about other people, mostly because I know what it is like to struggle and suffer and I don’t want anyone else to needlessly go through any heartache or pain.
I spend a lot of time thinking about how much everything affects others that I often forget to consider my own personal situation. Perhaps I also struggle to consider myself among those who need extra protection, those who are determined to be at a higher risk, those in the biggest danger. I have come to see myself as a fighter, a survivor, and being lumped into that category is like accepting that I am fragile, weak, that I am less than the strong person I believe myself to be.
I have been through a lot in my life.  As a child, I endured every type of abuse imaginable.  Physical, mental and emotional abuse lent to my PTSD diagnosis.  Sexual abuse led to my doctors telling me I might never be able to have children.  Yet I persevered.
At sixteen, my abusive childhood culminated with my mother shooting my father.  I was bounced around among family members for a little over a year before finding myself on my own before I was even eighteen years old. Yet I survived.
Even though addiction ran in my family in the form of both drug and alcohol abuse, and trauma like mine often serves as a catalyst for substance abuse, I managed to avoid both and powered on.
I have struggled with severe depression my entire life, due in part to abuse and trauma, and partly due to a genetic mutation that deprives my brain of the substances it needs to adequately moderate my moods, yet I found ways to continue to function and continue to fight.
I have suffered much heartache over the years, from failed unhealthy and abusive relationships, to multiple miscarriages, yet refused to let any of it ultimately break me.
Cancer runs in both sides of my family.  It stole my mother’s brother way too young.  I watched as it slowly ate away at my father until there was nothing left of him and as it almost killed my mother.  Starting in my twenties, I have had numerous cancer-related health scares of my own.  I had two pre-cancerous atypical pap smears that required cryosurgery and was told afterwards that they were caught just in the nick of time.  In my thirties, they found a mass on the side of my breast extending under my arm that was deemed non-cancerous.  At forty, I had to have one of my ovaries removed because there was a large cyst on it with a fibrous mass inside.  Thankfully, the biopsy after my oophorectomy showed the mass to be benign.  And finally, a little less than two years ago, doctors found not one but two meningioma tumors on my brain.  Yet I continue on and refuse to lose hope.
I continue on because I am a survivor. That is what I do.  I keep going. I power on.  I fight whatever life throws my way.
And I do so with kindness in my heart.  I never want my own life experiences to make me jaded or cruel.  I know what it feels like to suffer and I would not wish my struggles on anyone else.  I try to always show others kindness regardless of whether it was ever shown to me in my own times of need.  I have always firmly believed that there is too much suffering in this world and it is our responsibility to be kind to one another, to watch out for each other, and to ease each other’s pain whenever possible.
And somewhere along the way, I rediscovered myself.  I found a miraculous inner strength, a renewed sense of purpose and even was blessed enough to have wonderful children and find a deep and true lasting love.  I have transformed my own pain into mental health advocacy for others.  I write and speak out to encourage others to keep going, to never give up.  I empathize with the struggles of others and let them know they are not alone.  My writing has been showcased worldwide, discussed on television, radio and internet media programs and shared by numerous government agencies, private practices, and advocacy groups along the way.  I have managed to reach and help more people than I ever imagined possible.  My children and my writing are a legacy I am proud to leave behind.
I have come a long way in life and I have overcome many obstacles along the way.  I am a fighter.  A survivor.
However, to the medical community, I am reduced to a simple list of stats.  Though in normal times, doctors often make an effort to acquaint themselves with their patients to better serve their needs, we are currently in the middle of a worldwide viral pandemic.  The number of infected is increasing daily by the thousands in my country.  And to make matters worse, I happen to live in New York – the current epicenter of the virus in the United States.  Doctors don’t have the time or the energy to get to know all of their patients well right now in an emergency setting.  They have to make split decisions based on medical history prior to infection.
And the simple fact is that I have cancer.  I have two tumors on my brain.  I’m honestly not sure it even matters that the tumors are benign or that right before the pandemic was declared a national emergency, my neurosurgeon informed us that my tumors have shown little to no noticeable growth in the last eighteen months’ of MRI scans.  The cancer diagnosis alone means that I am considered high risk and my treatment is considered a lesser priority than someone else without preexisting conditions.
The fact that I have continuously fought hard and survived many things over the course of my entire life is irrelevant.
The fact that I have dedicated years to helping and advocating for others is irrelevant.
The fact that I am otherwise relatively healthy is irrelevant.
Even the fact that I am a mother and a fiance is irrelevant because every single person that comes through the hospital doors is family to someone.  They are all a son or a daughter.  Many are parents, grandparents, spouses, friends.  We all have a story.
But my story can be reduced to one word, a word that makes my treatment less of a priority during a pandemic. Cancer.
As much as I want to say, want to believe, that the primary reason if not the only reason I want people to stay inside and be responsible is to protect others, I have to accept that I need protecting, too.  My health and well-being is important, as well.  I am part of that at risk, high risk group.  If I get sick, my treatment will possibly, if not likely, be deemed less of a priority.
I don’t want to see myself as someone needing protection because I don’t want to be seen as a victim. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me.  I am a fighter.  A survivor.  I have beaten the odds again and again.  I have a lot of living left to do and a lot of fight left in me.  I have children who I long to see grow into their own.  I have a wedding to plan.  I have more writing and advocacy to do.  And I have this cancer to beat.
My staying home unless absolutely necessary only goes so far to flatten the curve.  I am depending on others to be responsible, as well.  Every person out there interacting is a possible carrier and the more people congregating in a given area, the bigger and more likely the spread.  The more this virus spreads, the more likely I am to get it.  Hospitals in my state are already struggling to the point where do not resuscitate orders have been put in place if somebody dies.  If the hospitals become even more overwhelmed, they will be put in the same place Italy was at the apex of their crisis – with doctors having to choose who gets treatment and who dies based solely on their prior medical history.  And having tumors means if the hospitals are overwhelmed, I might be deemed not worth saving because they don’t have the manpower, equipment, time or energy to save everyone.
It’s easy to consider terms such as “acceptable losses” or to shrug off deaths of the elderly and sick as “the thinning of the herd” when you think in terms of abstract numbers instead of considering the actual people behind those numbers.  It is different when you consider the faces and stories of those people and the families they will be leaving behind.  Even one person needlessly contracting this virus and dying should be one person too many.  We all have families and stories.  We aren’t just faceless numbers.  And many of us still have a lot of life left to live and a greater purpose left to fulfill.
I didn’t come this far to only come this far.  I’m continuing to fight the good fight because I want to eventually leave this world a better, kinder place than it was when I entered it.
I don’t want to die.
I don’t want any of you to die either.

mightylogoRepublished on The Mighty on 5/4/20.

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Republished on Yahoo News on 5/4/20.