I am not ashamed to admit, this Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic has me quite frightened. I don’t sleep without some type of assistance. If not for the women with whom I work, I’m not sure I would get through my days. Even with them, there are moments that panic strikes – and when it does, I know, just as they do, we have each other’s backs.
As many who consider themselves to be creative, I am a sensitive person. Combined with my ethnicity, I am moody. It is who we are as Sicilians, and I am proud of my heritage. Being a creative Sicilian, I can be moved to tears, to joy, to anger, to grief, to sadness, and to a whole array of emotions that I am sure don’t even have names – but with each, I not only deeply feel the emotion, I am in touch with every fiber of each varied sensation. Because of a gift from God, I am blessed to be able to channel and express and weave those emotions into written words.
Over the last decade, the emotion that has most frequently defined my mood is sullen; other will call it depressed. Perhaps it is the clinician in me, but I have a disdain for using improper diagnostic terminology, so I refrain from calling myself depressed, or suffering from depression. That reluctance is not borne out of shame, it is because I don’t want to take away from the true meaning of a diagnosis that is meant not as a label, but as a means for the afflicted to receive proper medical care and attention.
The mood that has hung over me, in many ways, has been a choice.
There are many reasons, which I have gone into in some of my books and I will not detail here, there is no point. Yet, in the last decade, part of my response to this choice has been a very conscious decision to withdraw from family and friends. With that withdrawal came the building of a wall. With little, if any, hesitation I cut people from my life. In some cases, it was to protect them from the person I had chosen to become. They had lost people close and I did not want to inflict my sullenness upon them. In the case of most of my relatives, cousins who I admired and looked up to, and in some cases worshiped, I removed myself because of misplaced anger due to events of childhood. Events which have haunted me for decades. Events with which they had nothing to do, but as I regressed and devolved, they became unknown recipients of unjustifiable envy and scorn. I never spoke a word of it – I simply removed myself from any interactions; invitations went unanswered and gatherings avoided.
Hopefully, this pandemic will end, and some sense of normalcy will return. If, when, it does, it is my desire to reach out and re-establish relationships. To quell the sullen tone which has defined my personality and to get in touch with and allow myself to feel the other emotions which I have spent so much effort suppressing.
Fear has caused me to reflect, to be introspective – it has helped me to realize that I have lost so very much.