“A phrase can trigger a good mindset,” said Lori D’Andrea, a West Islip resident and mother who has been erecting signs around her community that plainly read, “One Day at a Time.”
Through a Facebook page she created in 2018, titled “One Day at a Time,” D’Andrea has not only become recognized as an advocate of positive thought in the community, but as an inspiration to spread others’ eagerness to erect these signs in their own hyperlocal communities and hamlets in recent weeks. The simplistic, black-text sign with a plain, white background aims for calmness and present-moment thinking.
“I think of [the phrase] as a mental reminder,” D’Andrea said. “You know how when you are driving and you are not really thinking of anything? I have gotten a lot of messages from people that [say] ‘I needed to see that. It was perfect timing.’”
D’Andrea began putting up these signs five or six weeks ago, and that phrase emphasizes the mental reminder to not dwell in the past and definitely not worry about the future, especially considering the ubiquitous effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are so many things out of your control, and how that name came out — which is a blanket thing for anything that is hard in your life or just in general — it is really just like taking baby bites out of something,” she said. “All you can do is make the best of what is in front of you and learn what you can from that day, and you do that one day at a time.”
Government officials across the U.S., practically in unison, reiterate that “we are all in this together” when speaking to their constituents regarding the coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, social distancing, and several other relevant topics each individual is enduring. Although this is the first time the nation has faced a viral outbreak of this magnitude and concern, D’Andrea pointed out that this is not the first time “we are all in this together” has been forced centerstage to the public’s eyes and ears.
“You think about 9/11. Everybody came together, and you find this new sense of community and this new sense of wanting to help people and realizing that helping people makes you feel bet- ter and gets you through the bad stuff,” D’Andrea said. “When attacking something like this, this is something we have never seen before, and people rise to the top. I find this whole situation to be so interesting because I think people are going to dig deep and realize what they are made of. And that is really what happens in life when you are handed these really hard things.”
In 2018, D’Andrea’s teenage daughter was facing the brunt of mental health concerns in the forms of depression and anxiety. At this point in time, D’Andrea put the phrase “we are all in this together” to the test on a livestream on social media.
“It was out of character for me,” she said. “I basically just poured my heart out to the community, saying, ‘I do not know if anyone else is going through this, but I am. And if you need me to talk to...’ That is really what is going to be what helps people in the end: to feel comfortable enough to say, ‘We have this happening. Look for help. You are not by yourself. This is more normal than you think it is.’”
D’Andrea went on to discuss the stigma of asking for help, alongside the illusion of perfection portrayed on a given individual’s social media page.
“A couple years ago when this started going on with my daughter — and it was really scary — I knew [of] nobody going through the same thing. That was kind of how that page came about because I said, ‘There has to be someone else. There has to be someone out there who has a kid who is struggling with depression.’ But nobody is talking about it,” she said.
About five or six weeks ago, D’Andrea and her daughter began driving around and putting up signs that read, “One Day at a Time” around West Islip and Brightwaters — a modest radius around their home. She is originally from Sayville and has had plans to put them on the road by the high school and in that general vicinity. She had also donated signs and informed others of where to buy additional signs on the Facebook page.
Since then, these signs have popped up in other areas, including East Islip and Babylon. Pandemonium Boutique in Babylon has joined the cause. D’Andrea said other businesses have contacted her, too, in discussion of how and where to acquire these signs.
“It was starting to get traction because when I first put up the post that I had some and telling people they can put them up, because I bought a whole bunch, a lot of people were asking directly how they can purchase these, saying they want to bring them to their school districts,” D’Andrea said, adding that she is unsure how wide the net was cast.
D’Andrea pointed out a movement sprung by an organization originating in Oregon in 2017 with these signs for the betterment of mental health and assisting one another are the source: www.Dontgiveupsigns.com. Yard signs are for sale as well as much more, including car stick- ers, wristbands, pins, and several other items with various messages, including “One Day at a Time” and “We are All in this Together.”