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It’s no secret anymore that I live with PTSD. Millions of people do. And within the context of living with PTSD that struck me when my daughter died in 2005, this world pandemic has taught me something really strange. It’s given me a new start. And what I’ve learned may apply to other people who are struggling with PTSD, heightened anxiety or unrelenting stress that they struggled with in pre-pandemic times.

I’ve found as the world has slowly come to what seems like a complete standstill in many ways and amidst all the weirdness, I’ve been experiencing a wonderful feeling of relief. Now, you might think relief strange, but living with PTSD makes it challenging to navigate through life the way many people can. Any amount of relief feels like finding a little pot of gold.

A major symptom

One of the major symptoms I experience is not being as productive as I once was. Mentally I’m good to go. Physically, my body cannot catch up. Working against the symptoms of PTSD, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve envisioned life being a certain way, only having to resign myself once again to accepting there’s no way I could ever compete at the frantic pace of the pre-pandemic world.

Of some consolation was that I’d long felt everyone not already vulnerable to the online craziness that had become so much a part of our lives was certainly vulnerable to it. Where to feel successful was a result of one’s virtual “likes”. To even achieve success was entirely dependent on the hours one could commit to being a player and the better tricks they could employ to win followers; competing at a frenzied pace against people willing to commit bolder acts within the confines of an increasingly degenerative social media. That same social media that in the hands of one’s collective determined an individual’s worth (good or bad) and lasting popularity. All of which in my view was a recipe for disaster and non-starter for me to even try to get in the game.

All of us sent back to “Start”

The pandemic has in many ways forced everyone back to “start”. We now have an opportunity to re-evaluate what’s important in life. What we want our priorities to be. What we can live without. How we want to conduct ourselves in business. Use social media. Make virtual connections more meaningful.

With everyone in the same boat, these days I feel I have nothing and no one to compete against. I have all the time in the world to do life my way and in my own time. The same as millions of people. There’s no rush to be anywhere. My mind is relaxed. No one has more of an advantage because they are more capable.

During this pandemic, I’ve found people are kinder. More considerate. We all know we have to wait the same amount of time to get into the store. We all lack access to the same services and travel. We’ve all lost some freedom. We’re all spending more time in comfy clothes and letting our hair grow. What was cool isn’t anymore.

My relief is palpable. Maybe it is for anyone who was feeling pressure to be and do more in a world that seemed like it was spinning out of control. In this time of pandemic, we all get to start over from wherever we were.

Will the world ever be the same?

Personally, I don’t think the world will ever be the same. I believe that the choices we make in how we want to conduct ourselves going forward together and individually will play a huge part in how we experience life in the future.

Whether we are personally suffering or not during this time of global change, there are lessons to be learned through our heightened sensitivities. In our willingness to work together to find our way forward. In how we have reconnected with a desire to comfort and help each other more readily.

Sometimes change comes to us that wouldn’t be as effective experienced any other way. This pandemic may be just that. An opportunity for everyone to find a little pot of gold.

Live well and stay safe.

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