By Sharna Striar
It was March 17, 2020. New York City was bracing for a wave of pandemic victims. An unknown virus had invaded the world and New York, a melting pot of the universe, was falling prey. I was trying to determine where I would hide from its tentacles. Advised by friends I took my computer, the connection to my work and my virtual universe, and made my way to the airport despite all the restrictions that I would have to encounter. The plane had only 20 passengers and it steered its way to Florida to my family and second home. I felt sad to leave my city and I prayed for its safety.
Learning to navigate the risk of contracting this potential deadly virus was a soul-searching endeavor. Pods of people were formed who you trusted to safely avoid this silent killer. Trips to the stores were masked and stressful, and the toil of avoiding encounters with this Covid enemy was a big challenge.
As a psychotherapist I had to transition to a virtual format with its electronic challenges in order to communicate with my patients. My practice expanded as the adoption of this new reality impacted almost everyone’s lives. Activities and movement were profoundly restricted due to the need to quarantine. Many people found themselves addressing issues that they had cast aside or avoided. Many began to assess their wants and needs with intensity. Relationships and emotional support became center stage, as well as survival itself. Individuals with issues concerning sexuality and attachment struggled to find their way in a 24/7 environment with their partners, or alone separated from loved ones.
After experiencing a year and a half of Pandemic lifestyle, what are the lessons learned? For me, the appreciation of partnership, family and community, and knowing that I can still discover deeper parts of myself. How about for you?