Something has been on my mind for a few days now.
I know you have seen the comments made on social media about how we should be grateful that we are only being asked to stay at home, instead of fighting the war.
Well, these kinds of statements are very dangerous to our mental health.
These words are hurting us more than we know.
We are told to respond to this self isolation the way our ancestors did during the Spanish flu of 1918. Or even, the way our grandparents processed loss in World War II.
We are being told, how dare we not be grateful to sit at home.
How dare we forget the people in poverty without homes and fridges with food.
How can we not step outside of our spoiled little selves and be grateful that this is not war, we are not hungry and we have a roof over our heads.
And just like that. With these words thrown at us.
We all become invisible. Shamed by society’s words.
This is how we lose people to drugs, alcohol and suicide.
How we fail to validate depression and sorrow in the year 2020.
I want to yell at them how dare you compare our inner battles we fight every day with the physical wars of our ancestors.
The only difference is which direction we point the gun.
Just because we can eat a bagel or sit on a couch playing video games, it doesn’t mean we are safe. Depression doesn’t have that kind of logic.
Did you know that loneliness is one big menace?
It is being said that it is as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
That 3.4 million people who felt lonely and lived alone were in danger of premature death as much as obesity endangers us.
And the sad news is that at least 42.6 million Americans over age 45 feel completely alone. Social isolation is also linked to a higher chance of having Alzheimers.
Imagine how much worse these numbers will get if we don’t provide understanding and validation of our pain during the loneliest times of our lives.
I am not saying we should stop self isolating.
I am saying we should stop comparing ourselves with how this was done 100 years ago.
And how people with material means would suffer less than people without.
The inner battle of the war we face is as deadly as war, homelessness and hunger. The couch is not safe.
Especially when you are the only one sitting there every day.
The more we take away the validity of our suffering during this pandemic the more people we are killing.
Drugs and alcohol exist because of how lonely we are when our hearts are broken.
The couch is our war zone.
Drugs are our silent killer.
Alcohol is a short term buddy.
One day, researchers will write about the people we lost during quarantine by minimizing their pain.
What should we be doing instead?
Look for the invisible wars inside people’s living rooms and bedrooms.
Show them that you get how hard this is.
Validate their experience.
We may be sitting on the couch but our minds are fighting War World III.
Here’s to more seeing of our invisible wounds and saving each other’s lives.
With a big battlefield inside,
P.S. If you need some company come join me in our Life Reentry group.
Christina Rasmussen is the creator and founder of The Life Reentry Institute, Second Firsts, and Star Letters, and the host of the Dear Life Podcast. Christina is on a crusade to help millions of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of their own minds. Christina’s work has been featured on ABC News, NPR, The White House Blog, and MariaShriver.com. She is the bestselling author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, which has also been translated in Chinese and German and just released her second book Where Did You Go on expanding the mind in ways that allows co-creation with the forces of the universe. She is also writing her first work of fiction: a science fiction story about a woman on a quest to start over and begin a new life. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.
Image courtesy of Rodolfo Marques.