Our guest blogger is Jason Tapscott. Jason’s work can be found on his website is jasontapscott.com You can find his two published books at Amazon, on Kindle, for 99 cents each. Right now, there are two installments in the series with a third forthcoming that he hopes to release in paperback. Writing is Jason’s way of healing and processing some tough personal times. The story is all fabrication but actually based on some real events that happened in his own life.
Personally, I have very mixed feelings about the pandemic since it hit in March(ish). In that month, I started working from home. Eventually, I switched jobs in August because I wanted to be a little more on the front line, as crazy as that sounds. I work as a CPS in mental health services. That means I have my own issues. In August, I started working at Einstein hospital. Part of me has always felt like I need to actually do something and hold myself accountable, especially when the crap hits the fan. Call it courage; call it foolhardiness; however you want to call it, I happen to have a big heart and want to be part of a solution, any solution, to this mess that we find ourselves in, sometimes regardless of the mental toll that can take on me.
Anyway, I am living with schizoaffective disorder, which is a mood disorder with psychotic features. At least, that is how I define it. I think it is very important within the recovery community to define your mental health condition, if you have one, in your own way, lots of times regardless of, and in spite of, clinical definitions. This is your life and your mental health condition. That being said, I will get back to the topic of how I dealt and am dealing with the pandemic around my condition. Along with the mood disorder, I am living with quite acute anxieties, which often I think are worse than psychosis or depression (which I also am living with). Those anxieties often manifest as social anxieties, which in turn manifest as trouble eating in front of others and being afraid to leave the house because I may not be able to reliably find a bathroom in time should I need to use one. Thus, when the pandemic hit I was stuck at home. You might have guessed it – less anxiety. And then there were the stimulus checks which I received although I was still graced with employment, and extra food stamps, which I also was grateful for (beyond measure) but did not need. This good fortune was much appreciated but came with a twinge of guilt because of all the people who needed those monies but did not receive them, or were suffering in some other way. I actually ameliorated some of my guilt by giving to charities. I remember joking with some friends that coronavirus had made me momentarily wealthy.
In August, I switched jobs because I was tired of working from home and because I did not totally like or agree with new management. I tried my darnedest to get along with them but they did not want to recognize my talents, abilities, or leadership skills; in fact, I felt that I was taken for granted, so it was time to move on.
I am still at that job at the hospital nearly four months later and am loving it. It is a very short commute so that my anxiety is not too bad getting there. I also did a ton of work mentally on myself and my potential anxieties as I was stuck at home during the early part of the pandemic. The pandemic actually allowed and facilitated my growth, which is really the root of my mixed feelings. I found ways to stay positive but a lot of people were suffering and so it could even be equated with survivor’s guilt. Regardless, I was able to develop and find new perspectives and some down time to really modify how I move about in the world mentally over the months stuck at home.
Whatever you have done for yourself and your mental health and wellness during this uncertain and even dire time period – you reap what you sow. Take care of yourself. Stay positive and work on your perspective of reality. Granted, these are hard times, but reality is whatever you make of it and whatever you are focused on. That said, find some peace and make the best of it. This pandemic has allowed us as a society, as you probably noticed, to wake up a bit to some of the more acute problems therein. Human nature is to stay positive naturally and make the best of it. Develop and realize your own natural goodness and will to survive. Capture your hope and try to hang onto it. That way you can take this time to take a hard look in the mirror (because you probably have the time) and make some changes so that you can become a legitimate part of the solution rather than staying a disgruntled part of the problem.