May 2020 – Prevention Talk

Prevention Talk, May 2020

Helen M. Exum, BS, Senior Prevention Educator

Twin County Recovery Services, Inc.

Americans Strike a Positive Note Midst the Pandemic.

As we New Yorkers and the nation continue to wrestle with the ever-changing landscape that has become our new reality there are heartwarming signs of appreciation springing up all over the country. Despite our collective anxiety over an uncertain future and the daily struggle to survive, many of our fellow citizens strive to make a difficult situation bearable, even better for others. Our health care workers and first responders have demonstrated courage, strength, and compassion putting their lives in jeopardy for the sake of their fellow man.  Doctors and nurses have responded to the call for help abandoning retirement to volunteer for this hazardous work. Heath Care encompasses a wide variety of services. Counselors continue supporting those in recovery using technology to provide virtual meetings and private sessions. Psychologists are working to provide the stabilizing support for mental patients and those experiencing stress. Stress and anxiety are everywhere especially in hard hit areas where employment is rampant and food deprivation is a fact of life. Researchers work feverishly to learn more about this new illness and to develop an antidote. All this while primary care physicians care for the rest of the population’s needs and pharmacists fill our prescriptions. Teacher’s provide online learning for their students. Thousands of working men and women are keeping this country going while thousands more work from home. Whether on the job or working from home we are all working together to make life possible.  

Despite the hardships the human spirit rises to the occasion. At 7:00pm every evening people in New York City in a collective effort to demonstrate their appreciation for all the work being done by health Care workers go to their windows, doors, balconies or rooftops and applaud. It’s reassuring to see and hear people acknowledging the sacrifices of others. People across the country have begun to follow this evening ritual as a way of acknowledging the heroism that is evident throughout the nation and the world. Last week on a trip to Beacon my son noticed that many houses had Thank You posters in their windows. These were handmade posters expressing gratitude for t the sacrifices so many are making for the sake of us all.

 Many of our friends and neighbors from the city have relocated to their second homes during the lockdown. As a result, the Windham Path a beautiful 3 mile walking/biking path that meanders along the Batavia Kill has seen an increase in use. About four weeks ago during my daily walk I noticed small rocks with inspirational messages artistically painted on them scattered strategically along the Path. As I read each I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy, understanding and compassion these simple but profound statements expressed. Their messages became  subject matter for contemplation. More rocks began to appear. Some were simply pictures of a sunrise, a mountain scene, a rainbow but each created the sense of serenity and peace we so desperately need right now. Clearly some were produced by children who with the characteristic optimism of childhood offered their hopes for a brighter future. These signs of caring, comfort and messages of strength uplifted the spirit.  Easter Sunday morning brought a special treat. Colorful plastic eggs nestled in the grass, crocks of trees and tucked under benches. An open egg revealed a small square of construction paper with the word “Love” in childish handwriting. These messages of strength, tenacity, love, endurance, courage, and support and resonate. What sums this experience up is one of the first rocks I discovered. It said, “We’re all in this together.”