Something fun happened the other day that made me very happy on the inside, and I wanted to share it with you because I know it will make many of you happy as well. I had a patient that I hadn't seen in almost two years come in. We started talking about what was wrong with her and what was wrong when she came in, and she gave me a beautiful anecdote. She explained that she hadn't come in to see me because she hadn't been leaving her house much owing to covid. She told me she was terrified of catching it and dying.
She withdrew herself, worked from home, played with her dogs, and organized everything in order to avoid the danger she now saw in the world. She informed me that she had been living in her own little cocoon until one day when she went on Facebook and discovered that one of her pals had married. While messaging with her, she discovered that another of her old pals had given birth. She admitted to me that she had given up a year and a half of her life. It had vanished and would not return.
Her belief was that she was so frightened of being ill and dying that she essentially killed herself. Her employer adored her since she was essentially living to work. Always available, always on, her sole relationship with people was through work, and she began to feel as though she needed it. When she saw other people live, she decided to be brave and walk back out into the world. The amusing part is that she went out a couple of times and caught covid within a couple of weeks of being out.
It took her 5 days to recover completely, and she admitted that it wasn't fun, but it wasn't all that horrible. She informed me that it was little in compared to the time she had lost and the relationships she had allowed to erode. She is now living a life she did not previously live because she has a new appreciation for life. I wanted to convey this story to give us all a glimmer of hope. Yes, the period we live in is more dangerous, but people are beginning to realize that people, relationships, and life are more essential than fear.
They are beginning to lament their isolation and are increasingly eager to leave. People are becoming seen as more essential than safety. It's as if this experience was beneficial to certain folks in small ways. This incident has taught many of us the worth of life and the necessity to value and live it rather than fear it.
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Dr. Matt Chalmers
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