Children born today will never remember a world before this crisis.
Before we knew how good we had it, how lucky we were. How much we took our civilisation for granted.
In the weeks and days before the pandemic really took hold, panic buying erupted in scenes reminiscent of apocalyptic movies.
There were people fighting in grocery stores for toilet paper while others in a state of denial or perhaps disbelief wandered around a ghost town as retail clothing stores that had gone from bustling to barely clinging to life in little more than a week, desperately tried to stay open.
Perhaps we were always going to be our own downfall, biology may have been the messenger, but humans have slowly created this mess; it’s the price we pay for social advancement, for greed.
The invention of transportation brought nations together, yet allowed the virus to spread exponentially. The invention of money gave us the ability to quantify worth, yet our reliance on it prevented us from shutting things down before it was too late.
Balance has never been our forte.
First world economies around the globe have begun to crumble as increasing numbers of people become ill, in countries like Italy hospitals became overwhelmed and quickly ran out of resources unable to cope with an unprecedented demand.
Outside welfare offices in my own state yesterday , efforts of police to enact the government’s strict social distancing policy were futile as lines hundreds of desperate people long snaked around corners, millions had become unemployed overnight and nobody knew what to do.
In some poorer nations, as people fall victim to the virus, they simply die in the streets on their way to work. Working that day, ill or otherwise, was the only way to be paid and therefor the only way their children would be able to eat that night.
It isn’t over yet, in fact it’s barely just begun. We are in the midst of a global trauma that is both breaking and uniting the world.
This affects everyone.
Children born from today won’t remember a time before this, but they will grow up learning about it, reacting to it. Many older children will remember it as their first significant life changing historical event. It will become a trauma that is passed down through generations via changes in behaviours and anxieties.
A few months ago I was mocking my baby boomer parents for hoarding canned food and other supplies, they had watched their parents struggle to survive the aftermath of the Great Depression and they had subconsciously taken on the fear of scarcity.
Over 70 years later, that scarcity has finally been realised, their anxieties justified.
We are mass re-evaluating our definitions of the word “essential” as we struggle to adjust to supply shortages and access changes suddenly enforced upon us by sheer necessity.
Our collective fight or flight responses are in overdrive, people apologise for handing over cash to gloved employees and everyone visibly jumps when somebody coughs. They chatter with each other nervously about purchase restrictions in supermarket lines while being careful to stay one trolly length ￼apart at all times.
Around Australia children are making lighthearted jokes about dying from corona virus when someone blows their nose as they grapple to understand the situation, why they have to be homeschooled now, why their parents are saying everything will be okay, yet look so concerned.
You can’t find a media source that’s not inundated by news reports of this international crisis and in a world used to 24hr news cycles, I wonder when this too will leave us, where this will leave us, if it will.
I wonder what our new normal will look like?
We are blessed to live in an age of technological advancement, an era where you can read these rather sobering words from the comfort of your lounge room on the other side of the planet mere moments after I post them, or you can choose to click away, take a break from the fear and smile at cute cat pictures.
I have always found great comfort in social media, the online mental health community in particular.
We have always been separated by distance yet united by shared experience and although mental illness doesn’t pause for pandemics, at least we all still have each other.
With the solidarity and compassionate spirit I have witnessed here in the past, I know that we can get through this too, because together, we can get through anything.