Carolina Troncone, Global Mental Health project manager shares her experience with Covid-19, how she coped such as with meditation and the support she received from Schneider Electric during this difficult time.
In recognition of World Mental Health Day, Schneider Electric acknowledges these are extraordinarily challenging and unique times that impact each of us differently. Recognizing that #OurMentalHealthMatters is key to achieve our ambition and to foster an inclusive company culture where everyone feels safe to be their unique self, even at the hardest moments like when we are distressed, anxious, or unable to cope – especially when pandemic fatigue is real.
And yes, all of a sudden, I tested positive for Covid.
I got into a full-speed roller-coaster of myriad thoughts and feelings; fear, despair, and a strong sensation that nothing made sense in my life. The self-questioning started: Why do I do the things I do? What’s the point of it all? Do I really like what I’m doing in and with my life?
Rocky Balboa match
I was lucky that my physical symptoms were manageable, but my anxiety levels would amplify them. Meditation became a big lifesaver, to help me navigate the constant waves of mixed feelings, negative thoughts, and the emptiness I felt.
However, the worst moment was when I almost completely lost my sense of smell and taste. I had a panic attack and I just wanted to scream and run out of the door to nowhere.
Until that moment I would meditate for maybe 2 hours, but I pushed myself to step up my game and started to do 3-4 hours a day. I found hope and lived in the moment: “Now you have the time to stop and reconnect. What are the real pending topics in your life?”
The biggest fight I was facing, as my physical symptoms were becoming more stable (Thank God!), was my mental well-being and my social well-being (my purpose).
Finding my Ikigai
A few weeks before, I had bought a book about the Japanese concept, Ikigai which refers to “something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living”. I would juggle each day between meditation and reading the book that would confront me with challenging questions like: What’s the purpose that motivates you to wake up each day?
Little by little, adding meditation time and pages, I started feeling coherence in my heart and mind, reconnecting with what was right in my life and what I feel grateful for. Lots of family memories and moments comforted me.
My biggest takeaway was “Everything that I seek is already in me”.
My magic wand
“What you attend to in this moment becomes your reality” – William James
Once I could let my negative thoughts and feelings pass, I focused on all the good in my life, including the caring support and follow-up I was receiving from the Health and Safety team in Schneider Electric. There was always a gentle voice asking me, the simplest yet most impactful questions: How are you doing today and How can I help you?
A bit more than 2 weeks passed, but it felt like months. I was feeling happy and relieved about my winning match with Rocky Balboa.
A new boxer around the corner
And yet around the corner, a new match was waiting for me, fogginess and losing track of time would be my co-workers for a while. Trust, empathy, flexibility, and authentic open check-ins with my team led me to a big AHA moment… Naming the beast: I was suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Once I named it, all the pieces started to fall into place, so I trusted myself, and refocused my energy into: “What do I need to learn about this beast? I listened to podcasts, read some articles, took support from family and friends, and of course continued practicing meditation.
Like everything in life, it passed. I was lucky enough to count on a very supportive environment both professionally and personally. The day I made my bed again and I knew that everything was going to be alright.
About the author
Carolina Troncone, Global HR Project Manager for Well-Being