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Inflammation by Oli (April 2nd)



Throughout childhood and young adulthood, I had mild eczema most of the time. Then a few years ago it just completely cleared up for no obvious reason and I never had it again…until last week. The more frequent handwashing has inflamed a small patch on my hand. I’m not using this as an opportunity to complain about mild eczema! But I thought it was an apt metaphor for what I know lots of people are going through right now. The coronavirus health crisis has agitated and inflamed, bringing dormant thoughts and feelings to the surface that may have been undisturbed and at ease for years.

I feel that uncertainty is the primary form of agitation right now. The future of the country and the world is perhaps more uncertain than it has ever been in my lifetime. How many people will be harmed by the virus? How long will the social distancing last? What will be the impact on jobs? On schools? On housing? On mental health? On debt? On violence?

When the future is uncertain, I often find that I return to the past, I suppose it is where there is some stability. But for me, ruminating and playing memories on repeat is just as bad as speculating on an indeterminate future. Despite some of the negative associations that it has (such as over-promising on what it can help with) I have found mindfulness meditation helpful in the past and I feel this is good time to get back in the routine. Focusing on the present is easier said than done, but I think it might calm the agitation and inflammation, at least for today.

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