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Covid-19: The Great Pandemic and One of the Great "Leveler"s

by Peter Segal


Kurt Vonnegut’s, “Harrison Bergeron,” is a short story in which he describes the perfect world. The future is a time and place where equality is imposed on everyone in all areas of life.

It’s just a simple matter of weights; lead weights to be exact. People compensate for advantages and superior qualities by being assigned the specific weight that’s neutralizes those advantages.


How the Pandemic is Leveling the  Playing Field

In a sense, that’s what the pandemic is doing. For example: was business going really well? Try operating in a year of ultimate uncertainty – when employees are under more stress than ever before. Finally have a solid routine to balance work, kids, school, etc.? Try working from home while simultaneously helping your kids with virtual schooling.

As someone with depression sufficient for a small village, I can relate to this turnaround on Vonnegut’s story. But that’s really just anger talking; as if, someone who’s appeared to have it all is finally getting theirs.

Life is not that black and white. Whether it’s having no one in your life, or too many children all wanting special attention, or wanting someone with whom you can share your burden. This is a far more complicated bargain.

There is no weight or challenge that addresses all aspects of life. The tide raises and lowers all ships at the same times.


“For most people, Covid is a lead blanket”

For most people Covid is a lead blanket. Those who previously had it all are suffering in ways you can’t imagine. People unaccustomed to feeling isolation and depression may be overwhelmed right now.

In fact, if you’ve struggled with depression, you may find yourself slightly ahead of the curve and in a new position where you can help others less experienced with these feelings.


Simple Ways to Help

You can start using some of the techniques you learned in therapy to offer more than a kind word. Perhaps you felt people didn’t need you before. Well, they need you now.

You know how to listen, you know what works, and you know how to give advice. Don’t forget the value of simply getting outside for a walk. Or, try journaling even if you don’t ordinarily write.

Here’s an easy way to start. Begin the page with, “I remember when,” or “When I was young…” The journal will literally begin to write itself.

You’ll gain insight and make connections like never before. See if this mitigates your own depression. You may be on a more equal footing which is good for you, and good for those around you. Lead on.

Some of the topics we cover can be difficult. For free and confidential support, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Want to Read More?

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