Three weeks into being quarantined with the rest of Los Angeles County, I experienced a short bout of depression. I frantically searched nearby states to go hide until coronavirus blew over. My COVID-19 coping eluded me. I contemplated abandoning my LA apartment to return to my home in Northern, VA. My chest tightened as anxiety pulsed through my body. Alternating from my couch to my bed, I went at least four days without bathing. In essence, I was a hot, stankin’ mess. But somewhere in between smelling my own funk, and being tired of self-pity, a small, dim light went off in my head. And with its luminescence came a diminutive voice which said, “Reach out to people who can help you.” 

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But, who can help me?

I remember staring at blank walls, asking myself, “Who can help me?” I immediately thought of two people.  Motivational speaker, Bryant Smith and producer / writer, Bruce Gordon were my two go to peeps. Bryant, a friend who I’ve known more years than I care to admit, is a prolific writer and empowerment super hero. He could tell people in hell that it isn’t going to be so bad, and they’d believe him. With the coronavirus all up in my mind, I needed a pep talk from Bryant.

Bruce, the second person that I thought of  has been a writing colleague of mine for at least four years. When we met, we just clicked and have encouraged each other ever since. I wanted to speak with Bruce because the coronavirus had me thinking I was alone and isolated. He would be the dear friend who would tell me, “I’m in the trenches with you.” 

I texted both Bryant and Bruce on the same day and thankfully they penciled me in for phone calls in short order. I hadn’t heard Bryant’s golden voice in ten years or more, but his vibration was the same—upbeat, encouraging, and elevating. Bruce surprised me with his advice. He’s the friend that gives you what you need but often not what you are expecting. Moved by what he said to me, I’ve already written a post about it

3 Reasons Everyone Should Connect With Their Network While Under Quarantine

Through talking to Bryant and Bruce I realized three reasons why everybody should reacquaint themselves with their network during this time of coronavirus quarantine. 

1. Speaking with people who are positive and encouraging makes you feel empowered. The advice that I received from my two colleagues has left me floating for several weeks on end. 

2. Connecting with old colleagues who remember who you’ve been remind you of who you can become and remind you that your destiny awaits. Bryant remembers my first business and booked me as a speaker at Clemson University so long ago.  Being nostalgic brought laughter to my heart and tears to my eyes. 

3.  It is those who know you and who are going through it as you are, who remind you that you are not alone. Knowing that Bryant and Bruce feel my pain but encouraged me to remain positive, gave me just the nudge I needed. Talking to my crew, my team—that’s what it felt like. 

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.

So, I encourage everyone reading this post to pick up the phone. Remember the people who have crossed your paths. Reflect upon that person in your circle who gives uplifting advice. We may not be able to do everything on our own, but it’s amazing what we can do together.

This is the second installment of our COVID-19 coping series. If you have a COVID-19 coping story, email us: blacktvfilmcrew AT gmail.com.

Photo credits: The top photo is stock photography shot by Christina@wocintechchat.com. The photo on the right is of empowerment speaker Bryant Smith.

Yasmin Shiraz
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Yasmin Shiraz

Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She’s a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.

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