First and foremost. I am not an expert and everything that follows is just opinion, my opinion. This article is about promoting hope and beating fear. Live and Not just die. The subject is the Coronavirus or COVID-19 which ever term you prefer. Like my last subject it is not a joyous subject, but like the last I cannot turn a blind eye to it.
In the run up to the recent general election in Ireland, the subject of climate change and the threat to our planet looked as if it would be foremost in the people’s mind. However, the results based on the Green Party return, the main supporters of climate change policies, did not endorse that policy to any great extent. It did not bother me greatly as I do not subscribe to climate change being the greatest threat to mankind and question the control we have over a vast universe. I do believe though, that man is the biggest threat to mankind. The weapon of choice is most likely to be chemical or a virus. Did man contribute to the existence of COVID-19? The stories of the wet markets in Wuhan born out of the famines of the 1970’s certainly points the figure at man’s contribution to the existence of this virus which now sweeps through the world as I write. Is this the Armageddon virus? … I don’t think so, but it is certainly a wakeup call and then again as I said at the offset, I’m not an expert.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes COVID-19 as a pandemic. Pandemic if a frightening word, but all it means is that it is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents, or worldwide. No surprise. Is it serious? Obviously, it is, no question, but is it recoverable from? Of course, it is. Let’s not forget that. Fact, in Wuhan and Northern Italy, the recoveries far outweigh the deaths, though I accept that is little consolation to the deceased or their loved ones. However, I will return to this in a while.
To recover from anything, one needs hope. Unfortunately, hope is being slowly eroded by fear. Fear that is driven by people both through social media and even sources that were once considered reputable media. If hope is eroded completely, there is no future and fear will take over which leads to the inevitable of man turning on man. We have seen it in so many apocalyptic films and books. Maybe for rations, maybe for medicine, maybe for food. Maybe because some nation sees another nation as a weak touch to take advantage of. I hope not for toilet paper though. It is called war. Nations who disagree on approach may find like two children in the playground who disagree, a primitive resolution. Fear causes stress. Stress is known to affect your immunity. Immunity is the one and only weapon you have in your arsenal. Your body will fight to the last, but you must choose to give it a fighting chance. Too much stress reduces your firepower.
In coaching parlance, respect the opposition, but do not fear it. You have only jurisdiction over what you can control. You can control the personal sanitising and hygiene as advised and everyone knows that advice at this stage. It still doesn’t guarantee the opposition will not find a chink in your defence. We know that there is no cure at the moment other than the battle your body is prepared to put up against it. Give your body every chance. Exercise regularly and do not stress your mind. Prepare for the onslaught. You need all your energy to launch that counter attack. The blanket defence will not work. You have to fight back when you are put to the pin of your collar.
A couple of things do come to my mind. Firstly, this is not the world’s first or only pandemic. AIDS/HIV was one which commenced in the eighties. It is still there but very much in the background of our thoughts. In 2018, 1.1 million people died from AIDS related illness worldwide. The WHO estimate that in 2016, that there were 1.35 million road related deaths in the world. Who is afraid to get into a car and drive? Yet we only have control over our own car, not the many thousands of other cars that are on the road. We’ve all seen the lunatics and it is never us. But we haven’t left that fear stop from living or driving. WHO also estimate that there are 320,00 drowning deaths per annum in the world. How many of us will not swim because of this statistic?
In 2016, Cancer was the highest contributor to deaths in Ireland with 30.7% of 30,667 deaths. However, worldwide, the greatest cause of death, is heart related issues including stroke. It contributed to 30.1% of deaths in Ireland in 2016 or 17.9 million worldwide that year!! I have experienced heart attack twice (November 2016, 10 days apart). I am a survivor. Do I have a fear of it? Yes, there are times. If I feel odd at all, fear can immerse me for a time. I do have what I call “moments”, some may have noticed. When I hear of a young person or even people around my age, dying from heart related issues, it does give me the shivers. However, when that emotion starts to consume me, I fight it, remembering I have recovered twice. I take my medication regimentally. I exercise to the best of my ability, allowing for two artificial hips. My weakness is probably my diet. It could be better. But one thing is for sure, mentally my body and mind is up for the battle, should it happen again. Mentally, I need to be strong and ready for the battle. Believe me reading too much bad news is not useful for developing mental strength. Again, in coaching terms, I focus on my strengths which I can control rather that the uncontrollable strengths of the opposition.
The power of social media is frightening when used indiscriminately. Too many people, who like me are not experts are posting and sharing information that is adding to the fear. Sharing an article that suits your own thought process is not wise unless you really know the person the wrote it originally. They could easily be a waffler like me! I’m not an expert. You are not an expert. How can you tell if an unknown on social media is an expert?
To that end, it is a fact that there are vastly more people who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered than have died. Why not share these people’s stories? They have experienced it. Using my heart experiences, they are more expert than anyone who has never had it. They are the people who can give us hope. Let’s listen to them. This is not to understate, that people will die, like our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated and the HSE experts. It is not to reduce the effort put into precautions. Hope is important. And maybe there are people who were in the high-risk category who contracted the virus and have recovered. Imagine the hope their story would give. Unfortunately, at the moment, people are too interested in the negative numbers rather than the positive stories. Stop people. THINK before you post your badly constructed, poorly spelt reaction or over reaction or blame of someone. Think will your comment give hope or further despair?
The mentioning of the Taoiseach brings me to a something, I was trying to steer clear of and that is politics. Fact, I have no allegiance to any political party. I do like the best people to run the country. To be honest the best people are actually cross party. However, it is worth giving praise where praise is due. The Government and the HSE are doing a brilliant job in what is uncharted territory. A situation that changes on a daily, maybe even an hourly basis. When this is all over maybe people will recognise that the HSE is doing a huge amount of the right things. I know from my own heart events in 2016, I had no private health insurance, but the care I got was absolutely brilliant and I really appreciate that from the doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, administrators, helicopter crew and aftercare staff at St Luke’s, Kilkenny, Waterford University Hospital and Cork University Hospital. Some parties and politicians came to the last general election with policies that they knew would never have to be implemented. They were promising the world with untold money, knowing that in reality it would never be tested. Many of those who wanted change fell for the propaganda. You will note now, how quiet they are and probably how relieved they are at not being in power at this time, because you cannot promise the solution for COVID-19, a cure. The people will see through that much more quickly.
I would like to finish this blog, by reminding people, that living in fear, is not living. Hurl clever, and stay mentally strong and positive. Work on your game everyday and keep the spirits in the team high and unified. Victory can be ours! And if despair does get to much of a burden, use the technology to talk to someone. Social must not die from the virus. If the technology doesn’t work there is always the option to talk to your God, who or whatever that maybe. It is at times like these, the value of Prayer to give hope will be seen. Because if you do end up in isolation, that God, will be the closest friend you will have. I hope when this is all over, we (as in the world) will be more honest and caring to our fellow mankind.
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