We’ve heard about people using fake vaccination cards, but, last week, we heard about a man who tried to avoid the vaccine with a fake arm. This man was a dentist, who was attempting a work-around to the Italian law requiring health workers to be vaccinated and is now facing possible charges for fraud. His explanation was that he just didn’t want to get the vaccine. My initial reaction was wonder about how he thought that he could possibly pull off this stunt and amusement about the lengths some will go through to avoid the rules.
As I reflected on it, however, I realize that COVID continues to push many of us well beyond our comfort zone whether through mandates or simply cumulative stress. Although I’m vaccinated and believe that people should be vaccinated, I know others have strong beliefs that we shouldn’t rush to be vaccinated. If we look beyond the debate on vaccination, the pandemic has created a lot of stress that reaches far beyond just health concerns. If I step into the shoes of someone not vaccinated, I can imagine the stress of whether the freedoms enjoyed in the past or even certain jobs will be available. For the vaccinated, stresses result from frustration that COVID continues to circulate, the rise of new variants, and the disruption to all of our lives.
Since the crisis began, I’ve noticed, as I’m sure that many of you have, a general decline in civility among people, whether in traffic, in line at the store, or at my kids’ sports games. I believe there is a lot of underlying stress and anxiety about a lot of things including Covid, and not as much patience as I think was the case pre-Covid. During the holidays, it might be a good time to take a brief pause and think about how to be more intentional – maybe not judging people’s actions immediately but thinking about the challenges and struggles that they might be facing, which may be influencing their actions. I can’t guarantee that their behavior will change but I believe that my own peace of mind may be enhanced by taking a more caring and less judging perspective.
And, I heard tonight that, most likely after some reflection of his own, the Italian dentist reconsidered and got the vaccine in his real arm.
This week’s selection is:
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by J Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert on trauma, applies modern scientific approaches to reveal just how trauma reshapes both the body and the brain. With over 30 years of research and working with survivors, Van der Kolk teaches us how our bodies confine us to the past despite any effort of the mind to leave it behind. While powerfully arguing that trauma is one of the world’s most urgent public health issues, he explores innovative treatments that offer new pathways to recovery by utilizing the brain’s natural ability to heal.