Updated: Aug 28, 2020
Sooooooo……. If you follow my blog, you may have noticed I have not blogged in quite some time. In fact my last blog was January 14th. When I looked that up I was shocked. In retrospect Jan and Feb were insane for my family. Then the pandemic hit, and I started a new job and was just distracted for a while. When I thought about it in April, I was not feeling it, wasn’t sure why. I love writing these. As we progress into the end of May I am forcing myself to the page because it is #mentalhealthmonth and I can’t NOT do my annual part in building awareness.
Now, more than ever before, it is critical to raise awareness. In a GOOD year, 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness. We are now in a time that is uncharted. For some it is filled with struggle, suffering, isolation, loss, grief, and the list goes on. The uncertainty and fear worsen for those with existing mental conditions and paves the way for so many more to develop them. I’m not going to throw out any of the staggering statistics with a side of grim outlook…… what we talk about at home is simply, what can we do to help?
If you are like me, you feel pretty helpless. I personally suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. No secret – read many of my previous blogs. The pandemic has challenged me. But I have a tremendous support system at home and I regularly go to therapy. What about those that do not know how to seek treatment? Are living alone? Lost a job? Lost a loved one?
That leads me to why it took me so long to write. As we exited March and into April, I started to see things in human behavior and on social media that were shocking to me. Suddenly everyone was an expert, the vile posts and comments that followed were dark. How did a pandemic get as divisive as politics? I stayed away from the scrolling and most certainly did not comment. I cannot and still cannot wrap my head around it? With so much suffering going on. So – I went dark. Plain and simple. All the negativity was too much and in some way I probably didn’t write out of fear….... I didn’t want my opinion or comments to be attacked like the others.
So now I call bullshit on myself. I was talking with a dear friend this week and I had not seen her in WEEKS. It was amazing. She is source of inspiration for me and she was such a huge supporter when I started this blog. So, while she did not know it – she inspired me to get at it again. I have shit ton to say and I know I have people that want to listen. The last few years has proved that to me.
So here goes…. This is not opinion. This is just me sharing how me and my family chose to embrace this chaos. My hope is this resonates with some of you and maybe even you can share with the rest of what your new normal is? Hell – reach out as I would love a guest blogger to give us all some different perspectives!
How are we doing?
Surprisingly good. Every day I make it a practice to wake up grateful. I have a roof over my head. The hubs and I both have jobs. The kids have adjusted remarkably well to online learning. We have done our best to embrace the down time. We needed a slowdown. There is a lesson in everything. The things I have STOPPED doing that I could not live without doing before is unreal. So, yes, I chose to see this as an opportunity to reset. My kids are literally living their best life. When schoolwork is done they play and they play hard. They have some good friends in the neighborhood. They play outside…. All day and night. Our neighborhood deepened it’s connections. That never happened before. Do I have bad days? Hell yes. I am anxious a lot and some days I get just downright miserable with the monotony of it all. We have no family here…. When the hell will I see them again? But all in all, I’m pretty darn good and I am back to doing yoga everyday – always a goal of mine. Yay me!
That said, there is so much suffering out there. Those that are not as fortunate as we are. I think about that ALL THE TIME. I worry about family and friends. My parents have underlying conditions and are locked up at home in NY. My mother has temporarily closed her business. It breaks my heart. My grandfather is trapped in a nursing home in MA and tested positive. Awful. My brother lives alone, no one to interact with. Ugh.
What can I do?
I can choose to stay positive. I can choose kindness. I can choose compassion. That means staying away from the news and looking for reliable sources. Avoiding and not engaging in negative social media and which basically means minimizing the use, because it is everywhere. It means helping others when you can. I will brighten someone’s day with a Facetime call, send flowers, a handwritten note or send meal kits. I am respectful when I am out and if that means wearing a mask when grocery shopping to make others around me more comfortable, then so be it. I donate when and where I can – time, money, food. I know that not everyone is not in the same place that I am. I have no idea what is going on in someone else’s world, so I show kindness, ALWAYS.
We are at a phase where we I need to stay focused on what I need to do for myself and my family. I do not need the government to tell me that, or my friends, or a commercial that tells me to wash my hands. Are we in this together? Does not feel that way some days. It is using common sense. The decisions we make as a family may not be what works for your family. That is ok!!! You do you, I will do me. More importantly, I will respect your choices and I ask for the same in return.
Bottom line – Anger and finger pointing does not help anyone. A lot of this sucks. Like really sucks. I can agree or disagree on how this is being handled locally and nationally. But I must focus on what I can control, where I can have impact. That is at home and in my community. We all have choices. The choices we make cannot be rooted in fear or anger but rooted in compassion and kindness.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
May is #mentalhealthmonth. Learn more about what you can do to build awareness.