When isolation orders went out and people were forced to work from home, most of us assumed this would be a strange few weeks but the world would be back to normal shortly.
More than a month into self-isolation, we’re starting to see the cracks. Unemployment spiking, the stock market plunging, protestors flooding outside state houses to demand governors let them endanger themselves by reopening the economy. Panic is a strong word, but many people are starting to lose their cool.
If not their cool, then their patience, poise, or balance. It’s a damn stressful time, who could blame them? Normal people are not used to being this self-isolated, distraction-free, and frequently aimless.
When More/Medavoy was forced to work from home, my addict brain thought, “I’m not being held accountable. I can use and do whatever I want and nobody will know.” I figured people like me would be having a field day, relapsing with impunity and loving life without accountability.
But as the first few days went by, I was surprisingly calm. I fell into a new, healthy routine fairly quickly. I was productive, active, and felt a strange sense of peace that I still feel to this day. When I asked my sponsor why I was feeling so opposite of how I expected to, he said my experience is surprisingly common.
People who have been through recovery, it turns out, are at ease during this crisis. Addicts, bipolar people, depressed people, have extensive experience with being completely out of control. We’re so familiar with helplessness, that we’re comfortable with the entire world shutting down. When you’ve already lost control of your own destiny, it’s easier to accept when it runs away from you again.
There’s a lesson in this strange reality. When you learn to let go of the things you can’t control, you can thrive in the chaos. Those of us who have had control wrested from us by our own chemically imbalanced, volatile brains and survived to await the next attack, have already learned the value of a deep breath. In a weird way, the most emotional people are most equipped to be the calmest through this stressful moment in history.
You can say, “This is fucked up, I don’t know what to do,” or you can discover the positives. How much more are you reading? Are you spending more time with your kids [pros and cons]? Have you developed new skills or interests? We may not have control over the world, but we have so much control over what we do with each self-isolated day.
So many people spend their lives bottling up emotions and working so hard to control all aspects of their days. Of course, agency is important, being present and active and engaged in your own life is crucial to your success, especially in Hollywood. But being able to let go of the reins when things don’t go your way is equally important. Hopefully, you don’t have to go through a clinical condition to do it. But as the country suffers through an illness, it’s a good time to reflect on your relationship with control and learning how to live with less of it.