Family and friends know me as a first responder to every known emergency in the country.
A long-form letter turned into a blog piece written by Kali Alaia
I remember volunteering for almost every cause from animal welfare to save the movement to save the trees to every feeding program there is for children.
If there is a calamity may it be a volcano eruption or a landslide, you are sure to see me gathering donations for distribution on my social media page. For more than 8 years now, Facebook has been a platform for people like me who want to contribute change to the world.
What is different with COVID-19?
But Covid-19 was different, this is the only disaster in the world that I was not mentally prepared for.
Covid-19 was the first real issue in my life that caused me to believe that I was not in control of the circumstances.
I did not post any messages asking for group donations. I did not conduct any feeding programs or donation drives for PPE’s. While most of my classmates and friends got active and conducted their outreach program for this disaster.
I was simply overwhelmed and felt that for the first time I did not feel like I had it together.
Seeing doctors and nurses in suits, with endless health, and public advisories that struck fear more than awareness, I felt more and more powerless.
The conflicting data provided on the internet, not to mention the never-ending political squabbles took a toll on my mind. On top of that, we lost an important member of the family.
We lost the life of our dear cousin, Charmaine Erika because there weren’t enough oxygen tanks inside the hospital. Every hospital in the country was overwhelmed with people. It was as if the health care system in our country just collapsed, and I am sure that we were not the only family who has experienced a loss because of this, and it just hurts all the more.
Repercussions of Covid-19
Nurses and doctors are scared of their own life. As a result, Covid-19 patients or not; all patients who are received by the hospital right now do not have the guarantee of ultimate care and attention.
Had it not been for this pandemic, my cousin would have lived longer. But she did not. The fear and turmoil took its toll and I do not want to act as though I have the energy and the willpower to mobilize people. I felt powerless and wanted to be vulnerable and open to admitting the fact that I feel anxious.
And to admit that there is no donation drive or community drive that can distract me from what is happening right now. Because of the pandemic, my usual work routine was disrupted.
This was not a normal tragedy, for the first time both the ultra-rich, the middle class and the poor all had to face fear and possibility of death. I stopped helping not because I wanted to stop it was simply because my mind and body couldn’t handle the pressure- anxiety got the best of me — I did not move a single muscle because the person that I am trying to build and help right now is my mind- my state of mental health.Fear and anxiety stared at me in the face- it took hold of me, and I needed to hold on to a Higher Force which was Jesus Christ to keep my mind steady- I too needed some help, my internal struggles had to be faced head on.
I had to protect my energy, my mental state. Because if fear overwhelms me, and if somehow, I lose control then everything would crumble. Like an obedient citizen, I went inside my room and lived as an introvert would.
How I am coping…
I continued to work quietly inside my room, not going out until needed. Carefully looking at the calendar, until the lockdown ends. Being true to myself during this pandemic allowed me to create spaces for my mind to breathe.
I kept calm, wrote in my online journal, and instead of pushing myself to engage in the community conversations over this pandemic I opted to self-reflect and see my life for what it is. I took the lockdown period to think.
To pray, to meditate, to ask myself what my next steps in life are. I began to think of how to ease the pain in my heart and because of the seriousness of this pandemic my mind and heart experienced a growth. For the first few weeks of the pandemic, I sought the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ and took the necessary steps to message loved ones and people I have wronged over the years.
To ask for forgiveness and reconciliation. 8 out of 10 people responded and connected with me. One of them is my sister, we were able to reconnect, and we let go of the bitterness of the past. Though I didn’t expect everyone to forgive and reconnect, it gave me much assurance and peace that after this lockdown is through, I would come out as a different person. My seeking was internal, if a cure is to be found, it is not simply a vaccine, it requires mind transformation as well.
My response was to go inside my mind and to reconnect with my soul. During the pandemic, I began to reflect on how I have been living my life and what I want to change in the future. I also took the time to get to know what I truly want.
The pandemic gave me the time and much needed quiet, so I could slow down and assess what I should be doing with my life. The essentials, what truly matters. I was able to hear my thoughts loud and clear, and this time the voice truly belongs to me.
My mind also went into a full lockdown from the outside world. I halted my daily plans, even the businesses and daily tasks that I was doing in the physical world to get in touch with my true self. And though there is much fear, hatred, and worry over this pandemic.
The last 40 days felt rewarding, enriching because the conversations in my mind and the quality of talks that I have had with people over messenger and video calls are much more sincere. The high school friends that I did not even bother to message before the pandemic became true people in my eyes.
The mornings and evenings were also quiet, it was helping my mind recover.
Take this time to heal, I know it is difficult but let us be kind to ourselves…
Not everyone can respond to the calls for volunteer work as of this time. Because at times the person you need to help the most is yourself. If your mind and heart are in the right place you can avoid hurting others. You can be much gentler and interact with the world around you like a gentler soul who is at peace.
Not only is Covid19 a physical disease—but it is also a disease of the Mind. To truly be able to defeat it—you need to go over the details of your soul, to get in touch. So you can walk out of this- not simply as a physical human survivor but a refreshed and well-grounded soul.
Penned by Kali Alaia (a submission on Alone Together Express yourself challenge). If you want to share with us how you have been feeling this ECQ, then please feel free to do so by submitting your entry via this link.
Because of the recent pandemic, 80% felt their mental health was worse due to the impact of the coronavirus. And there is no help readily available. But you and me, we can face it together. Alone Together.