Not because I was rebellious and didn’t follow the protective rules of self-isolation but because I had already been living a type of self-isolation since already 18 years. I have multiple sclerosis since the age of 22. I am a highly functional person, and you could hardly guess that I have a chronic neurological disease. Despite that, I have a challenging daily life, not being able to do the things I want to do the moment I want to do them, and mainly not knowing how my next day will look like due to the unpredictable nature of the disease. This situation made me feel isolated and also, in a way, alone.
In March 2020, when we were all obliged to stay locked in our homes, not being able to do the things we wanted to do and experience daily annoying restrictions was the moment I thought, “Hey, this feels very familiar!”. Every single person around me would mention how challenging these times are and how unnatural it feels not to be able to simply go wherever you want to go. Honestly, I felt some anger at first thinking, “well, so many people are already living under these circumstances for years – maybe there whole life – and you had no idea about it, so now it’s time for you to experience it too. Maybe this would help you see things differently and not take your freedom for granted.”
During these months, I felt that I wasn’t alone anymore because we all suffer together this time. At first, I enjoyed that state of mind of “being together through this challenge.” But soon, I didn’t like my perspective of feeling this relief that the common suffering was offering me and thought: “What am I doing? Do I enjoy other’s suffering? My goodness, no!” How could I even think this way? I didn’t agree with these feelings anymore. I decided to change the way I perceived this situation consciously. How could I change my perspective into something more helpful for others? And this is when I realized that I had a super powerful tool within me: The long term valuable experience of living in a self-isolation mode since already so long! I know how to handle it. I know how to beat it. I can use this strength to support others that struggle to move forward during this challenging phase and the negative feelings that come along being stuck at home. I have the patience, the awareness, and the strength to support you accept the current situation, and still find joy and hope in your daily life despite whatever is happening to you. My name is Lucie Petrelis, and I am a life coach. I become stronger every day by receiving this fuel of life that you receive when you support others, overcome their fears, and enjoy their everyday life.
What this pandemic taught me? That we can become better together and use our strengths to pull each other out of whatever challenges life brings us. We can do this – together!
Published in Thrive Global on September 20, 2020.