This isn’t a particularly original idea, but damn has 2020 thrown one curve ball after another at me and my anxiety. I used to just worry about making sure I looked decent when I left the house; worry whether I had my phone, wallet, and keys, etc; but now, now I have to worry about if I have a mask, is that mask clean, what about the other people I see when I am out, are their masks clean? And don’t get me started on the people who don’t think masks work.
Indeed, whether it is isolation or fear of a deadly pandemic, the fact is many people are experiencing heightened anxiety at the moment. I know I am not the only one who is experiencing this. And perhaps that is part of the reason I am writing this, to remind people who are struggling with pandemic anxiety or seasonal anxiety or both, that you are not alone, that is okay to not be okay sometimes, and that this will pass.
2020 isn’t for ever. In fact, it isn’t even for another month. It is almost done. And with a vaccine on the horizon, there is more reason than ever to be hopeful, even amid the concerning spikes happening around the country and the new waves creeping up on other nations. And I know from my own recovery that the anxiety that comes with all of this will pass as well.
And so when I think on all these things, I can sarcastically say thanks 2020, thanks for all the new things to be anxious about, .Thanks, because the old anxieties were just getting stale. It is always good to spice things up with new anxieties, so thank you.
But in all seriousness, 2020 has brought new anxieties that I am thankful for. 2020 saw the opportunity for me to spend more time with my wife since we were both home more. It saw the birth of my first child, who I love more than I could know. And of course with her birth came a whole host of new anxieties. Yet her cuteness and my love for her outweighs any negative from those anxieties. So when it comes to my daughter and the anxieties I feel over what kind of father I will be, I am, in all seriousness, thankful to 2020.
Because ultimately, any year is going to have its share of good and bad. Yes, 2020 brought both more good and more bad than most years, but that doesn’t mean 2021 won’t have its own new anxieties. My point? Sometimes it is easy to focus on external events, even if they are as arbitrary as specific calendar year. But good and bad events will always be there, as will my anxiety. So to finish this post on a more serious, yet more positive note. Thank you 2020 for helping me realize that and separate my mental illnesses from events that may impact it, because that lesson has helped me manage my recovery better than ever before. And that is something to be thankful for.