When I was a kid I spent a lot of time inside my head, a practice that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would be great preparation for the creative demands of adulthood. One of the “games” I played in my head was imagining what it would be like to spend a year in a confined, isolated space. Could I imagine all the things I would need to survive and how to store them in a such a tiny space? I even imagined the endless exercise regime I would undertake to fill my days and stay physically healthy. As I got a little older, I would realize the things I forgot to include, but overall, my lists were pretty good and I got a great sense of a minimalist lifestyle.
The past two months have almost been as if this childhood imaginary game had come true. I thought I was prepared. But I wasn’t.
The one thing I never considered, at least not until the pandemic of 2020 – The Big Pause – was the mental strain. Truth be told, most days are pretty good with business largely operating at the same level (so far), even if every meeting has been reduced to Zoom and every conversation to Covid-19. But then there are those one or two dark moments of the week. A blue Monday; an exhausted Friday night; a Saturday morning without purpose, other than more work. Moments that approach the first stages of depression where all the diversions and joys of real life are absent. I haven’t spoken to anyone in the past two months who can’t relate to that – and deeply.
For the first time we realize – really realize – how incredibly spoiled we have been for most of the past four decades. Sure, there were enormous tragedies – wars, 9/11, the Great Recession and shocks to the market such as Black Monday in 1987. And despite their magnitudes, I don’t think anything was like this with its vast horizon into the unknown.
Now we have an inkling of what it was like on the home front during World War II. Rationing, coupons, War Bonds, shortages, Victory Gardens and that fear for loved ones “over there.”
How dark do those moments get for you? How big do the fears become? For most of us, most of the time, they stay as fears, the things that ultimately motivate us to action, if not today, then likely tomorrow. But what if they elevate to panic, and incapacitate us? Worse, what happens if we rely on professional caregivers for a loved one who already suffers from some form of mental illness and now it’s up to us? Or what if it is us who needs the care?
On our latest Monday Mornings broadcast, we had Dan Gillison, the CEO of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as our guest. As fascinating as he is passionate. Spend a little time with us on the issue and learn about the resources NAMI provides. In this challenging time, it is one of the most important resources we can provide for our employees. We all need more daylight.
Enjoy the show and the accompanying read.
Stay safe and healthy.
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