Surviving the Pandemic Strongly and Bravely: A Professional Woman’s Story

For the longest time I have wanted to share publicly, my story of surviving this pandemic as a psychotherapist and a woman. I attempted to a couple of times and then took it down or never posted it. Today, I finished reading Dr. Mark McDonald’s book “United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to a Mass Delusional Psychosis.” If a child/adult psychiatrist can be bold enough, as a medical doctor, to come forward well, what is stopping me?

I was afraid in March 2020, to stand up and be strong and brave, outside of my small sphere of existence. This is partly why I wasn’t more outspoken all along. I did speak out privately and shared with my clients through hints or openly, depending on their stance about being robbed of their rights and civil liberties. The reason I was afraid is because I saw the government going too far and I knew what this meant.

I grew up with a stepfather – I called him dad and I will here. He left Hungary, as did thousands of others, in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. Their country was being dominated by Russia at that time (now seen in the Ukraine) and it meant communist takeover. Later, we would talk about these countries as being “Behind the Iron Curtain.” I understood, from his stories, what rights were taken away from them. I went on to write a novel entitled “The Uprisers: A Hungarian Historical Fiction.” In researching this revolution, I was able to read and watch (documentaries or films), what it looked like at the onset.

When Governor Mike DeWine, who will go down infamously in American history as leading the pack of the nation’s demise, dictated whose business could and could not be open, I saw strong parallels to communism or even Nazism. Extremist thinking. This wasn’t protection against a tornado looming ominously overhead or staying off the streets in Level 4 blizzard like conditions. It was, pardon me, a fucking flu!

Secondly, determining that physical fitness centers and even considering churches be shut down, vs. state run alcohol establishments – his head needed to be examined. Physical fitness strengthens the immune system and alcohol depresses it. It didn’t take much common sense for me to realize this could get very scary. And, when you see people like me or Dr. McDonald and others begin to disappear – like in South America and Mexico, Russia and China, then you will realize just how far it has gone. So far, we are still openly discussing this online and in books, videos, talks and podcasts. When YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, shuts people down, there are other avenues, such as Rumble and apps being created to keep us up. As far as I know, I have not yet been censored or closed down. Dr. McDonald has been.

I am in business for myself at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC in [northern] Columbus, Ohio. Thankfully, I was deemed essential. With all these nonsense mandates, I determined that my business would never shut down. I would go underground if need be, but, as it turned out, I didn’t need to worry. How in the world, was a single businesswoman going to pay her bills without money? I was not raised to take hand-outs but how was a few hundred bucks (unemployment) going to pay my mortgage, my credit card bills, my student loan, etc… Okay, they shut down payments on student loans, though I have continued to pay nonetheless.

My motto from day one was, “If Dr. Viktor Frankl can survive Auschwitz, I, Jeannine Vegh, will survive the pandemic.” I never wore a mask, unless forced to in a public facility and I did not enforce this on my clients in my office. In the beginning, clients weren’t sure what to do and requested telehealth. I acquiesced, because I didn’t believe this would last. I knew my clients would come back to my office once they got tired of this. They needed me. They needed to see a strong and brave psychotherapist without a mask. They needed to hear me clearly as we discussed the deep dark recesses of their mind, of their childhoods, of their relationships. I can’t hear well, as it is, due to Ménière’s disease, which has made hearing difficult when people are mumbling or speaking through a mask.

By summer of 2020, folks were coming back into my office and by 2021, I had ceased to do telehealth ever again. I will make exceptions for people wanting to see me from a great distance (in the state, that is). I specialize in survivors of Narcissism and women have had a hard time finding someone who advertises this. Very few people actually wear masks now, in my office, except those with high anxiety – and even then, it is rare.

Yes, I did get COVID, according to the CVS test and this was a year after the pandemic. My boyfriend, at the time, had broken up with me by showing his true covert narcissist colors, clearly and strongly, and I had a mental breakdown. Two weeks later, a client came into my office and unbeknownst to them, had COVID. This had happened before, but I was stronger and did not get it. This time, in my demise, I did. To be frank, it was nothing compared to the flu I had three years prior, where I actually had a fever and thought I was going to die. It was also nothing compared to the strange illness that took over my body ten years ago when my doctor talked me into getting a stupid tetanus shot. What the hell did I need that for, I thought, but she wouldn’t shut up about it. My body reacted to it immediately and I had to have my sister come to my home to help me clean and cook for me. COVID was nothing like that. The government did not contact me in either of those cases to ask me a load of questions either. The second time, I may have contracted COVID, was earlier this year. I did not get tested or report it. A friend and some family and I were at the Columbus Museum of Art, all in forced masking, seeing the Van Gogh exhibit. The one who became sickest was my cousin, who was fully vaccinated.

A friend of mine had a stroke after being vaccinated and she is only two years younger than I and very healthy. I am 60 this August. I watched, as a woman tried desperately to speak, at an Ohio Stands Up! fundraiser, where I met Dr. McDonald a few weeks ago. She was dealing with a severe reaction from the vaccination. I couldn’t understand fully what her medical diagnosis was, as a result of the “jab,” because she was shaking uncontrollably and had two men holding her up to speak as a result. She came in in a wheelchair, that her husband was pulling. He had to take her to the bathroom; I observed later. My clients, told me horror stories over the past two years of family dying alone, reactions to the jab, being harassed in public, dealing with social isolation, and more. Some clients had out of country family and told me what it was like there.

From reading Dr. McDonald’s book, I learned about the “Karen” syndrome. I had heard people joking about Karen, but didn’t understand the joke. Now I do. It is women who harass others for being strong and brave during the pandemic. This happened to me at Phillip Heit – OSU physical fitness center in New Albany, Ohio, 2020. A woman named Lisa and I, had been swimming in the lap pool. I don’t recall if we shared a lane or not but there are only three lanes. Afterward, we were in the locker rooms changing and it was wintertime. I rebelled and did not wear a mask in there or the gym this entire time. At first, I would pretend to; by holding it up to my face. In the locker room, I took it off. Now, I had a good excuse. I was eating my Luna bar and then I blow dried my hair with my personal equipment. They had shut down our hairstyling room with their hair dryers – because of state mandates. We couldn’t even take a shower but we could use the sinks after we toileted. That was how I rinsed the chlorine from my hair and gave myself a quick waist up bath after swimming. She began to harass me about my choices to do these things. At some point she told me to “Shut Up” until I put a mask on. I should not talk to her without one. I did shut up because I was in such shock that someone would do this to me. I walked out saying to the check out person that I can’t believe we are living in a communist country. I was passively outraged.

I did file a complaint, but the management empathized with her and didn’t listen to a word I said. I have never seen her again. I told my boyfriend, at the time, and got another hint that he was a covert narcissist, which I was in denial about then. Basically, he sided with the enemy, even though he was conservative and against the mask mandates and business closures.

A few months ago, I walked into Trader Joe’s at Easton, maskless. The mandates were slowly being stripped from stores; at that time. I walked around being leered at, through the eyes of masked customers. I smiled and did my shopping; being very clear what I was doing. I went there on purpose. A few months later, people weren’t wearing them at all, and no one could care less whether I was or wasn’t. I went there on purpose this time too. By now, I was involved with people at Make America Free Again and had met the likes of Attorney Tom Renz and Pam Popper. I had community and validation. It wasn’t just me being the Jeanne D’Arc type. Up until then, I had thought I was alone. I was afraid to talk to my friends.

My clients and I have commiserated with each other. We were in this together. I, of course, kept boundaries between professional and client though agreeing and empathizing are natural when you are both in a world crisis. I have lost clients who were extreme liberals and this is quite okay with me as there are tons of telehealth only psychotherapists; who freak out in a crisis. I don’t want my clients to see a weak-minded person. I want them to see someone who is strong and stands up to a crisis. This way, they can be assured that I have their back and will not let them down in their own crisis. People either love me or they don’t. As it was before the pandemic, there is a psychotherapist for everyone. I don’t expect the world to all want to come to me, as I am not that egotistical, and I am certainly not a narcissist.

As mentioned above, I started out feeling very alone. I did have a boyfriend for about fifteen months of this, until he decided that he was tired of playing the role he was in for me and came out with his true colors. I had already started reaching out to friends, during this crisis and quickly learned they weren’t as brave as I. This shocked me because, prior to the pandemic, they were strong women. They would say things like “I don’t attract negative energy.” They’d say things like, “I just sage it off” or hold my crystal or some other such talisman. Some were a little more confrontive about their strengths then others. Like they were trying to guilt trip you. Now, they were all on Zoom, freaking out. They wished me to walk – in a park – six feet away from them. I began to think I couldn’t trust anyone, and I wasn’t sure who to talk to and who not to. I didn’t want to say things out loud, in case I got my business in trouble. I really was afraid of losing my business for freedom of speech.

After losing my boyfriend and being so vulnerable that my ego didn’t have a leg to stand on, I ended up forging a spiritual path and becoming a devoted solitary practitioner. Other friends came out of the closet. Suddenly we were saying “What, you believe that way too?” OMG, I said to my massage therapist friend Joy. “You are a Vegan, but you are not liberal?” This one conversation began to lead me to Make America Free Again, to Ohio Stands Up! and to the book by Dr. McDonald which I read today.

This is why the pandemic is a sink or swim situation. During previous world wars, some people survived and some did not. Those that survived, might have been persecuted at the end for how they went about surviving. I have done nothing unethical or illegal. I was rebellious and slowly outspoken but mostly, I was and I am a very strong, independent, brave woman. These types of women, historically, did not wear a damn mask. People spoke about the Spanish Flu and the fact that they wore masks. Look, they had no sanitation during that time period. People used outhouses and they did not come with a sink, you wiped your hands on your pants. Lots of medical issues were going on at that time. I highly doubt that the mask helped them then anymore than it does now. Women in our history have been strong and brave.

So have men. If my dad and his buddies from Europe had been alive, they would not have been wearing any masks. Some of these people were in concentration camps, some were walking in freezing cold temperatures to cross the border into Austria. Some had to be guided through fields with land mines. Why would they want to wear a damn mask? Unfortunately, they mostly died of cancer before they were sixty. These brave men and some women, were so passionate about the loss of their country. They mourned the loss of not living with mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, who were left behind. It grieved them so greatly that they died early. Could we have prevented that? Yes, with psychotherapy but that wasn’t an accepted way to live your life then.

This pandemic was about a flu. Yes, it really happened and continues to happen because the flu and the various strains will never go away. Do we need to live our lives in a bubble? No. Do we need the government to tell us how to take care of our bodies – HELL NO. It is our choice, just as feminists get on a pedestal and say “My Body, My Choice.” What the hell is the difference between that and what they are hypocritically saying about the jab? What is the difference between sewing a yellow star to your jacket and handing someone a “vaccine passport?” Discrimination is discrimination whether there is a concentration camp or not.

Dictating what businesses can stay open? That is the businesses responsibility to make that choice. They have bills to pay. People have a right to eat there or not. Let the people decide where to eat. HIPAA laws already give us the right to medical privacy. No damn retail clerk or waitress has the right to ask me if I have been vaccinated. No one can. Not unless I sign a waiver giving you that right.

How dare hospitals keep people away from their dying relatives or friends. How dare nursing homes keep families away from a person who is going to die anyway. They are spending their last days on Earth. They need to feel the love, the hugs, the connection, the community. If a nurse can put a suit on, so can they. If babies are in some type of ER care, parents put suits on to be with them. Why couldn’t this has been figured out? Where was the common sense. All these people who died, all alone. Without their loved ones by their side. It is and was assigned. It was in-humane.

I have let it all out, as much as I can for now. I could say so much more. I will in different ways, in different articles. You will see, as the years progress, the wrongs that were done to people during this pandemic. As I speak, attorneys around the country have lawsuits against the state they are in. There are lawsuits against different corporations as well. Relationships are in havoc, divorces have mounted, we have not seen how this will end just yet. We are at the tip of the iceberg.

Whatever choice you made, it was up to you. You did what you felt was right for yourself and your family. This is not my business. This is the way life works. You make decisions. You grow from this or you stay still. I have chosen to be a strong woman because that is what I believe in. I honor my ancestors who were strong and brave. I honor the heroes and heroines that I respect and admire. This is how I do me.

Jeannine Vegh, M.A., I.M.F.T. Psychotherapist and Owner of Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC

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