It is no secret that we are living in a crazy time right now, one that we have never seen before. I do not think anyone could have ever prepared us for the dramatic changes that the COVID pandemic has inspired. I do not think anyone could have prepared us to handle the pain-staking death toll that this virus has brought about. I feel as though that is how tragedy works, though. Even though we think we are prepared for major events to happen in life, there is nothing that can be done to prepare us for the consequences of a horrific event, no matter if the outcome is expected or unexpected. As sad and frankly shameful as the pandemic handling has been in the United States, there are also positives in the situation as well. I believe that there are positives in every situation in life, even if you have to search high and low for them. I believe that the pandemic has strengthened many relationships due to all of the time most of us have been having to spend together in close quarters. This either has strengthened your relationships or made them worse. Do not worry, though, you are not alone. We have all been stuck together, and we all get on each other's nerves after long periods of time together. In the case of being homebound most of the time, this pandemic often just felt like my normal life. I have Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, and as a result, I have to be dependent on a wheelchair to move about my days. To many people reading this, this might sound like a nightmare. It is really not that bad, though, and if it is all you know, it is what you adapt to. I am not able to work a normal job due to chronic pain issues and extreme fatigue. As a result of both of these issues, I am used to being home at least 5 days-a-week with the exception of medical appointments and the occasional grocery trip. When the pandemic first began, I honestly found solace in the fact that a large number of normal people were experiencing what it was like to live within the confines of a limited lifestyle. Even though this led to an increase in cabin fever for many, it was almost like everyone else had developed a sense of understanding when it came to my lifestyle and the opportunities that exist, albeit limited. Many of you were forced to find and discover new hobbies and activities that you enjoyed doing to fill the empty spaces. I can definitely relate to that idea. Coloring has always been a hobby for me. It carried through with me from my childhood. It has been a huge relief for me throughout the hard times last year and through the problems that we have yet to overcome this year. Coloring has been significantly helpful in treating both my anxiety and depression. I am confident that there has been an increase in depression throughout these times. It is not only understandable but relatable. There is nothing wrong with asking for and receiving the help that you may need. I am sure that there are people in your groups of family and friends that are willing to help you along your journey, and if you find that their advice is not sufficient, you can always seek the professional help of a therapist or counselor. Needing help in life, especially during significantly tragic events, does not make you weak. If anything, it makes us human and more compassionate about life. I am often asked how I am so happy and in an even-keeled mood most of the time, even when times get hard. The secret is actually not much of a secret and it is not that hard to maintain. It is that I am grateful for everything I have in life. I count and rely on my blessings every single day to help me along my life journey, which is both arduous and amazing.
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