What happens if you have been infected with the virus? You obviously experience the various symptoms and suffer the pain of fever, coughing and many other ailments. You are also likely to be afraid and to worry about other people you care about becoming infected through their contact with you. Thus, the fear is often intermingled with guilt — not a very pleasant mixture of emotions.
There is some hope in the midst of this distress. First, the resources for dealing with the virus are increasing every day and you need to keep informed of these improvements. Second, you need to continually tell yourself that your chances of surviving the infection without any long term damage (or death) is great. In fact, you might emerge from your battle with this virus with the weapon (anti-bodies) to be immune to it in the future.
You might have self-immunized! This could mean, in turn, that you can go out and be of great help to other people. We don’t know this for sure — but you might be part of the “chosen few (or many)” that can of great use if and when the virus hits again. Your future assistance might help to assuage any lingering guilt you might have about infecting other people.
Third, there is the psychological growth and reframing of one’s life experiences and purposes that often accompany life-threatening illnesses. Several of the founding members of our Global Psychology Task Force (Christy Lewis and Kendell Munzer) have faced the physical and psychological challenges associated with this type of illness and have come away from this challenge with new skills, attitudes and behavior patterns grounded in new levels of HOPE. Here is a link to the essay they have written together, which is published in the Library of Professional Psychology;
We offer a second narrative about hope. This comes from Dr. Rosalind Sun, another member of our Global Task Force. Dr. Sun lives in Singapore and has a long history of supporting other people from all tiers of society. Currently, she has been a source of great support to other Singaporeans who have tested positive. At the same, time Rosalind is reaching out for her own support, as she faces her own challenge of being afflicted with an advanced stage of cancer. In this interview, Rosalind Sun talks about the role that religion plays as a source of support and hope in her own struggles with cancer. She reflects in addition on the hope to be found in family, church and community.
[To access this videocast if your country restricts access to Vimeo, copy the link presented below, delete what is now in the browser (long diagonal box at top of your Internet page) and paste the new link in the browser. Then click on the dark black address that appears just below the browser. It should take you right to the videocast which you activate by clicking on the “play” arrow.]
Here are links to other essays on hope (prepared in conjunction with the Hope Project conducted by the research and development division of the Professional School of Psychology).
With hope as the foundation, we offer some suggestions and resources related to health, head and heart.