Tue | Oct 26, 2021

Trevor E. S. Smith | Not being COVID paranoid, but only my wife can come near me

Published:Sunday | April 19, 2020 | 12:00 AM

MY COVID-19 experience is so different and comical that I decided to throw out the challenge to see if you can top it.

Please note, however, that I am not as insane as my actions would suggest. I decided to play the game to the fullest. Winning is the only option.


I have not left my home since March 21, though I have no grounds for self-quarantine. I came within four to six feet of someone other than my wife only once in the 20 days since then.

The grille is opened and supplies placed on a table in a holding area. They are then sanitised and taken in for use.

Has playing the game full out migrated into creeping paranoia? I am using a substitute source of my Vitamin C which requires the tearing of individual sachets.

Is there research that indicates that the novel coronavirus can survive on a sachet for weeks? I have not seen that. So why then do I routinely wash my hand after handling a sachet?

I fully appreciate the genuine challenges that people with OCD go through. This very morning, I laughed about it, BUT I STILL WASHED MY HANDS!

Even more interesting is the experience when the children and grandchildren pass by. ‘Pass by’ not because of the duration of the visit, but the physical distance between visitors and ‘hosts’.

Simply put, if everyone could be as crazy as I am without overcrowding psychiatric wards, COVID-19 would be history in a flash.


Make no mistake, I have no sense of feeling overwhelmed or imprisoned. It is actually a game that I am playing to win. The gravity of the situation is not lost on me, but I am not internalising the dangers, and I refuse to ruminate on the negative implications.

It is nice to pull up lists of scriptures on topics that provide hope, comfort and assurance. I choose one or two and ruminate on those through the day.

The shifting of my vision and horizon keeps me buoyant in the midst of the pandemic.


The surprising counterpoint to my anti-social-distancing actions is that I have connected with and engaged more people during this period than I have for a very long time.

These are meaningful, impactful interactions, not just the exchange of emojis.

We have added Skype as another medium for family interaction. Some of the exchanges are so hilarious! I am still laughing about things shared last night.

Where would I find time to get depressed when I have to solve another riddle or come up with one to stump them? What room do ghosts avoid?

I am also thrilled to be worshipping online with new people and brethren who have migrated or just been missing for a while.

Trust me. My COVID-19 journey is not about doom and gloom.


One powerful factor influencing my mindset during COVID-19 is the fact that I am fully engaged in exciting projects.

I am engaging varied personalities with different perspectives, and each exchange is refreshing and empowering.

It also helps that I had set out to learn to play the keyboard by ear.

Sitting down and listening online to two brief notes and determining the interval between them is totally engaging.

Was that a major second (cue Happy Birthday) or minor third (cue Greensleeves)? Test your skills https://www.musictheory.net/exercises. Or learn a new skill with my guide Zach: https://www.bestpianoclass.com/.

Complete absorption comes during the schedule of br,ain exercises laid out by my BrainHQ trainer. Hey, I am now ranked one per cent higher compared to others than I was pre-COVID-19!


1. Don’t be paranoid, but remember that it is people that move the virus around. Staying away from people physically is helpful.

2. Work on your mindset. Focus on the positives. Look to the scriptures for support. Draw near to God. Be fervent in prayer and devotion.

3. Connect like you have never connected before. Reach out to others. Take care to ensure that you are also benefiting from the interactions. You can’t be exclusively on the giving side.

4. Find things that capture your attention. Movies might help, but look to develop some new skill.

5. Draw on online support from the NavLife Series of the St Andrew Church of Christ on first and third Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. local time. Join online via Zoom here: https://zoom.us/j/689511348.

- Trevor E. S. Smith with the Success with People Academy. We guide the development of high-performance teams. We are interpersonal relations, group dynamics and performance-enhancement specialists. We provide learning and productivity-enhancement technology solutions. We offer behavioural assessments from Extended DISC, sales & sports competence assessments on the FinxS platform and e-competency frameworks and e-onboarding solutions in our SPIKE technology platform. Email: info@successwithpeople.org.