What I Would Have Said and Done Differently

Hindsight with the Coronavirus

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

February 25, 2020. I sent a text to my ex saying,

“Hey there. I’m worried about your trip with the kids and the Coronavirus. Not so much where you are going but being out and about with so many people, the plane’s recycled air, etc.….”

That was three weeks ago, when I was still not positive how to respond to the Coronavirus.

I joked more, but there was this odd feeling inside asking me to take my fears seriously.

I couldn’t sleep at night.

To keep my inner voice quieter, I started to stock up on some canned goods, ordered some latex free gloves, made sure we had our prescriptions filled. And asked my son if he had his inhaler. Simple things that helped to alleviate my worries.

However, this nagging sensation would not lift. I have a proclivity towards feeling danger.

My nightdreams became more vivid and punctuated with tidal waves, and orange safety cones surrounding a large house with the windows barricaded.

I thought about my kids still at their University. I thought about the day long workshop I had recently attended. I called my licensing board and asked if there was any concern for the upcoming March workshop I had to attend and was told, ‘it has not been canceled and there are no restrictions.’

I worried about the endless possibilities but mostly kept such thoughts to myself.

Repeatedly, there were signals of warnings from nighttime dreams to daytime events.

  • I had a hair appointment scheduled at the beginning of March and I decided to keep it. However, the entire time things kept going wrong.

The person who was scheduled to do my hair, no longer worked there but his name still appeared on their computer. I was shuffled to another person and then another and then told to go grab lunch while I waited.

The person next to me spilled her drink and there were those orange cones again — similar to my nighttime dream.

  • The day before I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee, and they didn’t show.

Two weeks ago, I started to share more of my concerns and I was shot down with “your overreacting.” And, “don’t be so serious.”

I laughed and agreed with them. I tried to convince myself, of course you are overacting, Carolyn. Worry is your other middle name.

March 11th. I was at yet another coffee shop and felt extra vigilant to my surroundings so much, so I finally told my colleague, I needed to leave and why.

I’m glad I trusted myself. Yet, at the time, I felt rather stupid.

By then my daughter was home from college doing her classes online.

A week later, my son was home doing his college classes online.

The same week, I closed my private counseling practice and will only see people online via video or phone.

I don’t know how long this will last. I suggested a two-week break; in my heart, I know it will be longer.

We have instincts for a reason.

I’ve felt my concerns for over three weeks. At first, I shared them timidly and now with more confidence.

I don’t think you should go on the family trip to Europe.

Two weeks later…

You must cancel your trip to Europe, and I listed reasons why to everyone involved.

Practice social distancing to your fullest ability.

I could be just as unknowingly infected as the next person.

Which of course led me to think, why encourage the exponential capabilities this virus is very loudly showing?

And therefore, we cannot put each other at risk!

I got even bolder.

  • Stop having friends over.
  • Stop having playdates.
  • Stop homeschooling dozens of kids.

This will only increase the risks of you and others getting sick.

Schools, business, restaurants, pubs and stores are closed for a reason. Whoever you are, you are not exempt from this virus.

This virus can kill you.

  • Screw the cheap airfare.
  • Stop bragging and sharing your spring fling pics from crowded places. You are not cool, brave or invincible.

Crowds are a petri dish and adds to the ability for this virus to multiply. Stop your bullshit and stay home.

Above all, let’s think smarter, work together, practice social distancing and again — please, stay home.

Carolyn Riker, MA, LMHC, is a psychotherapist and author of three books. Her latest is My Dear, Love Hasn’t Forgotten You. If you’d like, follow her on Facebook at Carolyn Riker, MA, LMHC or Instagram.

Dreamer. Poet. HSP. Empath. Licensed MH Therapist. 3 books published. 3X Top Writer. Love espressos & my chunky cat. www.carolynriker.com

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