Guest post by Jonna Huseman

What is your profession?
I am a mental health therapist.

How has your life changed since the community has been impacted by Coronavirus? 
Life is very funny and unpredictable. During the Coronavirus pandemic, I was diagnosed with a serious illness that was totally unrelated to the virus. The illness had to be treated immediately with surgery. Because of this, I had to stay home and heal for at least two weeks. Healing was made easier because there is nowhere that I can go because of the virus. 

Professionally, as a mental health therapist, I have not been seeing clients in my office. I have been seeing them virtually through a secure website or talking on the telephone. This is very different for me and not the method that I prefer to work in, but I am happy to still be able to provide counseling and assisting my clients. 

Are you working more or less?
I am working the same.

What are you most afraid of?
I am not really afraid. To be honest, it is just an adjustment. I guess having the personal health crisis that I’ve had has been a distraction from the virus that I could possibly catch. However, I do not want to pass this virus on to anyone. That is scary.

What are you most hopeful for?
That we will continue to support each other. When I see people clapping for our health workers, or people giving away food in the parking lot of a community center, I know that the selfishness that is being portrayed in the media is just a media sensation. I am hopeful about hope. 

What has been the most challenging part of this experience for you?
Having a serious medical diagnosis during this time has been significantly challenging. I did not have access to some medical services that were deemed elective because of the COVID-19 virus. My health was prioritized and never compromised, but I think that people need to realize that there is more to life than lack of access to toilet paper, when you may not have access to medical services. 

Is there anything—even a tiny thing—you enjoy or like about sheltering in place?
I get to spend a lot of time meditating and praying. It is very peaceful. 

What do you think society as a whole will learn from this experience?
Instant gratification can always be taken away. And there are so many things in life that you cannot control. 

How are you coping with stress/taking care of yourself?
Prayer and meditation are priceless. I also go for a walk once a day. I talk to my friends a lot. And Tiger King. Where would any of us be without Tiger King?

When future generations ask, what will you tell them about this time in your life?
That baby, there was a lot going on. But life is funny and unpredictable. And so is resilience. 

What would you like your friends and neighbors in Silver Spring/Montgomery County to know?
That we have a beautiful, loving and giving community.  We are a diverse community with many different languages, cultures, gifts and talents. But we all communicate kindness the same way.

Jonna Huseman is a family photographer who serves Silver Spring and beyond. During the COVID-19 crisis, she is using her free time to document the lives of friends and neighbors living through the pandemic.

Author’s note: Over the coming days and weeks I am documenting the lives of dozens of members of the Silver Spring and Takoma Park community. My goal is to talk to teachers and students, religious leaders, small business owners, frontline workers, parents, elected leaders, and private citizens. I want to learn about our collective hopes and dreams, our biggest challenges, and our greatest triumphs. Mostly, I want to build connection and create community at a time when we need it the most. If you live or work in Silver Spring or Takoma Park and are interested in having your life documented at this time—or know someone who has a unique experience and is willing to share—please contact me. To all those who have made this project possible, including Source of the Spring, I thank you for your time and generosity. To the neighbors who will respond in the future, I look forward to getting to know you. And to everyone reading—stay healthy and safe. We will make it through.

Mike Diegel