Day 1726- Fear Versus Panic

Never allow fear to find lodgement within your being. Fear is a negative quality which destroys vitiates and saps and impairs your judgment. it clouds your reason, and prevents you from seeing issues clearly.- Silver Birch

I hate to take exception with Silver Birch because Silver Birch is a genius and most of what he says I agree with. But I want to take a little bit of an exception to what Silver Birch says about fear.

It’s trendy to say that fear is is a bad thing, and we should never have any fear in our life. I disagree with that. I think fear is a necessary emotion that that is a biological imperative that was developed by evolution to keep us alive. If you imagine being a caveman and you see a saber-toothed tiger, it’s good to fear that tiger and turn and walk or run the other direction. If you’re a person that doesn’t know how to swim, and there’s deep water, it’s good to have a natural fear of that water because getting into that water cost you your life. Our brain has developed this sense of fear to keep us safe and alive.

There’s a difference between fear and panic. Fear is the emotion. Emotions aren’t good or bad. They just are. Panic is our reaction to the emotion. If we substitute the word panic into Silver Birch’s quote, then I would agree with it.

“Never allow for panic to find a lodgment within your being. It has a negative quality, which destroys vitiates and saps. Panic impairs your judgment, panic clouds, your reason, and panic prevents you from seeing issues clearly.”- Silver Birch- paraphrased.

I think it’s it’s good to acknowledge our fear, to understand why we have the fear, and to think about that fear and our reaction to it. That is important.

Panic is never a good thing. When it comes to the coronavirus, or more accurately, Covid-19, there is a great deal of fear, panic, and even complacency. I think we need to control the fear. But, we need to listen to it. We need to understand why we have the fear. It’s there for a reason. We need to stop the panic. I also believe it’s important not to be complacent.

I don’t want to get political. But I do have to mention the fact that I think we’re behind the curve on this pandemic. We are playing catch up. Our government was complacent. I think they thought by locking down the borders and just cutting off travel to China, they could stop the spread of the virus. You’re never going to stop the spread of a virus by locking down travel. You can slow it down. I’m glad they did. I think that six weeks that they bought us might be crucial. But meanwhile, because they were complacent about preparations, we are not able to test here like where we should be. South Korea is testing 10,000 people a day. I’m not sure if we’ve tested 10,000 people total. We know we have outbreaks in pretty much, if not every state in the country. We don’t know how many are carrying the virus or who is already sick from it. I have a friend who is very ill and should be tested. Their doctor is saying they are only testing people who have traveled or been exposed to someone who has traveled. God only knows how many undocumented cases there are.

We don’t know how many people have already had it and recovered. We just don’t have those numbers. Since we don’t, it’s we have to act prudently. I am entirely in agreement with what’s been going on in terms of shutting things down. The NCAA has shut down the tournament for this year. I love March Madness. I am not happy about that at all. The NBA suspended the rest of their season. I look forward to watching the NBA Playoffs, which I’m not going to be able to do this year. Major League ball has suspended or at least delayed operations. I think these things are all wise. I’m happy about seeing state and local governments step up with school closings.

We can tend to be complacent because we feel like we’ve all heard this before. We’ve heard about Ebola. We’ve heard about MERS. We’ve heard about SARS. All of these things were going to kill us all. They came, and they went, and we were all okay, or most of us were. Some people did die. But this time, things are different. The good thing and the bad thing about Covid-19 is it’s basically like the flu in terms of symptoms and mortality. It spreads very quickly. But, since it’s new, none of us has antibodies from being exposed to it before. So it’s like it’s all getting the flu at once. And that’s what we want to avoid because it will be overwhelming to our healthcare system. If you want to see an example of how that could look, and we don’t want to go there, look at Italy right now, where they actually have to ration health care because too many people are sick at the same time.

It affects mostly the old and people with weakened immune systems. But, just like the flu cannon can kill other people. So, it’s something I think we take need to take very seriously. When people ask, “How is this different from the flu?” The answer I give is, it’s like it’s all of us getting the flu at the same time. If you think finding the store shelves bare becasue all of us bought toilet paper at the same time is bad, imagine this. Imagine us al getting the flu at the same time and what emergency rooms and hospitals would look like.

This pandemic is going to do damage to our economy. All of these shutdowns will hurt, particularly hourly workers and people who can’t work from home. That’s just a short term thing that we all need to get through.

I want to talk about some of the good things. This virus is kind of like the flu. So for most of us, we’ll get it, and we’ll get a little bit sick. We’ll get over it. Some of us won’t even know that we have it. The other good thing is I think there’s every reason to believe it’s seasonal. Viruses do not like warm weather. They are sunlight averse. Viruse are like vampires. In North America. We’re a few weeks away from spring. I think we’ll see this died down pretty quickly over the summer. I think it’ll be back in the fall and we will be ready for it.

For now, let’s use that fear to keep as many of us as safe as possible. If each of us takes personal responsibility, we can avoid massive disruption and deaths. I say, for now, shut it all down. I just voted to postpone our Helping Parents Heal conference, an event we’ve been working hard to plan for two years. We did not want to do it. But, it’s for the greater good. Do your social distancing. Wash your hands- you know the way you’re supposed to, not as I’ve done for so many years. Avoid crowds of more than 250 people, whether you feel like you’re vulnerable or not, because there are vulnerable people, and you can spread it to them. That would be my advice.

When it comes to fear, a little bit of fear is not a bad thing. As I said earlier, it keeps us safe. It’s what’s going to cause us to wash our hands. So it’s going to cost us to do the social distancing. That’ll keep us safe. Many say we are overreacting. This is just like all of those other things that were going to kill us all. I typically don’t have a lot of faith in people to do to the right thing. The toilet paper shortage reinforces that. But, the voluntary measures I see people taking encourages me. I hope in a few weeks, we can say that we did overreact, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.

I think we probably will be able to say we overreacted. But, I hope we don’t too quickly forget the fear. We need to learn a lesson from this. It’s exposing things about our healthcare system, where people don’t feel like they can afford to go in and get tested, for example. We’re telling people to stay home. They can’t afford to stay at home because they are hourly workers. Even if they’re salaried workers, many don’t have enough sick leave. What happens when we shut down schools months before the end of the school year? Who takes care of the kids?

We need to rethink these things. We need to consider our emergency preparedness. We need to look at how vulnerable we have become with so much manufactured in China.

Don’t have a cavalier attitude, even if it’s something that you don’t feel like is going to impact you personally. Let’s not be arrogant, assuming that nothing too bad can really ever happen to us. I understand why people might feel that way. Our generation hasn’t faced anything like this could turn out, our parents haven’t. We have to go back to like 1918 to see a really big global pandemic that killed a lot of people.

I don’t think this is going to be that our technology is so much better. We know how to control viruses better. We know how to test better, we will probably develop a vaccine. I don’t think that’s going to be for this initial wave. But I think we’ll develop a vaccine for this particular virus, you know, fairly quickly. So there’s a lot of reason to have hope that this won’t be, as bad as it could get. But it’s not going to happen through just magical thinking. It’ll only happen through action.

I think that this was sent to us as a lesson, as a wake-up call. And I’m hopeful that we will learn our lessons. If you don’t respond to the universe whispering to you, it will often start to shout to get your attention.

May all of our lessons be as painless as possible. Let’s do what we can to keep this curve flattened, to slow and maybe stop the spread of the virus. So be safe.

If you are feeling fearful, you’re feeling panicked, and you want to talk Talk to me. I’d be happy to speak with you. Go to my website www.grief2growth.com and book an appointment with me.

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