I am definitely emotionally compromised. My father, who was extremely abusive died a week before I started work on this project. We had not spoken in 13 years. My doctor told me that dealing with the death of an abusive parent can be harder than losing a loving one. It brings everything back to you and you are stuck swinging between grief, anger and PTSD. She's not wrong. I guess the point is that I didn't come into this in great shape to begin with.
Overall I am proud of how I have been handling everything but it's time for me to take a break, maybe even a couple of days. It's not like the world is going to go anywhere and my work will still be available to people. I need to remind myself that I am not responsible for everything that happens in the world. I grew up feeling like that. The person I am today is relatively the same as when I was a child. I have always loved others, even strangers and have a need to go out of my way to help them. But I also came to believe that it was my responsibility. That everything was always my fault and if I failed to fix something, I was responsible for it, even if I didn't cause it. Wow, this journal thing really does help me to figure things out! Anyway...
When I first learned about the virus from my husband, I am ashamed to admit that I figured it was no big deal. I am a pretty isolated person and spend most of my free time either reading or working on music. But I always check into things when I find out something new. From the first post I read I knew something wasn't right. I started to rapidly mine data that had come out of China and the picture it painted did not comfort me at all. I remember how I felt when I found out they had sealed Wuhan. I knew there was no way that people who were infected had not gone literally all over the planet. We knew THEN that it could infectious before symptoms showed. As each new piece of the puzzle was learned the feeling of urgency grew.
I knew that the infection was spreading in the US unnoticed. After myself and others looked at the flu data and noticed it was unusual, it just confirmed what we already suspected. I worked day and night on research and guides. I worked with others to raise awareness both for the human rights atrocities in China and the threat to the entire world. I had expected the western world to ignore things to begin with but never in my worst nightmares did I expect the reality of the apathy and stupidity that resulted.
And now here we are today. France has joined the epidemic party and Italian citizens and healthcare workers scream their warnings into the void, the same way people in China did. And aside from the few of us who are taking this seriously, their warnings are in vain. I simply can't believe the people who talk about what a great and unprecedented job the US is doing. It is absolutely crazy! All we did was refuse the WHO tests, putting us behind the infection, and stop letting foreign nationals come in from hot zones. That isn't even the bare minimum. So far all we have is a lot of money and no real plans to go with it. The president told the world that google was taking care of test screenings and that the app would tell people what to do. Too bad he hadn't talked to Google about it! They said they had no idea what he was talking about! They have a pilot program in California that they worked with local officials on but that's it!
Citizens can still come from the hot zones and are merely "screened" but not tested. Then they are "asked" to stay home for 14 days! Not that that is enough time anyway mind you! The virus can hide for 27+ days anyway! They are not quarantining those known to be exposed, so they can quarantine the sick all they want but the asymptomatic spreaders will just keep running around spreading it anyway. More people will be infected and more people will die and no one seems to care much about it!
Meanwhile Iran is in flames, something weird is going on in China and Italy is just locked down in a Hail Mary attempt to slow all the sickness and death! The worst part? Is that we KNOW how to control it! Other countries like South Korea and Singapore have had varying levels of success. But the President keeps acting like an idiot and refuses to address the public properly. He needs to tell all citizens that the storm is coming and give them instructions on how to weather it. Until that happens or there are dead in the streets, people will keep going to the mall and flying to Vegas! Oh and buying toilet paper for some damn fool reason! What the hell is up with the toilet paper?
All this does is confirm what I already know. People have no idea what is coming or how to prepare for it. We need every man woman and child to take to their communities and figure out childcare for children of the sick and the dead, BEFORE parents are sick and dead. We need massive medical training classes to make up for the nursing shortage and all the healthcare workers who are going to die soon because they didn't have proper safety gear. We need factories built and quarantines enforced. They still can't even watch the "quarantined" people we have! A few days ago one infected person broke quarantine to go get her nails done! I am NOT kidding! All the things that have been done so far are just smoke and mirrors. They don't actually stop the spread. Some states are doing better than others but as long as even one state is handled badly our country is in danger. And it is WAY more than one state screwing all this up. They ALL are to varying degrees.
I found out today that in the UK they are telling nurses to just use standard flu protocol! Nothing but a flimsy paper mask and apron to protect them while people in FULL PPE sometimes get infected anyway. This virus is bad. Far worse than what China officially reported. But it is the selfish, botched response from the western world and it's citizens that is going to crash everything. I can see it, and I know what needs to be done, but I can't stop it! I can't do anything that actually effects the situation until the government pulls it's head out of it's ass and they get the general public moving. All I can do is help individuals to be more "ready." I'm grateful I can do that, I really am! But I am absolutely losing my mind over the insufficient response from authorities.
It isn't like they don't know what this virus can do. They can see the effect in other countries far better than I can. We have known about the asymptomatic spread and the 27+ day incubation period since the last week of January. The only information I have access to is public. Anyone can do what I am doing. It is only in recent weeks that I have had direct contact with people inside other badly effected countries, and they aren't telling me anything I didn't already know or suspect.
So why? Why is all this happening? Why won't they lock it down and tell the public how to protect not just their lives but their WAY of life? Because make no mistake, that worst case scenario article I wrote is not only possible but becomes more likely as each day goes by. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. All our important knowledge is held by a precious few. How many people know how to run all the different kinds of power plants? How many know how to run a city water system, or a modern farm, or preform surgery or make a car, or extract and refine oil, or anything else for that matter?! And the people with the most knowledge, the older and less athletic people are at the most risk!
It's like watching a blind man heading straight for an open well, and no matter how loud you try to scream to warn him, he just keeps walking! THAT is what this feels like! And I don't mean to say that I am the only one who knows all this. There are others, hundreds and maybe even thousands of us. But even a lot of them are still failing to see the entire picture or understand what needs to be done.
I had someone today tell me that they were prepped and ready with their family and not to worry about all the stupid people. The virus would kill them off and we would be better for it! Aside from the moral implication, that is one of the most shortsighted things I have ever heard! Exactly how long is he planning to hide for? This isn't a one and done kind of disaster. It is a slow war of attrition regardless of how fast the virus moves compared to others. And what happens when all those people die and aren't there to make more food and medicine and keep the lights on? Who fixes the downed powerlines and broken watermains when they are either sick, dead or swept up in the chaos caused by the first two? Everyone expects someone else to deal with the problem but there is no one else! It's just us, it's always been just us.
I live a very isolated life. Due to the horrors in my past I have serious anxiety and depression issues. Plus I have an auto immune disorder and an injured spine. It's not like I could go run around exposed to all the germs and injuries that everyone else can anyway. My world has been raising my children, helping my husband with his career, my music and my books. Thank the Lord for my books! I have been known to read entire 350 page novels from start to finish on nights when I can't sleep. Books and the arts have been my world for as long as I can remember. How easy would it be to just slip back into that world now? How easy to just leave everyone else to their own devices and wait for my fate to find me. I almost wish I could do it!
But I won't. I know I won't. I'm just hurt and angry right now. I know that. In a short time I will calm down. I will regain my focus and keep trying to help whoever I can. What else can I do? Most people don't have the time to put in like I do. My painful past may for once, lead to some good for others. My children are grown and I have the time and skills to do this. I am not capable of ignoring problems once I know they exist. I would be studying this virus and recording the events regardless. So why not help other people who may not have the time and resources to do this themselves?
I understand that apocalypses happen to people every day. I know all too well how an individual's life can be shattered in the blink of an eye. That's how I know, despite everyone saying otherwise that it CAN happen to anyone and everyone. There is no such thing as immunity from tragedy. It doesn't matter where you live or how much money you have. I have lost everything several times. I know how to build from nothing and how to survive against the odds. This is a fight that I am well suited for...If only I could stop crying!
I feel heart wrenching sorrow for all the people who gave their lives to warn us, for all those suffering and dying. I feel gutted that there is nothing I can say or do that will ease any of their pain. I will never forget the faces and voices of the dead who I have seen and had contact with. My heart breaks for the people still going about their daily lives unaware of what is coming because for reasons I will never understand, their government and media chose not to prepare them. I know that the emotions I am expressing may sound overblown or even arrogant. No one person can stop this. It isn't in my power or my responsibility to stop the sickness and death. But I can't just change the way I was raised to think. For better or worse my past shapes how I respond to my present and future. I just need to take a break and regain my perspective.
I will forever be grateful to Danielle who first suggested that I write this journal and share it. Just knowing that someone else COULD read it makes it easier for me to put emotions into words. Just getting all of this out has made me feel calmer and more able to cope with things. If you are reading this and struggling, I want you to know you are not alone. I may not know you and probably will never meet you but I love you all the same. We are all brothers and sisters and together we can take suffering and turn it into something beautiful. Stay safe, you aren't alone.