“People who are anxious about COVID-19 don’t have the peace from the Lord.”
Yes, this was actually said in my direction recently. I was immediately disheartened because this kind of theology made me feel isolated during my lowest of lows.
If you are a newish reader, let me give you a little bit of my background. I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and other illnesses derived from PTSD for the majority of my life. Between the ages of 14-18, I was at my absolute worst. I’ve learned that my body works best when I follow a plant-based diet. A few months after a suicide attempt, I started this blog and Lama-Leah went from there.
That comment about COVID-19 took me back to the years of praying for God to give me peace. I was always told that mental illness is a result of a spiritual issue. Because of the lack of understanding of how the brain works, I was frequently given scripture when I should have had medicine. I felt like God rejected me because no matter how much I prayed or went to church, things didn’t change. I was constantly being preached to give my burdens to Jesus but every time I tried that nothing really happened. I was still very sad for no apparent reason.
COVID-19 is unique because the anxiety is almost universal. We have reasons to fear for the health of our loved ones and for ourselves. For most areas of the world, we can’t stick to our normal routines or if we do we have to proceed with caution. We can’t visit loved ones at hospitals or nursing homes. The main thing the world is talking about is the virus and how devasting it is. Life is uncomfortable and frankly scary for everyone.
Besides that, the economy is suffering. Small businesses are shutting down, and from experience, it is nearly impossible to get ahold of anyone at the unemployment office. My second day of being laid off due to COVID-19, my body was almost in shock. I stressed myself out, worrying about how we were going to get our bills paid for next month. My immediate response was to go to the grocery store and stock up before the store ran out of food (thank goodness my boyfriend took me and kept me grounded before purchasing three years worth of tofu and coffee).
I am trying my best to stay calm by making sure I write a little bit each day, going on an afternoon drive, and talking to my mom. She tells me whats going on in her world, and occasionally sending me photos of her dogs. Saying that you are anxious because you don’t have Jesus is silly. There are thousands of religions out there. What you find peace in, your neighbor could find agony in. The other week, I shared about the Sunday school teacher who told me I was going to hell, it has taken me YEARS to feel less uncomfortable in evangelical churches. I have friends who feel uncomfortable attending the synagog that I grew up in, where I typically feel at ease. Are my friends “wrong”? Not at all. My point is, just because you found something that works for you does not make it necessarily right for everyone. We forget that not everyone finds peace in religion.
We are all handling things differently. Some are stocking up on groceries, others are ordering in, some are starting side hustles, while others are taking time to rest. As long as you are following CDC guidelines and intentionally others by mindlessly going out, there’s no right or wrong way to handle it.
I hope that this lengthy blog post didn’t offend you too much. 😉 My hope is that you are doing alright and that you find constructive ways to use your time. If you are bored, feel feel to reach out. Below are a few links about mental health to read as well.
All the love,
PC: Derek Hildebrandt
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