My screen time is limited to 15 minutes per day due to the #covid_19 -caused shingles in my eye (zoster virus ophthalmicus) and in my head (trigeminal nerve), but spending it making meaningful graphics is a form of therapy, no matter how much I want to escape my body. To be frank, my pain is off the charts (again: shingles. in my eye. on top of #longcovid , #scleritis and my laundry list of #covid -induced #chronic diagnoses). I could mope around and question “why me? why this conveyor belt of hell?”, but I‘m forcing myself to take solace in knowing that there’s a message in all of this and that although the pain is excruciating (eye shingles alone is deemed as one of the most painful conditions to ever hit mankind), that the life-long lessons to be learned far outweigh the (hopefully) temporary hell. My battle with #longhaulcovid has lasted 7.7 months and my case of #shingles (although there’s no known precedent #postcovid19) is said to last 3-5 weeks. In the grand scheme, this pain is fleeting. If I can make it through this, I can make it through anything. Which leads me to the point, which may sound cliche but that’s solely because the meaning of the expression has been stripped away due to our inability to feel and mean the words we say: that everything is about perspective. The perspective that I can’t help but call out is that humanity is hemorrhaging due to another virus known as “ego” (opinions, biases, judgements, etc.) based upon misinformation, a society-wide lack of compassion, and the selfish and damaging mindset that you know better than another’s lived experience. That is a global sickness that has gotten us into this mess, and it’s empathy and solidarity (coming together as one human species and not highly fractured divisions of this human species) that will heal us. As patients we need compassion from others and ourselves: as a collective we need compassion for the whole and the sum of its parts. Until we holistically employ compassion - and active listening when it comes to the cries for help from #longhaul and #chronicillness patients - our species will be plagued with pain until Earth succumbs and the deepest damage is done.