As I had to send out yet *another* message to clients about a potential exposure on my end, I was working through some pretty heavy feelings of guilt and feeling responsible for this happening yet again. I mean, if I really was being careful I wouldn’t have to keep having this conversation, right? I know I haven’t been as confined to a small bubble as I probably could be, but really, short of quitting working altogether my options are limited. One thing this pandemic has really pointed out is how important social activity can be and how big of an impact it truly does have on mental health. It’s hard to find a way to balance safety with sanity, and sometimes it feels like it doesn’t matter how careful you are you still seem to get exposed.
Every time I hit send on this most recent message I felt like I had to have been being irresponsible. Each new message added another surge of feeling terrible. But as the responses from clients and friends started to come in it started to dawn on me that maybe I wasn’t being super irresponsible. I know I didn’t necessarily need to send all those messages. We know that masks and hand washing/sanitizing do work to significantly mitigate the spread of viruses in general. More than likely there wouldn’t be any issues; I know I clean well and I know I’m good about wearing my mask. Buuuuuuuuut in the 5 or so minutes I contemplated what to do after being notified of a client having a positive result after being in my suite, I felt really gross imagining not being up front about it. I know what I’m comfortable with but it isn’t fair and it isn’t right for me to make that decision for another person. After all isn’t that a big contributing factor to how much spread we’ve had already?
So off to notify I went. I hate having to do that part. Especially feeling so close to the last round of phone calls I had to make. I checked the calendar, there was 8 weeks between rounds of messaging about exposures. I guess time starts to lose significance when every day is pretty much the same over and over. Most of us are just doing our best to be cautious and the best way for me to think of to be cautious is to be up front about things that could impact other people and let them exercise their own caution and choose for themselves. I hate hate hate having to send these messages over and over again. I think, though, that it’s something that really highlights just how close it is to everyone whether we realize it or not. Really, it’s just the responsible thing to do. I’ve said over and over again that I’d rather be known for being too cautious than not cautious enough.
I don’t want praise for doing the right thing. I hate that it even feels like a necessary thing. I’m trying to lead by example. I’d bet money that I don’t have to lose that if everyone had taken that approach in the first place and been open about any kind of symptoms they were showing and wore their masks to keep droplets contained, we would have been able to get everything under control a lot faster than we did.