A Healer’s Life in the Pandemic, and the Many Paths to Our Common Goal
As a holistic healer, my experience of the pandemic has been a little different than other people’s: My radar immediately activated as soon as there was a threat, and my actions have been proactive, not reactive. What that means is that my approach to caring for myself and others has been different than the mainstream, even if it was equally effective. Here’s what life is like from this perspective.
In December 2019, my intuition impelled me to buy a gas mask. It was telling me that air quality was going to be an issue in the near future. After days of searching, I finally purchased a 3M mask with filters. I posted a picture of myself wearing this mask on my private Facebook page. The friends who understand my intuitive hits took this to be a sign that something was coming. Now, of course, we know what that was.
Six weeks later, in early February 2020, my intuition told me that I needed to improve my immune system. I cut dairy from my diet and began juicing vegetables. I also finally learned what zinc does for the body, and began taking a zinc supplement.
In March 2020, the pandemic formally arrived in Ottawa, Ontario, where I live. As of March 12, my household was on lockdown. We are an extremely high-risk, immune-compromised household. Basically, if the virus takes hold, the survival rate will be low. So we went on high-alert with our personal security procedures.
First, we did things to improve our health. We bought and started taking all of the vitamins, added nutrition, and probiotics that help the human body to combat viruses. We have spent more than a thousand dollars so far on nutrition.
We also did things to begin healing our underlying health challenges; in doing so, we were minimizing the damage that the virus might do should we indeed encounter it. This approach is called prophylaxis: proactively improving health in order to avoid or survive a disease.
And we detoxed every single week. The detoxing procedure we use is labor-intensive, but so is being sick, so we had to devote half a day a week to it.
We never left the house. In the first and second waves, we didn’t even open our windows. I was even afraid some days to have the furnace fan running; it pulls outside air into the house.
Prophylaxis: proactively improving health in order to avoid or survive a disease.
When we needed groceries, it was me who went out to get them. When I was out, I would wear not only a mask but also latex gloves. Coming back to my car I would then spray the groceries with peroxide and rinse my gloves with that as well. You never know if a molecule of virus is on the bags, on your coat…it could be anywhere.
I would go out every three weeks, stock up on everything we could possibly need for the next few weeks, and come home with heavy loads of supplies. I would then unload these onto the floor of the garage, and sit on a stool for an hour while I sprayed every. single. item. with sanitizer, wiped it all down, and left the supplies in quarantine for a day or two. Then I would head for my “pandemic shower”: clothes go straight into the washing machine, I go straight into the shower, washing my hair twice, scrubbing any skin that had been exposed, and then putting peroxide into my ears, nose, and mouth.
We have a pandemic shower every time we go out. Every time. And it has been 17 months.
We have always worn disposable masks, and to us they are always a one-time use. We’ve spent hundreds of dollars on KN95s. When we go out, we put on our masks before we get out of the car; we only take them off once we’re back inside. Not everyone does, though, and I go out of my way in parking lots to dodge the clouds of exhale of the people who are breathing freely.
In summer 2020, the restrictions here in Ontario had been lifted somewhat and a lot of people were outside having fun and out at stores shopping. I understand that they were blowing off steam, venting pent-up angst, and just needing some semblance of normalcy. But the high-risk households were driven further inside because of that. Every time I saw people outside of my home without a mask, I was prevented from even opening a window. Do you know how that feels? It broke my heart again and again. All they had to do was wear a mask, and we could step outside our door.
During that summer, as people were seeking normalcy, my household knew that the pandemic had not ended. Indeed, it was far from over. We spent those months re-stocking our supplies for the coming wave. As the businesses had opened up, so had some of the supply chains.
As people were seeking normalcy, my household was re-stocking our supplies.
And then came the next wave, and the next lockdowns, and we were prepared. We were burned out; so very tired from all of the effort we expend each and every week in proactively improving our health and taking measures to ensure the virus never passes through our front door. We were lonely, though. We had not been able to take part in the summer’s social activities.
During the winter 2020/2021 I shoveled the snow in a mask. In cold temperatures, the virus does not sink to the ground. Rather, it hangs in the air at about the level at which it was breathed out of someone. This is to say that it can be found at the level of your nose and mouth.
In spring 2021, I also cut the grass in a mask. I was still sanitizing our groceries. I was still getting furious at junk mailers who dared to put their flyers in our mailbox during a pandemic; flyers that I have to touch when I’m desperately trying not to touch anything.
In June 2021, Ontario lifted its latest lockdown. The lift went into effect at 12:01am. Pictures circulating online the next day showed groups of people outside of bars, no masks on, waiting for these establishments to open. You tell me: When you drink alcohol, does that make you more or less careful about spacing, masking, and safety all around?
Throughout the summer I would see people out spending time with groups of friends and groups of strangers. Maybe they had been vaccinated. But they wore no masks. Had arms around each other or sitting next to each other at a restaurant. And the concerts…. I looked at all of this and the only thing that’s happening is that we’re prolonging the pandemic.
I know we’re all burned out. I know we need community and social stimulation and just “normalcy.” I know that. Don’t you think I know that? I haven’t had a social engagement in all this time, aside from one masked and distanced hangout at a friend’s store when it was just the two of us, and one outdoor, distanced hangout on a farm. That’s it. A year and a half, and those are my social events. No restaurants — not even patios. No anything. It’s a pandemic. Period. If we want it to be over, we need to not prolong it.
And yet, it’s still here. And now we’re in a fourth wave. And one thing I see is that some of the people who have gotten shots feel invincible. They feel somehow as if they truly can return to normalcy, and hang out in close quarters unmasked with other people. But is that not how an airborne virus spreads?
Some of them also feel like they have a moral high ground for having gotten shots. I’m not sure why that is. Do these help? Sure. Are they better than what I and others have been doing for the last 17 months? I’m not sure.
Is that not how an airborne virus spreads?
And why would that matter anyway? Why does it matter what your strategy is and what my strategy is — as long as both of our strategies are protecting ourselves, protecting our families, and doing everything in our power to protect others from the spread of this airborne predator?
Why would it matter?
Because the government said so? Surely we all know by now that the government is not always to be trusted.
Because the mainstream media said so? See above.
Because the science said so? Okay, this is where we need a nuanced discussion. Science is a wonderful thing. Hypotheses tested, observations made, data collected, data analyzed, tentative conclusions drawn, strategies formed. Science is a wonderful thing. But science is only wonderful when it’s unbiased. Science is also only wonderful when it’s fully funded. Science is only wonderful when the full results of all studies have been made equally available to the public. In the case of this pandemic, that isn’t necessarily happening. And before anyone yells out “theorist!” let’s just take a breath for a moment. Let the amygdala calm down. Let the information get to the higher parts of the brain and really think about what we know about the world we live in.
Anyone who follows me on social media has seen my sickness over what the American Psychiatric Association has done to people who have been traumatized [source: “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.]. First, the APA refuses — to this day — to acknowledge that Complex Trauma even exists. Do you know what the APA is responsible for? They create and publish the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM). The DSM is what mental health professionals use to diagnose and treat their patients. The DSM is what the insurance companies decide what they will pay for. And the DSM is what researchers use to determine what to research, learn about, and develop treatments for. By not recognizing Complex Trauma, the APA is knowingly, deliberately, and purposefully keeping our most traumatized brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and loved ones in deep suffering. And if you’re interested in the science, then know that there is a body of scientific studies which prove Complex Trauma.
Would you like to hear one more thing that the APA refuses to recognize? They will not recognize that trauma can happen between people. What that means is that the American Psychiatric Association tells American mental health professionals, insurers, and researchers that the only way to be traumatized is through an event like a car accident or a natural disaster. If you were raped, assaulted, witnessed a murder, or served on the frontlines of war and watched your friend be blown up, then that is not a traumatic experience.
Why the tangent about the APA? Well, because they are doctors, are they not? And yet they are somehow fallible here. What these medical professionals swear by is just not valid. Worse, it is highly likely to be deliberately biased for a reason I won’t speculate on.
This is one example — just one, and there are more — of where the medical leadership gets it wrong.
Does all medical leadership get it wrong? No. But can they, sometimes, for whatever reason, in some cases, be wrong — even knowingly? Yes. Of course.
Did you know that doctors are being pressured right now to toe the line? They are even being threatened by their governing bodies to toe the line, not stray from it, or face consequences that include the loss of the career they have worked so hard for.
What that does is provide only one line. One single line; one single treatment option. Take that treatment or face the consequences. We can’t even have a private discussion with our doctors about all of the other treatment options and preventative measures that are available.
Why haven’t you heard about these other measures? I don’t know. Have you gone looking for them, though?
Remember that this is a pandemic; that means it’s happening to the whole world. That also means that it’s being researched by the whole world. And many countries have indeed published scientific studies about a variety of other measures; including ones that are effective against this virus.
At the end of the day, the important thing is this: to not let this divide us. To recognize the humanity in each other. To be compassionate with someone who is struggling to do the best they can. And to see through the messaging that wants to turn us against each other, and to choose instead to be kind.
I like to think that my friends know my heart. If you know me then probably you know that I’m decently intelligent, thoughtful, and strong. And yet I have been yelled at, “If you tell me you’re an anti-vaxxer, I’m going to end this conversation!” Like…what the heck?
My experience living in the spiritual community has taught me something relevant here: It has taught me that the people who inhabit the extreme ends of any spectrum tend to give the rest of that spectrum a bad name. It’s hard to be taken seriously as an energy healer when the general public hears the word Reiki and immediately associates that with the worst, most spaced out, nonsensical pocket of humanity. Establishing my work as a valid, proven, rational modality is a constant battle.
The people who inhabit the extreme ends of any spectrum tend to give the rest of that spectrum a bad name.
The same is true with the vaccines. I just need you to know that. Anyone at the extreme end of the spectrum does not speak for the bulk of us in the middle. The ones who do read the science. The ones who do respect the doctors. The ones who do give credence to government policy. But the ones who also expand their search criteria to include the wealth of other information out there.
I respect people’s right to do what’s in their own best interest. I respect all of the measures that all of us have taken to be safe. But there are many paths to that common goal. We don’t hear about them, so I guess that’s why I’ve been propelled to speak about mine. But hopefully the more we can open our minds to include others’ perspectives, the more relaxed we’ll feel about the true threat to our safety, and the sooner we can beat this thing.
As of April 1, 2021, I again radically changed my diet in order to change my body chemistry. In June, I spent hundreds of dollars on a cleansing program that is labor-intensive to an extent that is exhausting, but which is improving my health dramatically; beyond where it was before. I’m not sure what percentage of the population can say the same thing.
I will keep doing the part that is mine to do. I just hope that other people can respect me for it, even if my path is different from theirs.