Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Do you feel all out of sorts? I do.
Without even consciously thinking about it, I can sense that life isn't quite right. In the midst of doing laundry and washing dishes and all the normal tasks, I have to will my shoulders to relax. Everything isn't wrong, but something is. Something definitely is.
And while it kind of seems like the world has stopped, it hasn't. Not exactly. The TV is still blaring news. The dog down the street is still barking. The little people in my house are still asking me for dinner. It's weird. In the midst of a pandemic... a large scale tragedy... what should I be feeling? Because I feel just like myself. Only different. Normal. But not. As if I am watching a movie - and waiting for the ending. No, maybe I am acting in the movie - but still waiting for the ending. Perhaps it is a dream, not a movie. But I can't wake up. How do I finish the dream and get back to normal? I am just standing here and the world keeps moving around me but not really and it is making me dizzy because I'm not sure what is reality and what is in my head and I just want to close my eyes and then open them and make all this go away. I just want to go back to normal. Whatever that is. Please. Let's just go back to normal.
Do you feel that, too?
I think tragedy brings a sense of vertigo. Vertigo is a sensation that the environment around you is spinning or rocking. It may be barely noticeable or it may be severe enough to interfere with everyday tasks. It may occur suddenly and end quickly, or it may last for days and days. Physical vertigo is a symptom caused by disorder in the body. And I think disorder in our world leads to a sense of emotional vertigo as well.
At this particular time, the disorder is on a large scale. Nearly everyone in our communities and states and countries and world are experiencing some degree of vertigo due to the concerns around CoViD-19. However, when this disruption happens on a smaller scale... an individual level... that person still experiences the symptom of vertigo. While the rest of the world continues to spin and move and rocket through the day, the affected individual is off balance and, likely, incapacitated because of it. In an effort to manage their symptoms, they need to lie still, to move slowly, to be treated gently.
Pause for a minute and pay attention to your symptoms in the midst of this pandemic. Are you experiencing emotional vertigo? Move carefully and cautiously through your day. And recognize that when someone you know experiences their own personal state of upheaval, they will also likely have vertigo. Be patient and walk gently beside them as you give them support.
I plan to continue to write in the coming weeks. And I plan to not write directly about CoViD-19. I need some space to think about other topics. Perhaps you do too. Because even though life is spinning pretty fast around me, I want to find a way to slow down, breathe deeply, and continue living and growing through this season of unsteadiness.