The world right now is almost unrecognisable from what it was nearly two months ago. Instead of crowded streets and traffic-filled commutes to work, we have empty highways and online meetings. Instead of sameness and routine, we have change and uncertainty. It is like we are in a constant state of culture shock.
Society is so focused on physical health, symptoms, staying safe and healthy. Although it has been mentioned a bit, I feel there needs to be a priority on mental health. As a team, we need to check in on one another. Everyone is handling this unprecedented time differently and although we may not all be showing it, this is taking a toll on each and every one of us.
From the outside looking in, a girl very close to me is very successful. She is the lead of a team at her company, making a difference in the lives of children with autism. She has just been accepted into a Master’s program at Western university, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this girl is determined, driven, and passionate about what she does.
However, what was unclear from the rest of the world, was the anxiety, inner demons, and fear of failure, that drove her success. When her world of routine and sameness changed so fast; it was easy for her to fall into a world she no longer recognised, a world of fear and anxiety. In this world, things got so bad that she could no longer separate thought from fact. Her body was trying to justify the physiological feelings of anxiety by convincing her that things were real, when in fact they weren’t. She couldn’t trust her own thoughts; she was scared to talk to anyone in case those conversations triggered another attack. All she wanted to do was sleep and escape reality because that’s where her own thoughts couldn’t haunt her there.
Now this is one of the strongest girls I know, so she wasn’t going to let this beat her, as hard as it was. She talked to me, she talked to her family, and most importantly, she talked to her doctor and got the help she needed. Days aren’t always perfect for her; she’s tired all of the time and needs to force herself to trust her thoughts again, but she’s got the relief that she needs, and the relief that so many other people may be desperately needing as well.
Now more than ever, it is so important for us to check in on each other. Even the strongest and most successful people can be secretly struggling.
We are a team and we owe it to each other to check in, reach out, say hi, give a smile, ask how our teammates are doing, and mean it. We owe it to each other to make sure we are doing the best we possibly can. Together.