I have had a great amount of time alone lately. I am working on the COVID unit in my nursing home and because of that I am isolating here at home when I am not working. This gives me a lot of time to think and wonder and question and do what I can to not get stuck inside my own head. As someone who lives with mental illness, my head is not a place that I want to be stuck in. As I talked about in a previous post, I have experienced healing in this season and for that I am grateful.
Now I want to talk about what it looks like when isolation and circumstances want to raise their fists and beat against that healing. Isolation isn’t healthy, but sometimes, like in this moment for me, it is unavoidable. I can tell you this hasn’t been healthy for me. But I can also tell you, it has made me lean into that healing and reach out when I want to shut people out. We cannot do this alone. We were made for fellowship. I can’t do this alone.
I have experienced some really heavy things in the last few weeks. I have sat at the bedside of too many people while they are dying. All I want to do is offer comfort, but even then, I am having to do it through a full set of personal protective equipment (PPE). Do you know how hard it is to not rip off your gloves and hold someone’s hand? To feel that connection as they end their journey here on earth? It is brutal. And it creates a heavy burden. Fortunately, I have amazing co-workers who are going through the same experiences, so we are able to debrief together. But then I come home. And that weight bears down. And no one is here.
But that isn’t true. I am never alone. I have a God who promises that He will never leave me. And I believe it. He’s also put people in my life that for some crazy reason love me and want to walk through this with me too. The rest is up to me. I have to do the work. Make the call. Reach out. Choose to not do this alone. I can’t sit in the dark and wish and hope that someone will call me. I need to put the effort in. I am not alone.
I’m not going to lie. This is awful. I am hurting. I am tired. I am worn out. Some days I want to quit. But then God does something to remind me that it is worth it. He sends a parade of police officers, EMTs, fireman, and city workers to say, “thank you” and remind us of the importance of the job we are doing. He sends a friend to do a porch drop off of flowers. He puts a resident in your path who always brightens up the day. He reminds me that I am not alone. That what I am doing matters. That it will not be like this forever.
All of this is to say. Whatever you are facing. Wherever you are on your mental health journey. You are not alone. Isolation wants to lie and say that you are alone and that you won’t make it through this, but you will, and you are not alone. Take the step. Reach out. Pick up the phone. Do it.