Being Certain of Yourself in a Time of Uncertainty

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by: Hannah Dempsey, Sydney


2020 has washed a wave of uncertainty over humankind.  Although starting with a bang, 2020 soon revealed itself to be a glitch in the system.  Before the fires, the deaths, the pandemic, the killer wasps; there was a refreshing enthusiasm hanging in the air about the year to be. Social media allowed people to share said enthusiasm and outline their 2020 goals.  Do more, be more, love thyself more. So what happens when a pandemic strips people of their ability to do just that? And what happens when your ability to believe in yourself is stripped with it? Having full belief or certainty in yourself is a rarity that I have seen glimmers of in others but struggled to feel any shine in myself.  There are reasons, traumas, faults, and truths (or untruths) that may have contributed to my lack of shine but I’ll be the first to admit that COVID threw dirt over any signs of light.  This lackluster feeling is what I think of when I talk about my mental health.  A dullness, that when met with a willingness, the right cleaning agent, some determination, and some extra hands on deck, can shine brighter than before. COVID and the subsequent self-isolation forced us to be alone; to sit still and remove distractions that may bring us fake or intermittent brightness.  If you didn’t have the right cleaning products, it showed, just like the empty aisles of supermarkets where toilet paper once lived.  It forced me to rely on my true feelings about myself to bring me happiness and certainty in the future.  Consequently, the future looked bleak. There is zero doubt in my mind that this has happened to many others. Mental health is a pandemic we are faced with every day.  But what we have learned over the past 50 years is that it is complicated.  There will never be a vaccine, something as ‘simple’ as a needle in the arm, to eradicate it.  COVID has forced me to sit with these feelings, and although terrifying, it brought back some light. Everyone’s ability to clean away the dirt and the tools needed to do so is different. I am currently finding ways to reignite my light, but what I can be sure of is that one day, I will shine.


Debbie Pask

Reply From Debbie Pask: Thanks, Hannah for a great insight into how 2020 has affected you. I loved the last point about the fact there is NO SIMPLE way to smooth over our mental health. For those brave people who work on themselves and show up every day to find a new way to find their inner sunshine, I have deep respect. It’s not easy. But then, either is numbing it out and hoping it will go away. It tends to start as a feather, then a pebble, a rock, a brick, and then a truck. Trucks are seriously messed up. If you have a TRUCK busting down your door, please reach out. Love to hear anyone else’s journey in 2020 so far…

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