Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Darlene Masters, Executive Director
I have sat down to write this post several times only to find myself at a loss for words. Anyone that knows me, knows this is a rarity to say the least. First, I must be honest in saying that when we first heard news about the coronavirus, I was a skeptic. I told one of my best friends that I thought it was a conspiracy (much like my thoughts on the ozone layer scares of the 80s). However, she quickly sent me facts and data to try to change my mind.
I wasn’t convinced right away. As the days went on, I began to realize how wrong I was – extremely wrong! I quickly conceded that I, in fact, was scared. I didn’t become scared until after the initial thought process of being angry at the WIAA for cancelling the state tournament that our Platteville girls, my youngest daughter included, had worked so hard to attain. And, I didn’t become scared until after the pain and grief set in realizing my twins were going to miss out on their senior year of high school. I was angry; I was grieving. Then, the fear set in. Fear for my family; fear for my friends; fear for my staff; fear for our clients. Fear.
Fear is a funny thing. It takes over your emotions and makes you act in ways that you would not expect. I started doing so much “googling” and research that I thought I was going to never know enough and wondering what was enough to know. I also felt that if I didn’t have the answers for our clients and staff, then what good was I as a leader. I quickly learned that I could not possibly know it all. The leaders of our country and those on the frontlines don’t have all the answers, so why would I? Things were changing by the minute.
So, I went from skepticism to anger to sadness and grieving to fear in a matter of a few days. Then, I realized that the fear needed to be put to rest. Yes, I still have fears for the safety of those I love and care for, but the fear is no longer controlling me. Now, I am looking at how to stay positive during this time of uncertainty. What is this time going to teach me? What is this time going to teach my teenage daughters? What is this time going to teach my staff? My clients? My mentors? My……..everything? What can I do to make a difference?
Well, I must admit, that I have days of anger and sadness and frustration at times still, but I am trying to focus on the “good.” Families are spending more time together (yes, this time can also be stressful); pets are getting more time with their families (I realize not all cats are fond of this!); staff are learning new skills and taking in more knowledge; tasks that were for “when I have time”, are getting accomplished.
Take care of yourself. Follow the recommendations. Do what you need to do for your own mental health to get through this time. Blare the music. Scream out loud. Allow yourself to feel emotions as they arise. Cry. Smile. Laugh. Reach out to friends – we have this wonderful technology to still “see” each other and to connect like never before.
**I also want to recognize that not everyone is “safer at home”. If you or someone you know is struggling with not being safe, please reach out to us. We are here for you, and can give you resources and a listening ear. 24 Hour Free and Confidential Hotline (800) 924-2624.