Updated: Apr 27, 2020
On March 16th, 2020 the world changed and I, as an individual had to adapt just like society had to. There are some choices in life that are unpredictable and beyond our control. With this one in particular I realized that I could let my depression and anxiety get the best of me or I could take on this adversity and grow from it. I choose the latter. At first there was a waiting period, where I admit I was anxious because everything happened so fast. Being a grad student at Western Michigan University, working at my internship at Milwood Middle School, and working full time at ASK Family Services, I knew everything was going to change but I didn’t know how it would and how it would effect me. During the first few weeks of quarantine I was able to complete my school work and my internship for the semester and after that it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I was able to adjust into a new schedule of working from home. I’ve always been an introvert and my dogs were with me which gave me comfort and strength while my world was vastly changing. Before the quarantine, phone calls were only something I did if it was absolutely necessary because they gave me a lot of anxiety and I was always afraid if stumbling over my words or not knowing the right thing to say in the moment. When my job turned from face to face meetings to strictly phone calls at first I was terrified. But as I started to call and talk to my clients I realized they were just as scared as I was but about something much different. My clients were afraid about providing for their families, their small businesses, providing education to their children and much more. Some of my clients told me that my phone calls helped because it kept them connected, it provided them with support, and it gave them hope that there will eventually be an end to the pandemic and until it ends they still get to remain in contact with their case manager, family support partners, youth peer support specialists, therapists and doctors. We just had to transition to the virtual world and wait until we hear more news about the situation.
Now, after being several weeks I’m quarantine, I get to talk to family’s about new hobbies and interests they’ve gotten to try, new books they’ve read and how they’re trying to make the best of this time with their families. There is still fear of the uncertain but I’ve been focusing on taking this one day at a time, enjoying as much time with my dogs as I can and taking care of myself for the first time in way too long. I am also encouraging others, my clients and family’s included, to take a little extra time to slow down during the day and try to enjoy even the smallest thing that brings a smile to your face. My favorite quote from one of my favorite book series is,
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”. We all have control of we want to let this adversity break us or choose to make us stronger. At times it may feel like we’re letting it do both and that’s okay too. During this time I have found a love again with painting and trying new acrylic pour techniques that I’ve never tried before. And the results have been beautiful and amazing. Every painting is different and I have very little idea as to how it will turn out before I’m finished. I am able to use paint and let gravity and my environment control the process. Before quarantine, I stopped doing art, I studied it in undergrad and I was always told my artwork was not up to the standards or skill level of my professors. It was a defeating time for me as an artist. When I stopped letting perfection be my influencer, I started to fall in love again. I fell in love with colors, with paint and with the thrill that I had no idea how each canvas was going to turn out but that everyone was different than the next and that finally something I created could be beautiful and imperfect at the same time. This pandemic has made me grow so much as a person and I am thankful for being able to take this time and still do my job, and provide support to others but also support myself and be there for me. I know one day this will be a moment in history, but until this passes I plan to keep continuing to take everyday one step and one moment at a time and spread as much light as I can.
By Rachel Cochran