Nashville has been hit pretty hard the last two weeks with an outbreak of tornadoes and now the coronavirus. This is not to suggest we’re special as a city, but these challenges have been pretty acute for a lot of people here. These two major events have illuminated how little control we humans have. We’re just not that important (despite our beliefs otherwise!).
Feeling out of control often leads to anxiety, and these intense feelings result in us grabbing onto anything that will help us to feel better, even if it’s only temporary relief. Unfortunately this often leads to more anxiety because what we grab onto isn’t all that solid. Things like social media feeds, stocking up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer, various op-ed pieces, and all the different versions of news the media outlets are selling (which seem to be increasingly agenda driven, not care driven).
A friend of mine, David, runs a really popular local weather twitter (highly recommend following the account) and website account that reports the weather with care, not agendas (more of this please!). Several months ago David asked me to write a blog post for his community about taking care of weather-related storm anxiety (you can read it here). As I was writing this article, the main theme that I kept coming back to was relationships. Relationships are what keep us grounded during tragic events.
We’re profoundly lonely, fragile, insecure, and limited people. When an outbreak like a virus or tornado strikes, it’s painfully obvious how little power we humans have. We often become lost in our reactions to these feelings of being out of control. And when we are left alone to deal with this powerlessness, it is emotionally debilitating.
As we move into this new reality of having to deal with outbreaks that painfully reveal our powerlessness (tornadoes, viruses, cancer amongst our friends or family), will you pay attention to what reactions you have? It is likely that your reactions are a plea for help, and that help won’t be found in your newsfeed or at the grocery store. The great news is that relationships are built on the foundation of a common goal. Today, that goal is obvious for all of us: A virus.
Help is found in the power of relationships; the comfort of feeling and knowing that you’re not alone in your fears. Perhaps this is time to find a support group, a Bible study at church, attend a 12-step group, call that counselor you’ve been meaning to call for a while, or call a friend that you know will pick up the phone and listen.
What help do you need today?