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Our Minds During Coronavirus Pandemic

by Carla Lopes, Sweden

Some words, not as psychologist, only as a person. Not available for any kind of psychological support. Too busy supporting my own mental health, I dare to say.

Psychologists, before being professionals, are only people on their own, just like any other person, but with a raised psychological awareness. And thereby, not immune to this health crisis. For this reason, I am minding my own health, but also, I am minding any person who uses this major crisis to promote their own business, career, status, or otherwise "beneficial" position.

Physical health is deeply connected, intertwined with mental health. Mental health comes first, guiding our thinking patterns and behavior. Words shape our mind and are shaped by our mind. The words we use shape our emotions and are shaped by them. The so called mental balance is simply a manageable, dynamic, purposeful balance, between our thoughts and emotions.

For this reason, I am minding my own words and the words used within my social circle. Our social circle deeply affects our mental health, specially when not kept in check. I'm just as concerned with clearing up my mind, as I'm concerned with raising my boundaries, just like any European country is doing now, as a protection from toxic people. They act as a mental virus. The ones who spread their negativity without the tiniest awareness. Who show their aggressive, unbelieving or judgemental side. Who pretend to be trying to help, by giving unsolicited support, thereby disclosing their own need for support.

Indianapolis Museum of Art
Right of Assembly by Arthur Siegel, 1939

I am minding myself, by this so sensitive moment, and all kind of projections, by paying close attention to the words used by me or others. I am not taking it personally. That would only reveal my own fragility. I am taking it as their own mental condition. But I am also taking the necessary measures for my own mental protection. Projection is the psychological movement we do to contaminate another person with our own (but not  acknowledged) negativity, psychological disease. Projection means mental contamination. 

When facing a major threat, a health crisis, our immediate response is to act, the so called "fight or flight response". But that would mean "to project aggressiveness towards the world around" or "to run away, to evade, plagued by fear".  Always good to remember that aggressiveness is nothing else than disguised fear. So the major challenge now is to manage our own and others overwhelming fear.

I've decided to try a new approach, according to the meditation and mindfulness principles. I've decided to SIT STILL. Not to fight against Sweden and its citizens (who the hell I think I am ?!), not to complain about it (I'm here in their place, in their home, who do I dare to complain while being here, by my own choice ?!). Not to grow resistance and defense mechanisms. As the real truth is that it's a whole new system, we're naturally scared of anything new, I feel small in this big country and scared of being engulfed by the system. Engulfed by the unknown. Not to flight back to my home country and to my parents house. That would mean to go back in my own personal development. A regression, out of fear.

I've decided to sit still and to take it as it is. To make Sweden my new home country and to take the necessary steps to integrate and be integrated in this new place. To accept that we are facing a huge health loss, death, mental disease in its variations, and to take the necessary steps to protect myself from physical and mental virus. To be aware of catastrophic ideas such as job loss, lack of resources and its consequent behavior of irrational, compulsive buying. To be aware of non sense ideas of contamination. The virus can't be brought into our homes if we take proper, adequate measures outside. To split our homes in a contaminated/clean area would mean to split our mental space. It would lead to an increased, unnecessary, level of anxiety. To moderate my use of technology and social network, and to practice mental isolation. Meditation. Mindfulness. A focused strategy. Just like Sweden is doing right now in its apparent relaxed approach to Coronavirus. To avoid navigating online, if not necessary. If we pay close attention to the news and our social circles online, we can easily be mentally affected by the toxic environment we're living at a global scale.

For this reason, I choose to refrain myself, in order to think clear over the outcome of this situation, the impact it will necessarily have on me, as individual.

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