As she always does, Sue shares an intelligent and open-hearted take on what is going on now, whenever “now” is and whatever “now” is asking us to deal with.
PTSD and hope
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
After almost four years of anxiety and fear, my world has moved into one of possibility and calm. I have had at least a couple nights of sleep now.
In California, the virus has begun a downward trend, though we are definitely not out of the woods yet. It is like when one is on a long trip: you wonder if you are on the right road and then you see the big green sign indicating you are, indeed, on the right one—just way more miles to go than you thought.
The vaccine is here, and I have even been blessed with my first shot. The process was incredibly well organized. We arrived at 2 for a 2:45 drive-through appointment, as I am perennially early. Volunteers checked confirmations, identifications, temperatures, and directed traffic. There were twelve lanes where the shots were administered by doctors and nurses. In less than fifteen minutes, we were vaccinated by a nurse from Florida. She usually works in pediatrics and has honed her shot-giving skills to the max. I barely felt it. Then the mandatory fifteen-minute wait to assure that there are no adverse reactions. A doctor who monitored this area chatted with us while we waited.
All of the staff were friendly and overjoyed that they were able to provide this service. It was a delight to be able to thank these health care workers in person for their tireless work over the last year. We were in and out in thirty-five minutes. One day with a sore arm is a small price to pay.
So there does, at last, appear to be a light at the end of this tunnel. I can imagine feeling safe enough to do my own grocery shopping again. Perhaps, there is a professional haircut, massage and a manicure in my future as well.
The political scene has changed, too, becoming much bleaker before Biden was, at last, sworn into office. The old darker before the dawn cliché. Though the insurrection horrified me, the fact that the culprits are being jailed and charged brings a sense that this might, in fact, be one of those blessings in disguise.
Over one hundred members of radical right-wing groups have been arrested, another two hundred are under investigation, and the best news of all is that the community at large has helped identify and find these scumbags. Someone’s ex-wife, a daughter, the co-worker of someone else’s son, all had the courage and will to right action to report these people to the authorities. That instills hope in my heart that the words and actions Trump took to support and embolden these hateful people will be nullified or at least muted. I take perverse pleasure in noting that these groups now see Trump as weak and have turned their back on him.
When one person suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is a long and tortuous path to healing, even if that person is blessed with a patient, loving family and good medical care. We are an entire world that has just barely escaped the toxic tenure of Trump and we are still in the throes of this devastating virus. Who will be the supportive family? We grieve and mourn our losses at a distance now. Healing has begun with the vaccines and the new administration and the arrests. Through community support, loving kindness and right action, we will all move toward healing the traumas we have endured one day at a time. Please stay safe.