I’ve Got a Little List

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

I looked up that quotation – from Franklin D Roosevelt’s Inaguration Speech. It goes on:

“… the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance…”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_inauguration_of_Franklin_D._Roosevelt#Inaugural_address

I decided to run with it, as it is actually close in sense to that which I feel I want to unearth from my head and then tip onto this page.

The current climate of fear unsettles me. Not sure why,,. exactly but I hope that in writing my thoughts down that I will come to understand.

I do not fear Covid-19.

Do not get me wrong, because I do have concerns, but fear is is such a negative and useless emotion. It is not helpful at a time when we all need to be strong. Most importantly, fear fathers stress and stress inhibits our immune response.

I am not pontificating from a position of either privilege or immunity. On the contrary, I belong to a higher risk group. I am nearing my sixty-seventh birthday and my three score and ten have all but run out, I also have a diagnosis of asthma, together with a group of auto-immune disorders and a highly over-reactive immune system. I am at risk of a severe infection and complications, should I catch the virus. It is the spiraling of the body’s own immune system that is causing death in some patients. That is poor news for me but…

I do not fear Death.

Death is easy, pretty much, for the dying. It is a simple transition from one state to another.

Do I fear the loss of Life?

Not really. I have lived my life as much to the full as I can. I have worked by the principle that one should grab life by the throat and shake it until it gives you what you want. I seized almost all of the opportunities that came my way (those that I did not seize were due to prohibitions. I plan to write a Luggage post on this matter very soon).

Naturally, I should like do a great deal more living (and eating and drinking) yet but if I don’t, I am not going to know much about the loss am I?

What I do have most concern about is the possibility of being left alone, without the person who makes my life complete. I refuse to call that a fear or to treat it as one. Fear prevents us from action; from getting on with our lives. I intend to carry on with my partner, making the fullest of our time on this planet. We none of us know how long or short our remaining time is – Covid or no Covid. We just have to live each and every day so that none of us are left with any regret, Don’t waste your time.

Let’s think about the current climate of fear.

Why is everybody so afraid? Covid-19 is just another virus. It is said to be unpleasant by those that have had it and some say it feels worse than any Influenza that they have suffered. (‘Flu can be bloody awful. I know. I have felt that Death might be preferable to ‘Flu (when I had the Hong Kong version) and yet, I got better.) In order to say that much, they had to get better. People do get better from Covid-19. In fact the vast majority of people who have it get better. It’s an inconvenient unpleasantness for most.

A large percentage of infected persons do not develop complications. Of the smaller percentage who do, only some become extremely ill and may die. Those are understood to be the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. People rather like me.

Whoops.

Numbers of infections are still relatively small. Our individual chances of contacting an infected person, catching the virus and becoming ill are pretty small at the moment unless we ignore the advice to practice social distancing and happen to live in an area of significant infection levels.

Those of us who live in small rural communities and especially those in areas where there are no significant infection levels yet are overwhelmingly unlikely to become infected at this time.

Phew.

So, panic and fear are largely unnecessary – especially if we all behave responsibly and follow instructions.

So, what’s all the fuss about then?

The way that I interpret the situation is like this: We are faced with a new virus, to which we as yet have no immunity. The entire population is vulnerable to infection. The entire population = a very large number indeed. Most of us will catch this virus at some point. For many, if not most people, this is not a big issue but for a small percentage, who will develop severe symptoms, it is indeed a big issue. Unfortunately, a small percentage of a very large number is in itself a considerably large number. A number large enough to overwhelm available health services.

And there you have it. Vulnerable groups are overwhelming capacity, receiving insufficient care and dying.

By following instructions to isolate and to practice social distancing we manage to delay the rate of infection and consequently spread the load on the hospitals, thereby helping to keep people alive.

Simple.

So, the takeaway message is not that our own chances are good and that we do not need to heed advice, lockdowns and other requests from the authorities. This is my own personal fear, that people misread the statistics, fail to understand the implications and do not observe necessary precautions, thereby placing vulnerable persons at risk. Our personal risks may (or may not be) small but that in no way allows us to play fast and loose with other people’s health.

By staying at home we delay the spread of the virus and remove the load from the health services, giving everyone a better chance of survival. It is a social responsibility. Take it seriously but remember that at an individual level, your chances are good and there is little to fear.

If you do feel unwell, stay away from people, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

Other things that we can do to help ourselves:

  • It’s worth repeating: do not stress. Don’t give in to fear,
  • Get sufficient sleep: shortage of sleep also depresses the immune response.
  • Get as much sunshine, fresh air and exercise as is possible within the restrictions of movement that are in force. All of which will help to keep us healthy by bolstering our immunity and building our strength to wield against any possible infection.
  • Eat well! If you are the one who has been stockpiling pasta and rice, well those refined white carbohydrates are not going to help you very much in fighting infection. Get good protein and plenty of fresh vegetables and salad down you.
  • Cut back on the alcohol because that too can work against your immune system. Alcohol is a poor management strategy.
  • Stay positive. It is a good thing to guard one’s mental health.

Personally speaking, I am trying very hard on the staying positive thing,

I am worried, of course I am. I fear that many people do not understand that these few weeks are (probably) not “it” and that next winter is likely to be horrendous as this virus becomes endemic. There are promising signs of drugs for treatment and vaccines to prevent Covid-19 already. Maybe next winter will be fine. But that isn’t the way that these things usually work. We must hope for the better case. It may turn out to be the case that the current situation is actually a doddle in comparison with what may come.

I doubt anybody knows.

For now, I am in France, where we are all locked down in our homes. As mentioned, I am not unduly bothered about that and it suits me better than being out and about amongst people and in social situations.

Fifteen days has been mentioned but I am in no doubt whatsoever that the lockdown will be extended and I expect it to be a minimum of two further weeks. The importance of being positive and guarding our mental health can never be overstated.

  • Keep Busy!
  • Keep Active!
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Don’t dwell on bad news
  • Seek out positives wherever you can and not just about the virus.
  • Use Social Media sensibly and
  • utilise the Internet generally to maintain social contacts

I have A List : I am good at Lists 🙂 This particular List is full of things that I can be doing to keep boredom at bay and to keep my mind and body active. I have been careful to include items that allow me to achieve and to feel good about myself.

It is not a To Do list. To Do lists set me up for failure. No, this is just a List of Possibilities and Opportunities . Something to look to if depression or boredom seem likely to get the better of me. My list includes groups of items that include Exercise, Learning and Doing.

This period of down time is ideal for seizing on a few things that I have long wanted to do, for renewing old crafting habits and for learning new skills and ideas.

On the Learning side I have lined up a few FutureLearn courses, including one on the Covid virus itself. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Ignorance is very definitely not bliss. Ignorance breeds fear but knowledge helps to dispel it. The more real information that we have, rather than the supposition and rumour and fake news that is fed to us these days, the better equipped we are to operate. There is a Mindfulness course too and that should help to keep my mental equilibrium balanced.

Futurelearn courses are free, cover a wide variety of subject areas and I commend them to anyone with time on their hands and a need to occupy their mind.

Just to ensure balance I also have some Udemy courses lined up. These are not free (but can be pretty cheap when on special offer) and cover more creative areas. I have long wanted to learn to draw and these weeks closeted at home will give me an opportunity to have a go. Something new and challenging to ward off boredom. As I improve and achieve, my morale will be boosted and it will help to keep depression at bay. A learn Piano course should help me to get up to speed sufficiently to spend some hours playing music with my rather more talented husband. That should pass the time agreeably.

I am working towards applying for French Citizenship and have recently been stocking up on reading to learn more about French Culture and History. I also plan to sign up for a French Language course. These few weeks are a bit of a blessing to me and a real opportunity to get stuck in to what is to be a major project,

I also plan to spend a lot of time with my old and familiar crafts: I find both knitting and spinning to be calming and centering – excellent for my mental health. I also am in need of a few new pairs of socks and now is a good time to be making them. The kitchen stove is also beckoning – it has been the centre of my creative life for as long as I can remember but in recent years has invited less of my focus. Time to get back to it, I reckon.

On the exercise front – although the bikes are going to be out of use for a while, the dog needs daily exercise and must be walked. There is also the “delightful” prospect of some Spring Cleaning to be done and the garden requires some major weeding attention. I may also dig out the exercise mat and a couple of cans of baked beans…

So, there we have it: I am going to be busy. And I intend to remain positive as well as healthy,

What’s on your Lockdown List? Can you suggest anything that I might wish to add to my own list?

(and in pasting in that YouTube clip, I find myself wondering if there are any full G&S operettas available for me to sit down and wallow with. I find G&S very cheering)

Dear Friends, I bid you be Strong, Be Brave and Be Responsible. Much love to you all.

Today’s Featured Image is a print available from here. I fancy hanging it above my desk.

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2 Comments

  1. March 19, 2020
    Reply

    I had a little list but a mis-placed slash while doing backups in a rsync command line caused it to vanish. 🙁
    That’ll teach me!
    Do keep well. Please.

    • March 30, 2020
      Reply

      And you, sweetie. Take good care of yourselves.

      Quite a coincidence stumbling over this comment (which I wasn’t alerted to – it was in the SPAM bucket!) as I just emailed you (and others) this morning. Just needing to touch base and make sure that those I love are safe and well.

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