28 Days later day 18…
It begins with a joke. It’s still far away. Then as it gets closer, the joke becomes concern and then it lands in your lap and it is no longer even remotely funny. At first you listen to the news. You look at social media and begin to realise just how much sh*te there is in that world. Then, the numbers start to creep up and you pay attention.
Last night our Taoiseach, that’s prime minister for anyone not Irish, gave an address to the nation. Now he’s not like the President in America who loves listening to his own auld guff. Over in this part of the world he’d get dog’s abuse for that sort of nonsense. An address to the nation in Ireland is a rare thing. The consensus, even among those who recently, effectively voted him out of office, (we have a caretaker government while we wait for negotiations on a coalition to be completed) is that those running the show are doing a decent job so far and our Leo gave a fine speech, on the day that is so dear to Irish Hearts, St Patrick’s Day.
We were told the hard facts, the likelihood that by the end of this month around 15,000 of us will be diagnosed as having Covid-19. I think it started to sink in. The solution cannot be found by us doing what we so often do and that is in absolving ourselves of responsibility. We Irish love to blame the government when things go wrong, no matter which bunch are in power. We always expect them to fix pretty much everything and when whoever is in charge cannot do the impossible, that is to please all the people all the time, we feck them out and elect another bunch of misguided souls. We always hope they will fix everything for everybody, despite our very divergent opinions making it impossible to do so. The one thing we Irish are good at is having opinions.
This time things are different. There is only one way through this and that involves us all taking individual and collective responsibility. The closer this gets to each one of us individually, the more likely it will be that we have acted too late. Social distancing it turns out, is harder than it sounds. I watched one young man light his cigarette from another, only yesterday. I stood six feet away from a man in a queue and he might as well have asked the person in front for a jockey back, he was that close. Normally when someone gets that close there is a pregnancy test involved down the line. In the same short trip, I saw two teenage girls, linking and laughing and all I could think was, what the flippin’ fup!
The water is rising and some of us will end up on the roof before it settles back. Sadly, some will be swept away, but for most of us and we have to remember this, the water will retreat and we will find ourselves perhaps left with the cost of repairing the damage. It might not be what we want to hear, but it is far better to be left with a flood damaged house than to be washed away in the storm.
Now here is the other difficult bit. The mind is a fragile thing. Many will be faced with financial strain or even ruin, relationship difficulties and health repercussions, as the waves wash over us. It may be overwhelming for some. In the worst case, we will see people lose loved ones, perhaps without a real opportunity to say goodbye. These are difficult truths that are important to face, if everyone is to get behind the effort to make an impact on this contagion.
Be it financial, emotional or grief driven, stress is the one thing we all struggle to cope with. It is something easily lost in the noise of the current storm. The mental health of our nation and indeed it is replicated globally, is at stake. Reaching out to those who need help, a kind word, a telephone call or a kind gesture, might make all the difference to someone.
Reducing the impact of Covid-19 has been boiled down to washing your hands and social distancing, but the hidden impact on the state of our individual and collective mental health, must not be forgotten. We can all help each other. The fear is great at the moment, it is pervasive and oppressive for some. Others whistle through and can distance their psyche from the fear. On an individual and personal level, we can help ourselves by remembering not to panic. As communities we must remain conscious of those around us, who are perhaps not coping with this overwhelming surge of new, frightening news on a daily basis.
Lenin, Vladimir not John, once said “There are decades when nothing happens, and then there are weeks where decades happen.” Don’t get knocked over in the rush. Take a moment to consider your family and friends who may be reluctant to share their fragility, and those around you in your community in general.
Brave is only found in being afraid. Brave is how we face fear, no more no less. Heroes are cowards if in other circumstances they act differently. It is what it is or to put it another way, people with beards are simply people without beards, with beards. Why make it any more complicated than that. Be the person you can be, not the person you want to be. Be or be not, as Yoda might say, the choice is yours in these difficult times. But whatever you decide to be…be safe my friends…
Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
Universal book links