How a global pandemic saved my life. Wait, what? Yes. COVID-19 in all its restrictions, isolation, and awfulness has saved my life. As many of you know, I battle depression. And I’m not talking I feel a little blue, so I’m going to lay in bed today depression; I’m talking the I can’t go on another day so I’m going to swallow a bottle of pills depression. It’s the I take seven medications a day and go for electro-convulsive therapy kind of depression. It’s the I’ve been hospitalized more times than I can count, so that when I call the psychiatric unit, they know who I am kind of depression.
So how in the heck did COVID save my life? Well, God has used it to give me a purpose. I am a registered nurse. I have always loved being a nurse, but I haven’t always had a fire and a passion driving me. I have worked in the emergency room, as an educator, and now in a nursing home. I never pictured this ER adrenaline junkie liking it in a nursing home, but here I am. I love the residents that I work with, but even within this context I have played a few different roles, searching for that “one thing” that I connect with. I’ve worked as a bedside nurse, in a role that was primarily data entry, and now as care coordinator (sort of like a unit manager).
Because of the beast of depression, I have a hard time making connections and feeling like I am part of something. As a result, I did my job, but it was often just putting in the hours and checking off all of the boxes. I did a good job, but I lacked that sense of purpose, that sense of belonging. Yes, I always took care of my residents and I enjoyed doing it. I was just lacking that sense of belonging.
So, how does COVID fit into all of this? Well, unfortunately since the end of November, my nursing home has been experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19. It was an immediate call to action for all of us, but for me it was a more. It was a decision of all in or allow depression to take over and bail. I made the choice to be all in. It was not an easy call as it meant increased hours at work and less time with my precious children.
So how did this save my life? Because for the first time in my career, I felt that fire and that passion. There was the plate put before me and I stepped up. I am not here to say how awesome I am because that is not my intention. My intention is to say thank you to Jesus because He uses the strangest things to heal. He is using a global pandemic, an outbreak in a nursing home, to heal me deep inside.
Since this outbreak started, the verse from Esther, about being created for “such a time as this” has been screaming in my head. Every time I cry in exhaustion, or hold the hand of someone who is dying, or feel like I can’t make it one more shift, I hear that phrase and I continue on. Did I hope for a terrible virus to come in and wreak havoc on my residents and fellow staff, absolutely not!! But can I be amazed at what this experience is doing in my life? Absolutely.
You see, I had been asking God, “What is my purpose in my life, in my career?”. Sometimes he answers with a whisper, and sometimes he drops a bomb into your path. Am I happy that we are having an outbreak? No!! Am I grateful that He has used this to reveal a layer of strength that I never knew I had? Yes!! I have always felt inferior, less than, not enough. But in this insane time, I have become strong, more than, and enough. Do I still take my handful of pills every morning? Yup. Do I still go see my psychiatrist and do my treatment? Yup. So how did COVID save my life and heal me if I still take medication? God used it to give me purpose. To wake the sleeping giant that has always been inside me. To make me realize I am enough, I do matter, and even with all my mess ups and failures, I can do this.
I. Can. Do. This.