As someone who has lived with anxiety for the better half of my life, I have always been told just to imagine the most beautiful place. Somewhere that I could be at peace in and whatever it is that is causing my anxiety does not exist there.
So, what I would do is I would think about this beautiful meadow with a gentle breeze. When you turn your gaze to the left, you see this giant tree just looming over the meadow with a little swing hanging from this big branch. If you walked up to the tree, there would be clearing, and you would see a beautiful view like the one in Lion King when Timone and Pumba were showing Simba their home. There would be birds and butterflies everywhere, rabbits, deers, bugs, owls. It was the most serene place, and yet it only exists in my mind.
I was able to cope with all my anxiety when I visited that place, it had calmed me down for sure, but I eventually started to want to be able to see such beauty in real life. I would watch videos online about wildlife and how the ecosystem works. It turns out, everything is connected, and it got me thinking. If everything in this world is connected, then our reality today can somehow be connected to a previous event or circumstance.
Theorists call this the butterfly effect – It is where a small event that previously happened caused a bigger event to happen. So, I guess we could say that people eating bats with the coronavirus had caused this pandemic, and then this pandemic caused economic breakdown, health care system failures, and deaths.
Is it not fascinating to think that all of the world’s problems today had started with a few people eating bats and traveling to other countries? We never really know how our actions can affect others, which is why it is always a good thing to think about how we could affect others with our words and our actions.
Surely a single word could not be of harm? Unfortunately, it is very harmful. To a person who is on the brink of ending his or her life, a single word could be the push that they need to just go for it. People with mental illness have what they call triggers, and these triggers can be anything. It could be words, actions, smells, events, basically anything that may remind them of a traumatic event in their lives. For people with eating disorders, a simple “Hey, you gained weight” can be a big stressor for them, and it could send them spiraling and falling back into their old harmful ways.
Not every mental illness can be helped by just going to a happy place like I do which is why we should always aim to be careful when we talk and interact with people because we never know what may trigger them and if we do trigger them, we have to make sure that we make them feel safe and understood. We are never there to judge, but instead, we have to apologize for triggering them and assure them that you are there for them no matter what.
That is the circle of life. What we do to others comes back to us. What we do to our environment may one day come back and haunt us. So, we have to take a stand against climate change and a stand against the stereotypes of mental illness. This quarantine is our chance to be productive while doing our best to stay at home. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and do it.