One of the greatest impact of the Corona virus long term impact on humanity might be increased mental health challenges, domestic violence, addictions etc. But we pray God to nullify all that. Unfortunately the impact will affect young and old, poor and rich, super powers and third world countries. The necessary global lockdown, while controlling the virus spread has heightened anxiety, domestic violence, fear and uncertainty. It’s important to admit that until people come to terms with the new norm of spending more time together as families, spouses, parents, siblings and willingly choose to resolve issues maturely, things are tough.
Depression, violence and abuse between spouses, between parents and children, between siblings might escalate. We need to go back to the family table, learn to reason together, listen to each other respectfully and when necessary, agree to disagree without fighting or arguing. As we quietly do this, we will discover talents and gifts in our families that we were too busy or proud to see in the past. Our attitudes in this crisis will define us and determine who and where we will be after all is done and the pandemic passes. However long and hard this is, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. We need to be sensitive and careful how we react and respond to everyone around us. Adults are facing job loses, inability to pay rents/mortgages, car notes, insurances etc etc. Let’s also be considerate of the grief our children and young adults are experiencing.
Many are genuinely missing their friends and teachers, games and extracurricular activities, major events like plays and recitals they had prepared for but now cancelled. Many had long waited, prepared for and dreamt of prom events, dances, limousines, graduations and parties. The younger ones are missing Birthday fun parties and gifts. A few young suicides have been shared during this pandemic and we cannot ignore that. The lockdown has isolated many from ageing parents and relatives at a very crucial time. Isolation and loneliness is weighing heavily on us all. Anxiety. Anxiety. Depression. Frustration.
A positive attitude is good but let’s carefully not obsess or insist on it. This indirectly shames/stigmatizes those anxious and afraid, causing them to try hide their genuine emotions instead of wisely sharing to get support. Denial of genuine emotions of fear etc can be lethal. Hiding and suppressing only prolongs and complicates things.
Triggering explosive conversations that can be avoided. Let’s encourage willing and healthy conversations. Discuss challenges and frustrations so we know everyone’s situation and provide support for all. I pray that families and communities will finally emerge out of the lockdown more patient, tolerant and compassionate, more understanding, better listeners etc. Instead of increasing depression and suicides, let’s fight these tendencies intentionally with patience, prayers and patriotism. Let’s choose to unite from families, communities, associations etc. Let’s define ourselves and not allow the pandemic to define who we become in future. Let’s all learn the necessary lessons forunity, healthier eating habits, self care both mentally, emotionally, psychologically and physically. Re-energize our family values for better parenting to raise creative, responsible and compassionate families and future leading men and women of faith and integrity.
We have all expressed fears and concerns of where the world was headed. Let’s use this God given chance from our families to change our direction and with his help navigate our future, our communities and the world at large to what helps and benefits us most. Surprisingly enough, the environment is gradually and surely healing itself with our minimum interference.
If we be still and let God be God, He will turn a painful season to heal, replenish and recreate our families, our nations and our universe into the beautiful productive earth he originally gave us. So sorry for the losses of lives and the devastating impact. But let’s hold each other’s hands prayerfully and cling together in wisdom and humility until the storm is over.
Our loving compassionate God is bigger than all our our pain and sorrow. May he wipe away all our tears, Encourage, Educate and Empower us to move on.
Dr. Penny Njoroge
DNA Official Chaplain and DNA CS Diaspora Mental Health and Depression Awareness