Susan Rogers: Screaming loudly really helps
It’s July 1 as I write this. We are now on the downhill side of the calendar, able to cut off the top half of our Walker’s Office Supply wall calendar and re-post just the bottom. Where did the first half of the year go?
I’m not the type of person who ponders and philosophizes. The genealogist side of me wants to say that my huge practical streak comes from my matrilineal Dutch heritage. I see the Dutch people as very no-nonsense, practical, not highly emotional, and good problem-solvers (for example, they are the world leader in how to hold back the sea). That’s probably a good description of me as well (other than the part about holding back the sea).
The first half of the year (most of it) was lost, of course, to a tiny virus that has turned the world upside down. As another editorial writer has said, the first few weeks of the shutdown were peaceful and pretty nice in my book, other than scary shortages at the grocery store. Email volume dropped dramatically — what a blessing that was. Then people lucky enough to have good internet figured out how to sort-of stay connected online. Now email volume is up again more than ever, much of it due to the impending November election.
Worse, the coronavirus numbers look pretty awful — rising in more than half the states, and rising nearly daily now for the past week in western Nevada County. Our bubble of safety has been pierced. Worse again is how many local residents (including a certain former elected official of a local city) are choosing not to believe the public health experts about the value of wearing a mask when out in public.
The end is not in sight. Up until now, with these rising numbers, it’s been easy to convince ourselves that somehow, it will be over soon. It will not. It will not be over until there’s a vaccine that is safe, that works, and that most people in the United States have received. (Yes, I know about herd immunity, but that takes a minimum of 70% of the population to achieve it and it’s still not proven that having had the virus actually makes you immune to subsequent infection.)
Enough vaccine for the general population apparently will not be ready until next year at the earliest. Next year. That’s more than six months off — more than what’s on the entire bottom half of your Walker’s wall calendar. And that’s more — about twice as much more — than what we’ve already been through.
Are you kidding me? How can we manage the stress?
The County of Nevada recently put some resources on its website about helping yourself get through it. It’s pretty standard fare, but it’s something.
Here’s a different idea that works for me, a not-very-emotional person. I scream as loud as I can. It really helps. I definitely feel less of the “black cloud of doom” hanging over me when I’m done screaming — less need to just lie down and have a good cry.
Of course, you can’t do this just anywhere, anytime. Once, I gave advance warning to my husband but not my son, who was in his room downstairs. He panicked and came running out to see if I was OK. You have to make sure others won’t hear you (or are warned you’re going to do it).
So, if you live with others in a house that’s not near any neighbors, give all your housemates a heads-up just before you do it. Go to the most far-away, enclosed room in your house — I use the master bathroom. Then just scream as loud as you can. Put your whole body into it. Feel free to vary the pitch while you’re screaming. Do it two or three times. If men reading this think screaming is only for women, then you can yell or shout instead. Let out all your rage and grief.
If you live in a house, apartment or other place where neighbors are likely to hear you, you can scream in your car, as I have done a few times. I do it on the freeway or on stretches of road where others aren’t nearby (parts of Brunswick, Idaho-Maryland, etc.). Just make sure you stay in control of your car.
Your throat will be a little hoarse for a few minutes afterwards, so have some water near.
In other cultures, making loud noises has long been an acceptable way for people to express anger, frustration, grief from loss, etc. You can google “does screaming help you feel better” and find various articles supporting this concept. It works for me, maybe it will work for you.
Susan Rogers is member of The Union’s Editorial Board. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Editorial Board or its members. She can be reached at EditBoard@theunion.com.
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