By Bart Magee, Ph.D.
Back in May 2020, during the early, dark days of the pandemic lockdown, I wrote that we might find threads of hope in recognizing how millions of people around the world came together to change their behavior, support each other and limit the spread of COVID-19. In the ensuing months, now years, we’ve often overlooked the various ways people responded to the pandemic by ingeniously adapting and demonstrating mighty resilience. I thought at the time and still believe today that by engaging similar, creative, collective action will lead us to ending the mental illness epidemic and overcoming our many social ills. At the same time, the other responses we’ve witnessed during the last few years warn of the hurdles ahead. Shaming and blaming ourselves and others, social withdrawal and dissociation, disconnection from our bodies, rabid disinformation, political dysfunction, ecological collapse, along with unchecked anxiety and confusion. Looking ahead to 2022, even as COVID becomes more “endemic”, disruptions, both those associated with the pandemic and the disparate ones (economic, social, environmental), no doubt will continue. How will we respond? Could 2022 be the year in which we redouble efforts to come together, combat our darker impulses, support creative resilience in each other, and find new paradigms of thinking and organizing ourselves socially? If so, what will it take? What does it take to get unstuck?