Lockdowns could be hurting more than they are helping. And if all the numbers don’t open your mind, maybe reading these words will. This is the text of a letter sent to the Governor by a young lady I care very deeply about. Please take the time to read this. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Governor Beshear (and staff):
My name is XXXXX XXXXX. I am 20 years old and a student at the University of Kentucky. I have a little sister, XXXXXX, and two amazing parents, XXXXX and XXXXXX. I love any and all sports, watching reality TV, and listening to rap music in my car alone. I’m a dog person. I’m a sucker for an intense workout and running through the drive thru at Dunkin Donuts immediately after.
My favorite place in the world is by the ocean. I enjoy reading any progressive topic, getting my nails done light pink, and rolling out my sore feet on tennis balls after dancing for 24 hours straight to raise money for pediatric cancer research. I’m passionate about healthcare and have goals to change the existing system. I want to be a doctor- so badly. My friends would consider me a good listener, a fighter in their corner, and the voice behind “Hey, does anyone else want dessert or is it just me?” Governor Beshear, I think you would look at what I’ve just told you about my life and say that I have it pretty good (and I would agree with you). But I’m pretty broken.
Last October, I was clinically diagnosed with depression. I was the picture of everything the world wanted me to be and none of it was true. Living with mental illness is crippling. Leaving a huge house where mom makes chocolate chip waffles in the morning, dad promises to record the championship game and watch it with you later, and little sister surprises you by finally returning your favorite Lululemon sweatshirt so that you can wear it today only to get in your beautiful new car and sob the entire route to class is not normal.
I hope you can understand I’ve eaten myself sick. I’ve thrown up every day for 3 months in a row. I’ve gone a couple days without eating. I’ve stayed in bed for almost 24 hours at a time. I’ve quit eye makeup because it never tends to stay on throughout the day. I’ve cut off relationships with people I’ve liked. I’ve become bitter with the people I’ve loved. I’ve thought about giving up on my dream of becoming a physician. I’ve no showed events. I’ve gone to parties and cried in dirty bathrooms. I’ve ubered home alone because I couldn’t stand the thought of being anywhere other than my room for longer than an hour. I’ve sought happiness in my grades to the point in which I would study for 8+ hour increments at time 7 days a week. I’ve sought happiness in people I became vulnerable with about my struggles only to be just another insecure girl on their list.
I’ve thought about what Lexington, Kentucky would look like without me.
Would Nicholasville Road still be backed up after work? Would Kendrick still be making the ooey gooey butter cookie protein shake at 9am every morning and have it waiting on me? Would Free People in the Summit finally get in the jeans I’ve been eyeing for so long? Would there still be chocolate chip waffles on Sunday mornings? Or prerecorded championship games? Or Lululemon sweatshirts to return?
The answer to all of these questions is yes. The sun would come up the next morning, and there would be no me, and your life would not be affected. You would hug your adorable kids and kiss your beautiful wife and drive to a press conference somewhere. You’ll stand in front of a camera elevating the life of the next 94 year old to die with COVID (and not from it) issuing new orders that restrict living because taking precautions to save even just one life is worth it.
Governor Beshear, I guess my question for you is, if I had fallen to the voices of my darkest moments, would my name have been on the screen, too? You see, the question is more important now than ever. Within the past month, I have experienced two suicides in my social circle.
I’m lucky. After much prayer, therapy, and intervention, I can gladly say I have never been in better mental, emotional, and physical shape, but in my sorrow for these precious souls I see myself in their actions. That could’ve been me. They didn’t have the support structure to help them adjust to this ‘life’ we’re all forced to live.
So I wonder, what color should we light the Capitol in their honor?
In their memory and with the love of many, I realized something. I have no choice but to fight for those around me, for myself, and for the future. I will graduate from medical school. I will be a phenomenal doctor. I will get married. I will have a family. I will exceed every expectation put in front of me and climb out of every box I’m forced into. But I can’t stand by and watch you count another COVID death as more valuable than the lives being lost because of or related to your recommendations. You issue these restrictions with no thought of the real consequences that come from them.
Just a few months ago, seeing a future was fiction to me, but I’m starting to learn who I am and what I can be. Maybe you can open your mind and be more too.
In loving honor of my friends and the fight they lost,
Hiding from a virus you can’t really hide from isn’t living. I think this young lady and those like her deserve our courage, not our fear. Even if there is small increased risk to us all, I think she deserves her life back.
And so do you.
If you want to see the data on probable lockdown deaths over the average deaths we experience each year, click here.