In the spirit of the Hunger Games (stay with me), let’s play a game: real or not real. Election fraud, not real. Racism, real. COVID-19, real. UFOs, let’s leave that one alone.
You know what else is real? March 2020. THAT changed our lives and the whole world along with it. But it changed for all of us. A pandemic that resulted in having to remain home, businesses closing, job loss and an apparent toilet paper shortage.
We saw the death of the enigmatic female icon, RBG, and the shotgun confirmation of her replacement. We had mostly peaceful protests against racism and social injustice and were consumed with a heated election and its contested results. We endured a year without cherished Pride events, very weird holidays and then a hope that 2021 would be different.
All of this, only to find ourselves, six days into the new year, watching a deadly insurrection at our nation’s capital overshadow the victory in Georgia (thank you Stacey Abrams).
Talk about trauma. Experiencing any one of those things would be tough to deal with, but compounded, makes for a dangerous combination. The strongest and healthiest of us have struggled.
Some people responded to the events of 2020 by drinking or eating more, others turned to home projects, or learning something new. We found ways to volunteer our time and learned how to love virtual events (kinda).
But there were many, many people who did not find it easy. Isolation is tough. Why are children put in “time out” and why do prisoners dread “the hole”? In many ways it was hard not to feel disciplined this year.
We may have asked ourselves, why? And who didn’t experience the cycle of hope, fear, despair, loneliness, anger, more hope and more despair. Rinse and repeat. Yet, in spite of it all, and I can’t stress this enough, you are not alone.
Many have escaped the Groundhog Day cycle by finding a routine. Knowing what to expect can be comforting. Focusing on the one thing you can control, yourself, might just be the way to the other side (wherever that may be).
What does that look like? Wash your hands, maintain social distance, wear a mask and stay healthy. Exercise, get outside, spend time with your fur baby, try one of those language learning apps, find a hobby, attend virtual events (just try it).
Make a TikTok video, journal, meditate, drink tea, cook good food and reach out to family and friends. Chances are, you will find someone who feels the same way you do.
If you are coping well, then reach out to others. Chances are, there is someone on the other end of that call, text or video call that may really need to hear from someone who was thinking about them.
This will end and we will eventually return to a world that allows social activity, live events and will figure out the new normal. It is just going to take time. The reality is it still may be hard. But you are not alone.
Seek professional resources if you need them. You are not alone. If you aren’t sure where to start, you don’t have to look far. The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada has social programming and resources for food and wellness, and information can be found on their website.
The Crisis Support Services of Nevada is available 24/7 by texting “CARE” to 839863 or calling (800) 273-8255.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 by calling (800) 273-TALK or utilizing their chat option online.