OK, everyone jump in the pool. It is time for us to learn how to swim. Maybe we already know how to, so it is time to practise what we have learned. Or perhaps, we just get wet and feel the water splashing our bodies cooling off from summer’s heat. Listen, I hear music playing and many laughing. Smelling food from a grill. Spending some time outside each sunny day as it comes. Most of us enjoying the recent holiday Independence Day without a care in the world.
Suddenly, with no advanced warning reality begins to set in. Bright skies turn grey, then it to black and in a second everything stops. In the distance, I see up ahead something familiar. It is not the signpost from ‘the twilight zone’. As I awake, I realise it was all a dream. Here my day begins. Eight o’clock in the morning and I hear the TV that I left on talking again about COVID-19, spewing the current stats of deaths and hospitalisations. How very upsetting. Although I am not employed as a certified peer specialist, I assist myself and others with my skills.
Using my tablet, many days I attempt to connect with people from other countries with their different cultures. Like most individuals, they are dealing with their current situation the way they can. This person states they drink too much, so I try harm reduction. On one day, I employed relaxation techniques to a man who barely leaves his home due to his stress of both COVID-19 and anxieties. Others are local residents so it’s time to work with their budget or lend an ear and listen. Each individual needs to be heard.
By being a certified peer specialist, I feel it is my responsibility to assist people where and when I can. No payments are given for my services. It is my feeling of satisfaction plus internal reward that drives me. Other peer specialists, can think of many possible volunteer opportunities to find a way to give back. Furthermore, I write these articles to promote what peer specialists can achieve; we can achieve. Look, we are continually growing in numbers and in many more avenues of life. Doing our part, one peer specialist at a time.
Most importantly, we do not need violence to solve our issues. Of course, I know that being different is difficult right now, but violence is not an answer to problems. Eventually, this causes harm to others. Respect each other as individuals, not only as a race. Remember first we are all human beings.
Since COVID-19 is still around and gaining strength again, we have to stay and be safe. Wear those masks, remain six feet apart and have only small social gatherings. We owe this to each other. Yes, we do.
Five years later, I long for my significant other, Maureen. Sweetie, I love you, I miss you and I still wish you were here.
Image credit: Freepik
Howard Diamond is a certified peer specialist in New York.