The Corona virus has been the biggest issue I have come to face in my life so far. Although I have not been stricken with the virus myself, I initially found myself living in fear, confusion, and isolation. Research and insight from others helped me to gain a healthy perspective about my new day-to-day lifestyle and how to focus on what I can control rather than linger on things I cannot.

Immediately I was filled with fear of the unknown, and almost everything about the Covid-19 was unknown. Professionals helped me to understand these new conditions. In the beginning, and to some degree now, doctors did not know how to cure or vaccinate the constantly mutating bug. They did not know how soon was soon enough to accurately test for the virus and released infected people to the public prematurely. Above all, the CDC did not know when we would see the end of the pandemic.

I could not believe the timing; I had found out I was pregnant in the same week it was widely announced we needed to quarantine. I may be 24 years old and healthy, but I am now pregnant and there were not enough studies to show how exactly corona virus affected pregnant women or their unborn. Anxiety took over and I found myself unable to do anything but worry. I spoke with a counselor briefly who gave me the brilliant advice to practice mindfulness. This means focusing on what I did know and had control over rather than the alternative. I put my energies towards my schoolwork, taking walks around my neighborhood, washing my hands constantly, practicing good hygiene and social distancing. I tuned out the negative news channels and instead looked up advice from different doctors on best practices to avoid catching the illness and reacting to it if need be. After changing my perspective, I took back the control of my fears and I now confidently go to the doctor’s office for checkups and grocery stores knowing that I am taking the best courses of action as I navigate my day to day agenda.

The misinformation I was exposed to online created a lot of confusion during the transition to quarantine life, differentiating between valid and non-validated sources was important. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are common sites I go to for laughs and keeping up with friends. Getting online seems like a nice idea for the newly isolated. However, they quickly became a very toxic environment for anyone who has not looked at other sources for information concerning the virus, like myself in the early stages. A third of people downplayed the whole situation by making jokes or claims anyone other than the immunocompromised were not at risk and continued to go out before and after the government shutdown. Rarely in circulation you could find ‘jokes’ that had gone too far like fake DIY’s to make sanitizer and self-medicating measures that did the opposite of what they claimed and posed risks to the health of others. A handful of skeptics will argue that the entire thing was a hoax to get us ready for martial law or 5G towers. Problems like these made me feel helpless; how could people be so evil? I was scared for the poor and uneducated who probably did not know better and thought those posts would help. I had to again conduct research to find a reality and grasp it, not only for myself but to aid in spreading real information to people who needed it most. In order to sift through all the bizarre postings, I began to research the sources and fact check the information. Finding honest sources helped to keep reality in perspective while staying on track of any news concerning the virus.

The stimulus check came as a savior to the many of us who lost our income and a bonus to those who were unaffected financially. However, many people were left unacknowledged and I personally have a sister who falls under that category. As a member of SSI due to a disability, she does not file taxes on her own and allows my mother to claim her. Because of this, she was not able to receive a stimulus or a bonus. Like her, thousands of others went under the radar because of their lack of paying taxes. This did not mean that they didn’t need financial help though, many of them do in fact work and lost their jobs as a result of the closing economy. The majority of the check they receive covers the bills and rent and that left excess expenses unaccounted for. With the pressure to stock up on groceries rising, she reasonably got worried. In efforts to ready my sister for quarantine we looked at the locals who were providing the items that were already selling out in stores. We also found the mailing addresses of officials who we urged to make reasonable accommodations for the next stimulus bill if they decide to go through with it. Seeing that we were not alone in this request, built up a lot of hope for us that our voices may be recognized one day. This encounter was a healthy reminder to get involved with the voting and politics that situations like these depend on.

Ultimately, it is rather easy for many people to fall under stress and anxiety due to the covid-19, but it is important to remember that we are all in this together. This pandemic has threatened everyone’s livelihood in some form or another. Gratefully there are systems out there to help those in need. It may take some time and patience as well and extensive researching, but the options are available to help take back control of this situation. I may not know when this will end or how I will come out of this experience, but I am now more aware of how I can contribute to my personal life and others. Instead of facing the next unknown with fear, I will investigate every possible option and make educated steps forward and help others to do the same.

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