By Carolina Henriquez
As I sit on the clear, plastic chair behind a white rectangular table waiting for the acetone to lift the old polish from my nails, I look around to observe how the music brightens the area and how the blush pink walls warmly enhance the room to create a peaceful ambiance in the entire space.
Although this place is one of my safe havens, I cannot escape feeling overwhelmed, rushed, and scattered with endless thoughts. After a few quiet minutes, I push aside these feelings to attentively listen as Sophie discloses to me that Olivia, her longtime friend of 15 years and business partner, is suddenly moving away. As she raises her right fist declaring, “I never want to see my friend again!”, the humor cannot mask the deep wound she feels inside. With tears beginning to fill the bottom of her eyes, she references the five stages of grief and describes her feelings in each stage: the denial that in a month she’ll lose someone she loves, the anger that she was not given enough time to process the news, the bargaining with the decision to believe that this change is positive or negative, the overwhelming sadness that fills her soul as she sits on her bed crying for what feels eternal, and the acceptance when she proclaims, “I’m going to be okay. It may take some time to recover, but I will be okay.”
This story, although specific to my friend Sophie, correlates to the current reality and how these stages can relate to others. Firstly, the denial that Covid would change our world. Secondly, feeling angry knowing that life in isolation, is determined the right thing to do. Thirdly, the bargaining with the choices to either accept or deny the rules. Fourthly, the depression when remembering what freedom used to feel like and the longing to recover what was lost. And finally, the acceptance by welcoming the new normal and the belief that even though our world will need time to recover, things will be all right.
As you reflect on your mental health and how Covid has continued to disrupt the entire world, I want you to remember God has a plan and purpose for this moment in time. And although things seem hopeless, and you feel unmotivated, alone, and tired, I want you to know while the road looks dark, despairing, and never-ending, He is here with you and will uplift you through this difficult time.