The dramatic realities we face with COVID-19 are a wake-up call that has the potential to make us much stronger and better adapted to confront the host of other undeniable existential threats coming our way. For almost all of us, our families have become ground zero. Most of us have never lived in a war zone, so dealing with the peril of our personal mortality and the fear of losing our loved ones has never been this intense.
There is another destructive potential side effect of the pandemic that requires careful vigilance as well. Anger is a natural response that virtually all of us are feeling in one form or another since our life as we know it has been turned upside down and taken at least somewhat out of our control. Of course, there are exceptions to this but the vast majority of us are angry because we’re cooped up and our desires are being thwarted in too many ways to be able to mention.
Mindfulness is only a starting point. We could analogize it to God or Faith. We can be devoted with a very dear part of ourselves, but the question is how much is this integrated into our life? We can go to church on Sundays, but not practice or express our faith during the week. We can have faith in God, but not treat our fellow man/woman with our hearts and compassion. Mindfulness, as it is most commonly taught, can support us to be present . . .
While sadness and anxiety are a natural and even healthy part of life, depression is a unique condition. Those with a genetic predisposition and chemical imbalances may already struggle and fall deeper into their minds when difficult circumstances become overwhelming. Uncertainty, fear, and anxiety over a sudden change of circumstances or troubling world events can push those who’ve never struggled with depression into troubling places, where they and their families feel ill prepared and in need of guidance.