10 April 2020


Well, unless you live in Antarctica, you are aware that someone in your country has this illness.
And it changed everything, including all plans anyone had for socializing. There is no need for me to get into details of all that calamity. We are all aware of how all that goes.

What I wish to talk about is how my past experiences help me understand what is going on here and what is a healthy and smart thing to do in this crisis.

I survived the war as a civilian. This usually means one gets all the badness of the war without the added benefit of an option of the release of tension through aggression as soldiers have.

There are similarities with the current crisis. In both cases, people are immersed in a situation they did not cause, cannot control, and there is no definite end in sight. And that causes fear, sometimes panic. That part is expected. The unexpected part is when people do not manage to take that fear under control, they go nuts. Simple as that.
I’ve seen it happen over and over during the war. And I know it took decades after the war to fix some of the nuttiness. You cannot fix all nuttiness. You cannot return to how things were before. Not if you lived in a society where everyone passed through the same. But that is a story for a different post.

Now I wish to share what war taught me about fear control and what are the excellent methods to stay sane.

1. Among the civilians, we had a saying, “One has to laugh or go nuts, your choice.”
This means it is essential to indulge a little in a time of crisis. Do something you consider fun, or do something creative. Creativity helps too.
2. Limit news watching. We cannot control what is going on. The virus will run its course and bring consequences. Constant news watching and checking the number of the cases on that John Hopkins map will just drove you nuts.
3. Concentrate on the things you can do. Physical distancing is introduced to ensure that the death rate is lower, but not to stop the disease. So do distancing in the knowledge that you’re saving someone’s life. You are making sure that hospitals are not too overwhelmed, and most of the people who will need ventilators will have one. (I will not go into politics, and how incompetent leaders made a bigger mess of this than it should be, that is a rant for another post.)
4. Try to be mindful of the moment. Find a way to enjoy the present, to root yourself in the present. This will help you not being taken away with the craziness of the thoughts that run through your head. You can do it by meditation or prayer or by just taking a few breaths and concentrating on breathing, or just having a cuddling session with your pet or kid.

I did all that during the war, and it helped. And now I’m doing the same, and it helps too.

I hope this post will give you some ideas about how to better take care of yourself mentally as well as physically in this crisis.

Stay safe.

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