Smoke and Mirrors

By Jasmine Gercke


How we rise from the aftermath of a world crisis:


“I often stood in front of the mirror alone wondering how ugly a person could get.”

Charles Bukowski



We have lived in a fog of the obscured truth about the global mental health crisis for over two years, which was caused by some misleading and often irrelevant information regurgitated by the media. In 2019 this very real pandemic hit our humanity and has deeply affected our psyche and tested our human ability to adapt to this unforeseen crisis. It has shed light on the human tendency of making simple things complicated with an overflow of information. The fear of the world being attacked by the invisible virus has exposed our state of humanity and indeed I often stood in front of my mirror wondering how we will emerge from this trauma.


What we have referred to as a Mental Health pandemic has taken a toll towards hope and recovery. Recognizing what trauma we have endured allows us to heal it. The trauma society has experienced during the pandemic is within. We must acknowledge it as an internal wound in our body and strive towards mental and emotional recovery from the social issues we have faced.


“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting


We are still experiencing collective traumatic stresses and the uncertainty we have survived during these waves of isolation and normalcy is highly linked to the current societal state of anxiety. Laughing it off has become one of our main coping mechanisms.


How do we deal with such a crisis in a positive manner?

While the wheels are still spinning, let us isolate the main social issues we are faced with such as loss of income, addiction, insomnia and anxiety. It is dreams, goals and amazing ideas of innovation that can counter these social threats. This life reawaken has allowed the resilient crowd to thrive and weakened the weak. In a way we are experiencing Darwinism hands on and observing who are the fittest in a world of chaos.


“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


So what were the go to survival methods our society turned to in desperation of killing time and staying sane.


1. Education

Whilst we saw a tremendous strain on the education system, we also managed to implement online disrupted learning and witnessed a community of engaged individuals that permitted education to continue at home during school closures. As for the adults, curricular leanings was a tool to prevent depression and emerge yourself into a new skill. A great solution to counter the challenge of change and emerge from the pandemic with additional skill sets. However, online education is raising a concern for increased obesity. On the flip side, it is a way to reduce racial discrimination in schools. Awareness will prevail and allow us to continue striving for improved health among our youth by controlling screen time and encouraging exercise and a balanced diet.



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2. Family


For most family was a pillar of support allowing for the rhythm of love to take place, mealtime as a unity and recreational time together. The downfall was definitely the dysfunctional families, with domestic violence which sae increased cases. The isolation was detriment. Most affected were families with health issues, as they were limited to see each other during restrictive measures. We hope for support lines and open communication to provide an outlet for such victims. For the most, family was a gift, and transformation occurred within allowing for additional time to bond and reflect on the state of our world and build stronger relationships.


3. Travel


Whilst travel was restricted many managed to maneuver this obstacle and thankfully vaccinations permitted us to return to work and travel swiftly. The process of immunization was accelerated in the hope to jump on the next plane to avoid the global pandemic and its potential future waves.


Tourism has seen a tremendous decrease and the global impact of wildlife and economies that rely on tourists are still suffering financially. A sustainable recovery will include everyone’s contribution to the service industry and realizing the power of travel in the healing process. Travel expands our mind and opens ourselves to other cultures assisting the emotional recovery from such a traumatic event.


“There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.

Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything


What were the differences that appear between those who thrive and those who suffer in times of crisis?

Times are challenging and this has been a test of leadership due to the acute medical crisis caused by the pandemic and the path to recovery must examine the tool of gratitude to empower our people anew. As an NLP practitioner I applied the methodology of re-framing on a daily basis allowing me to accept the circumstances and in my case stagnancy of my life remembering that this too shall pass and I am not alone in how I feel. I am strong and resilient was my main mantra in this global health pandemic.


The psychiatric consequences of the brain are enhanced by the isolation and curfew during the pandemic and in order to manage the agitated humanity and extreme increase in the number of cases of depression and sleeping problems, we continue to promote well-being through human connection and community, which allows for some normalcy a midst the unknown.


The disaster takeaways during such a world crisis are proven that group healing is more effective than isolation and in my humble opinion this never-ending story must come to an end, as we finally realize the world is round and there are no corners to hide in.


The positive impact has been extreme resilience and social strength in times of hardship and our focus must continue by improving our community ties, supporting each other during crisis and striving for improved social values. Whilst the pandemic has had some severe consequences on our existence, we must not be blinded by the steam on our mirrors and look closely at the positive learning experience. The improvement to our environment and ability to change human behavior for a more health conscious world is astonishing.

Less cars, bluer skies and a more awakened humanity will lead our future and rather than blowing smoke about the pandemic, we continue to strive and focus on a sustainable recovery and improved world to live in.


“ A flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”

Fa Zhou in Mulan









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