For nearly a year we have been adjusting to countless changes brought on by the pandemic. We have been navigating new normals, trying to stay safe and on top of evolving information. We’ve managed our own fears and emotions while helping children or older parents do the same. In the beginning, we were unified in our attempts to flatten the curve. Over time, we’ve had to make more individual and family decisions to keep mentally well and relationally strong. We’ve had to weigh the risk of many hard choices.
If you haven’t paused to give yourself credit for making it through the year’s tough challenges, we would like to do just that. You are amazing and strong. You cared for yourself and others. You found ways to celebrate special moments and one another. You located new resources and supports. You have overcome so much. However imperfectly, it is worth being celebrated.
We also suspect you are tired and worn out. There are days when the energy is low for yet another Zoom call or distance learning assignment. Decision fatigue is real. So many losses—big, small, individual and collective—to grieve. Plus, the dark and cold of winter keeping us indoors more frequently. Perhaps you feel like you’ve hit your pandemic wall.
This is a common feeling as the one-year anniversary of the pandemic shutdown approaches. We’ve been living in a sustained period of stress and often operating in a crisis response. Being resilient takes effort and energy. If you’re feeling discouraged, you are not alone.
Dr. Patrice Harris, former president of the American Medical Association, says it’s important to talk about mental health to address the problem. She also reminds us to have grace and space for all that we are feeling along with pursuing healthy choices such as good foods and moving our bodies.
The pandemic has brought about new mental health issues for some or an increase for those already struggling. Many have experienced anxiety around job security or work/family schedule adjustments. Others are facing varying symptoms of depression. It may be good to reflect on your emotions and behaviors to see if additional support would be beneficial.
There are also concerns unique to youth mental health. “The isolation we need to do to save lives is hitting them right at their developmental core,” said Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in a recent article.
If the coping skills you rely on are no longer helpful for you or your child, it may be time to reach out for your help. This takes courage. Our licensed and compassionate clinicians are here to support you and your family. In-person counseling sessions are available from 16 office locations in north central Ohio or connect with a therapist through a virtual telemental health session.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.