Facing the Inevitable

Inevitable reality cascades over me. Recession is surely on the way as part of having such necessary mass social distancing going into effect. I have felt so fortunate to live in a thriving area of commerce and culture. But, local restaurants and other retailers whose owners have business loans and/or personal home mortgages will be– or already are– strained around keeping up with their monthly payments. Given that a large percentage of them probably at least have mortgages, this will soon be a large-scale problem, with banks and stock markets reacting to this strain. Employees of these businesses will then (or actively are, I already imagine) be cut back drastically in response to such huge slow-down of public purchasing of goods and services. Sales of online products and physical necessities have and will increase exponentially, until spending money runs out for a significant percentage of consumers whose employment has been adversely affected by this global crisis. Not everyone can simply work online from home. Already, I myself have shelved my upcoming plans to make a certain large purchase in the next few months or even probably this year.

Here in the United States, leadership at the federal level has been extremely lacking, unquestionably. The only high up elected official who seems truly capable is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But, even she is not quite enough. I am grateful for some degree of state level competency where I am. Again, it seems to be too little too late, though. To my understanding, we could and should have had successful containment during an earlier window of time that is now long closed.

I do not mean to sound fatalistic or complaining, because I have faith we’ll get through this, except for those who will die of COVID-19 and/or economic-related fallout. At this point, it’s all about mitigating bad outcomes. People– myself included– will need to help those who are especially isolated and/or economically impoverished by this TWILIGHT ZONE of a situation. It is going to be very rough for a while before things get better. In the meantime, I’m well aware there are lives to keep safe– our own and everyone else’s around us. And, with me as a psychotherapist and my husband who works in customer service at a small community bank, we each signed up to be on the front lines in our own ways.

Take care, dear readers, both of yourselves and those around you. There are solid safety guidelines out there for avoiding infection and spread of COVID-19. Please follow them responsibly, while also helping those you know (and don’t know) who may especially be in need.

4 thoughts on “Facing the Inevitable

  1. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront from a place of rational understanding. I noticed the shelves in Market Basket dwindling in items like milk, which I was able to buy the next day at a different MB, but chicken and bread were nonexistent on that day. I normally hit the store as soon as they open to avoid crowds for an entirely different reason. Both days this past week, they were crowded by the time I got through the door. The endless lines. I understand the need to be prepared, but this has really been crazy. I get the need to make everyone aware about this Coronavirus. Every one of my banks/creditors has sent information about it. My school has daily updates and has shut down classes for the next two weeks. Yesterday, I got a notice that they were closing down the administration offices, too. The constant urgent messages from them disturbing any peace of mind I may have left. The USPS sent a very informative e-mail many pages long. I found the map of the US with colored areas where the greatest outbreaks are very interesting. We are the third highest color, but what was more interesting were the states that were not affected at all. My son works two days at the food bank and because of his autism, I have to remind him about the importance of washing hands. Serving the needs of those who have nowhere else to go for their food supplies also puts those helpers in a precarious position. I think the worst thing about this situation is there seems to be no end in sight. Alas, this is where we turn to the human service arena to put salve on those frazzled nerves. For that great resource and those special counselors, I am very thankful.

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  2. It felt like The Twilight Zone to me, too, in the past few weeks. Now it feels like the real witnessing of a natural disaster ploughing forward and leaving devastation in its wake, its very long and extensive wake. Last week I was balancing my anxiety and fear pretty well. Less so now after a glut of reading and news viewing, multiple failed attempts to acquire supplies I need from the grocery store, and watching my childrens’ upset as they hear from friends in France, Spain, Italy, etc..

    I’m deeply disturbed by our leadership’s terrible approach to preparing for this crisis, by the devastating emotional and economic impact this pandemic will have, and by the immediate threats to the health and wellbeing of all of us, but what really has me so upset at the moment is that despite the advice coming in from people in the countries currently hit hardest, too many people here in the US don’t seem to have caught up with the desperate seriousness of the situation. The hand sanitizer people are hoarding just isn’t going to do the job. Bars were crowded with St. Patrick’s Day revelers early in the weekend, and people are still going to the gym and to restaurants. A friend snapped a picture of her Friday evening commute on the T, a crowded car with many hands holding onto stability bars, and started a thread on social media last night about the pros and cons of riding public transit to work this week.

    I deeply fear and abhor authoritarian government, but I can see why some measures (like the quarantines in other countries) are necessary in a situation like this when people cannot (or will not) voluntarily isolate themselves for the greater good of all. If we can “flatten the curve” of the spread, perhaps those people essential to helping others through crisis can stay safer in their work, and perhaps we can avoid the deep fear response that causes goodhearted people to turn away from their neighbors in need.

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