This morning at Quaker Meeting for Worship (on Zoom!), I was thinking about how easily triggered most of us are in this time, and how that places increased responsibility on all of us to be judicious about what we share.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing lots of people to be in a general state of anxiety, worry, and fearfulness, pretty much 24-7. If you were struggling before with any kind of anxiety, this situation is probably pushing all of your buttons. Even if you are generally coping with the loss of freedoms, radical changes in lifestyle, and social distancing okay, you still are doing emotional work to stay calm and focused.
The result is that lots of us are easily triggered by those around us and messages that come across our feed.
Even in Quaker Meeting this morning, someone was talking about some headline in the New York Times and suddenly a bunch of alarming stats about the COVID-19 outbreak filled my screen! Someone was screen-sharing some news site they were on with the whole meeting.
Friends are typically a very tolerant, patient people, even when someone is being disruptive during Meeting for Worship. But another Friend quickly got on the chat and asked that we refrain from sharing images like that during Meeting because they were quite upsetting.
I’ve had to make the hard decision to interact less with certain friends and unfollow them on social media because their communications stress me out. You know the person — constantly sharing stories about “climbing death rates,” “lack of health infrastructure,” “It’s only going to get worse.” etc.
It’s a strong reminder to me that I need to be responsible and wise about what I share with others, because I don’t know what emotional state they are in when they receive it. And if I need to bitch, complain, and rant, to ask for permission first and warn people ahead of time.
On the flip side, there are lots of needs out there — practical, physical, emotional — that I can help fill right now. So being more aware of where I can help, comfort, and support is something I am working on. For today, that means baking and sharing a carrot cake with friends nearby.
Because this might be our reality for some time now. And we’re only going to get through this together.