As the new normal continues to be anything but normal and the strangeness of 2020 stretches on into the foreseeable future, it seems like a mental health check in is in order. How are we holding up? A quick look around at yourself and your loved ones might be a bit alarming. (How long has he been wearing that pair of lounge pants anyway? Is hair brushing actually essential?) Among my tribe I’ve begun to notice that even the toughest are starting to crack a bit under the pressure of doing the right thing in a world where the right thing depends on who you ask.
The effects of the long-term suspension of our normal outlets and activities are really starting to show. Depression, frustration, anger, and addictive behaviors of all kinds are becoming all too common in “the new normal”. We are consuming more alcohol, binge watching more television, hitting the add to cart button with reckless abandon, spending hours scrolling through TicTok and Instagram. If it’s a crutch or an escape mechanism, we are holding onto that puppy like a life raft these days.
For me that means spending hours with my head in a book or designing dream homes for Sims and running their tiny, old-normal lives. It means smoking more than I should and drinking more often. It means allowing my younger son to spend waaaay too much time on his latest video game obsession, after all, he’s at least communicating with people on there, so that’s something, right? Like the rest of the country, we are here holding onto whatever pieces of normal we have been able to preserve and keeping our eyes on them in hopes we wake to a brighter, normal-er future. Not to spoil a perfectly good escape mechanism but, hiding from our problems has never solved them before and it’s not likely to now.
If we don’t start gaining control of our crutches, we may soon find we can’t do without them. Crutches are tricky like that. “Yeah but, Stasha, life still sucks, and I can’t do what I want, and its making me depressed so…” I hear ya, I feel ya, I am right here with you. I’d like very much to just build the tiny homes all day and not pay any attention to the general state of the world outside my door. But the building of virtual realities will not make my reality nicer when I emerge.
Life rolls on, whether we are paying it any attention or not. So, whatever it is you are missing, or stressing about, or afraid of, or uncertain about, it’s time to start looking it over. Consider the things you can control first, maybe start by taking a bit more control of when you choose to pick up the crutches. We may not be able to solve all of the problems we see, but we just might be able to take a crack at our own. Overwhelmed or need help to find your way back to okay? Take a look at the this –> list and call or click for help today.
Thank you for this. I’m stuck in some habits that I really never would have found acceptable before all the events of the past year or so. Not being g able to see family and friends, attend and take part in church events, making meals for the youth groups, taking meals and visiting shut-ins, holiday meals and fellowships, missing family, especially our grandchildren, kids and my mom! The list goes on and on. The daily struggle is very real. When friends have lost loved ones and not even knowing is horrible. The feeling of helplessness because so many are suffering. Part of what always kept me going when I didn’t think I could possibly manage it for the physical pain I endure daily, are the so very things and so much more. I love being with people! I miss getting out when I can and meeting new people! I love making others smile even when my physical pain is almost beyond my ability to force a smile. It’s what drives me! And now this, This pandemic has stripped me and so many others of everything.
I often think of the 1964 song by Barbara Streisand, People Who Need People…
I honestly never put much interest in that song before now since I’ve not really been much a fan of Barbara Streisand actually, lol. But now, it plays in my mind over and over because I need people! I took so much for granted until now. And now I battle depression, i over eat and it’s all just food!! I’ve lost interest in the things I used to enjoy doing that I could be doing to pass the time better and i don’t even try to exercise. Watch wayyyyy too much television and stay up interest too late, sleep too often but never really rest.
The list could go in forever. And the saddest thing is knowing there are millions of people out there just like me, dealing with the very same struggles.
So many of us who battle with chronic pain are really locked in and feel helpless to others and can’t even help ourselves. So much of the time I spend here at home is spent trying to find new ways to keep myself on task with what needs to be done but what I don’t understand is why I’m not able to do that when it’s about all I have to do now….Frustration! I stay frustrated all the time. I’m not proud of myself having to admit that I feel about as far from useful as it gets. Even worse, I watch my husband who has a full time job with his business, the farm, helping his dad with his farm and needs, practically killing himself and here I sit being useless. Then let’s throw in the many times he has to help me get out of bed, get to a bathroom, heat rice bags, help me take meds when I can hold onto them, ect…
Frustration? YEP, Definitely.
Oh Diana, my heart goes out to you! ❤ It sounds like you are having a very rough time with everything going as it is. First things first, please forgive yourself for being human. We truly are much more social animals than we generally notice, having that outlet entirely removed is such a hard pill to swallow. It sounds like you were one busy, helpful, amazing lady to have around before this all went sideways, I have faith that you will return to all that beautiful fellowship and charity. In fact, I've got a feeling, you can find that outlet even now…and if you can't, well, my dear, make it! Perhaps you can apply that love of sharing food to a meals on wheels type project in your community? Enlist some of the others who used to get involved to help with delivery and get back in that kitchen and pour your heart out, I am sure there are many shut-ins in your community that would be ever so grateful for the home cooked meal. I do hope you and all of us find our way out of the funk and on to brighter, better days. Have faith and hang in there, reach out for help when you need it, and remember to be gentle with yourself. ❤