Practicing solo and feeling grateful – despite COVID-19


I know that the world has gone upside down. It’s a nightmare, and people are filled with fear, and death is everywhere. In my little bubble of a world, however, I’ve been doing well.

Dr. Alice W. Lee specializes in integrative and holistic psychiatry and has a private practice in Gaithersburg, Md.

Dr. Alice W. Lee

I can’t lose my job, because I am my job. I’m a solo practitioner and have been for more than a decade. The restrictions to stay at home have not affected me, because I have a home office. Besides, I’m an introvert and see myself as a bit of a recluse, so the social distancing hasn’t been stressful. Conducting appointments by phone rather than face to face hasn’t undermined my work, since I can do everything that I do in my office over the phone. But I do it now in sweats and at my desk in my bedroom more often than not. I am prepared for a decrease in income as people lose their jobs, but that hasn’t happened yet. There are still people out there who are very motivated to come off their medications holistically. No rest for the wicked, as the saying goes.

On an emotional level, I feel calm because I’m not attached to material things, though I like them when they’re here. My children and friends have remained healthy, so I am grateful for that. On a spiritual level, I’m prepared to live or die. I feel grounded in my belief that life goes on one way or another, and I trust in God to direct me wherever I need to go. Socially, I’ve been forced to be less lazy and cook more at home. As a result: less salt, MSG, and greasy food. I’ve spent a lot less on restaurants this past month and am eating less since I have to eat whatever I cook.

Can a person be more pandemic proof? I was joking with a friend about how pandemic-friendly my lifestyle is: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. Oh, did I forget to mention the year supply of supplements in my office closet? They were for my patients, but those whole food green and red powders may come in handy, just in case.

So, that is how things are going for me. Please don’t hate me for not freaking out. When I read the news, I feel very sad for people who are suffering. I get angry at the politicians who can’t get their egos out of the way. But, I look at the sunshine outside my window, and I feel grateful that, at least in my case, I am not adding to the burden of suffering in the world. Not yet, anyway. I will keep trying to do the little bit that I do to help others for as long as I can.

Dr. Lee specializes in integrative and holistic psychiatry and has a private practice in Gaithersburg, Md. She has no disclosures.

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