The Silver Linings of COVID-19
by Christina Captain, DAOM, MSAOM, MSHN, MA, AP
I have been feeling tired lately—no...weary more aptly describes my current status. Like you, dear reader, I have experienced that endless sensation of “Groundhog Day,” the redundancy of life activities on repeat each day without something to look forward to.
In fact, this has been the extent of my routine of late: Dress for work (or not), begin work, eat then eat some more, maybe venture out for a grocery shopping trip, attempt to schedule a vaccine appointment, return to the workday, come home (or just head into the next room), maybe exercise but surely eat and possibly drink again, watch the talking heads, then drift off the sleep, and start it all over again tomorrow.
During the past several months, hope was hard to capture and seemed so far away. But knowing that I needed to make a change, I consulted my most valuable asset—my patients. So I asked them, “What do you find valuable about the pandemic isolation?” Or in other words, “Is there a silver lining for you?”
For the most part, I heard the answers of reconnection with family, home improvement projects, respites from business travel, more money saved, a rescue pet and so on. Some of my patients also expressed anger with those who refuse to acknowledge the crisis, wear a mask and take other precautions, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, those who are angry because they are forced to acknowledge there is actually a pandemic crisis.
Then, one of my astute patients told me that she felt a sense of loss due to the isolation this pandemic has created. This strongly resonated within me, and I thought, “Yes! There is so much loss. As a collective society, we are mourning our “everything.” Our way of life has been disrupted so much so that many have plummeted into despair.
It occurs to me that, in one way or another, our entire community is experiencing some level of daily hopelessness, anger, loss, anxiety or depression. So what can we do then in response? How can we change this seemingly collective experience? How do we recapture hope? My reflections took me to a place of remembrance.
Some time ago, I became interested in how individuals overcame extreme trauma, how they persisted despite all odds. How was it that a human being could endure unimaginable acts of violence (both physical and psychological), imprisonment, bereavement or other traumatic experiences, and yet still persevere?
Entering my research mode; I read a dissertation on compensatory techniques women utilized to survive the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. I watched a documentary on John McCain’s torture and imprisonment by the North Vietnamese during the war. I would never compare our pandemic isolation with these two events, but I will draw a parallel from them. I found that the common thread was hope that there would be an end—hope that they would both individually and collectively “make it.”
The question then became: How did they capture this elusive hope? And that, dear reader, brings me to faith. I’m not talking specifically a religious faith, but rather, a faith in what could be—a faith that indeed there would be a future of new beginnings. Both the women in the concentration camps and the heroes of the “Hanoi Hilton” were able to capture hope because they could also cultivate faith.
They could believe, both as individuals and as a community, that indeed there was life after the present now. Both groups communicated that to each other with secret messages and codes to remind one other, “ I am still here, and so are you. We can and will make it.”
The important point not to be missed in this brief reflection on our pandemic is not just that faith is a stepping stone to hope, but that we need the collective to “make it” effectively. We need each other. We need communication, compassion and physical contact. For me, this is the silver lining. The recognition of love that we can give and receive.
Consider this my message to you that “I am still here, and so are you. We can and will make it” to the other side of this pandemic. Until then, cultivate your faith so much so that it becomes your stepping stone to hope.
“He who has a why to live can endure almost any how.”
Dr. Christina Captain is nationally board-certified by the National Commission for Certification in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is the lead practitioner at Sarasota Center for Acupuncture and Nutrition. Dr. Captain is also an expert Feng Shui practitioner and teacher who studied under Nancilee Wydra of the Feng Shui Institute of America, before originating her own style, Essential Balance Feng Shui. Since this discipline is a branch of Oriental Medicine, she often blends Feng Shui principles into her treatment plans. Her practice is located at 2650 Bahia Vista St., Suite 101, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-951-1119 or email [email protected]