If you have ever visited a chiropractor or physiotherapist, you probably know a little about getting adjusted. Sometimes, it’s really painful and it can be hard to relax and just let the adjustments happen. It’s hard to trust and let go of control.
Then, afterwards, when things are back in place the way they needed to be, it all feels worthwhile. Movement’s less restrained, there is more room for growth.
We’re all in the midst of undergoing a massive social and educational adjustment and it’s hard to let go and trust. It’s particularly hard because a lot of us have no good reason to trust those in charge of the adjustments.
When I go to physio, I dread some of the physical manipulation that my therapist does, but ultimately I know it will help. I trust my therapist. I trust that he knows what he’s doing and he knows what’s best for me. He’s pooling his knowledge and making deliberate choices about what will result in the best possible long term outcome.
It’s still hard to relax sometimes and let it happen, but I truly believe it’s all for the best. I have been seeing him for a long time, he has helped me through some accidents and injuries. I have many reasons to trust him.
I can’t say the same thing about any of the people who are deciding what our society and school system should look like for this year.
I don’t trust that any level of our government knows what it’s doing, I don’t believe that they have my best interests (or the best interests of my children or students) at heart. I actually don’t believe that they’re even able to figure out what their own intentions are because they’re so clouded with fear and lack of useful knowledge.
There needs to be an adjustment. The problem is, no matter which way I turn, everyone is reacting from a place of fear. I don’t think that any good can come out of a fear based adjustment because fear only gives our brain 3 choices: fight, flight or freeze.
Fear does not give our brains a choice that takes the mental, psychological, economic, spiritual and physical aspects of our society into consideration. Fear can’t look long term. There’s a reason why a drowning person will drag you under if you try to rescue them. It’s not because they’re murderous, it is because they are scared.
Right now, I see a lot of people who are ready to either explode, or implode. They are both destructive states, the only difference is where the pressure is coming from. Imploding is the result of outside pressure becoming so intense that it causes inward combustion. Exploding is the result of internal pressure pushing outwards.
There needs to be an adjustment. An adjustment that stops parents from exploding and teachers from imploding. There needs to be an adjustment that takes the time to actually look at the mental health costs of Covid and of our reactions to it.
We’re being force fed a steady stream of numbers of how many people have tested positive and how many people have died. It’s enough to keep anyone living in fear, off-kilter with no perspective.
In 2018, there were 9.5 million people who died of cancer and 17 million people who were diagnosed worldwide. That’s a lot of people. The death rate for cancer is more than ten times higher than Covid, but we don’t stop everything and buckle down to find a cure for cancer. We haven’t even done simple steps like banning Cigarettes and other known carcinogens. Those numbers just keep going up, and there’s no global panic to stop them.
Each year, over 1.35 million people die in car accidents worldwide. That number is likely going to be similar to the Covid deaths if the numbers continue at the rate they are rising right now. But, we aren’t driving less or more safely. More than a million people are dying every year in a way that is mostly preventable and yet we aren’t doing a lot to stop it.
The difference of course is that neither cancer nor car accidents are contagious. Even though considerably more children and young people are dying of cancer and car accidents, Covid is scarier because it’s the invisible monster. We can’t see it, but it can get us and worse, we can help it get others.
Covid is given more importance not because it is the deadliest danger affecting humans but because it’s new and the stories we tell ourselves about what could happen scares us the most. Fear is governing our reaction to this deadly flu and our choices lack clarity, planning and consideration.
We need to adjust to what is happening in the world, but the adjustments we make are going to have lasting consequences. Let’s make them carefully, let’s look beyond just the daily tally of numbers to the long term mental health effects of social isolation and fear.
A good adjustment will result in the greatest amount of long term health (mental and physical) and stability for everyone. A bad adjustment can cause stagnation, decline and paralysis.
If you can, just for a minute, take off the lens of Covid. Let yourself look at the world without the fog of fear and doom. It’s ok to be afraid, but it’s good to have some perspective on what you are afraid of, especially when you are about to make some major adjustments.