A Pandemic on Mental Health

I work in a school district outside of this blog and those that work in school districts are considered “essential workers” so I discovered when we all had to return to working in school buildings. I can not tell you how many stories I’ve heard from parents with regards to their frustrations with schools or how many parents I had to try to make understand the times we are still in. They are frustrated with trying to adhere to health and safety guidelines, trying to parent and protect their children, and bus driver shortages. We forget that bus drivers AND teachers are humans too. They have lives of their own and are able to contract COVID as well. It’s an absolute mad house. Everyone is a ball of stress and overwhelmed.

It appears that this has become a mental health pandemic. People are suffering in this pandemic. My eyes welled with tears while writing that sentence. I clasped my hands together, closed my eyes and took a deep breathe. God what is going on.

Out of curiousity, I searched the web for articles related to mental health and the pandemic. I came across an article titeld, “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use” dated Feburary 21, 2021 on KFF and writen by, Nirmita Panchal, Rabah Kamal, Cynthia Cox, and Rachel Garfield. Though this article is dated a year ago, I still find many of the information listed relevant today and prominent.

During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019 (Figure 1). A KFF Health Tracking Poll from July 2020 also found that many adults are reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. As the pandemic wears on, ongoing and necessary public health measures expose many people to experiencing situations linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as isolation and job loss.

The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use

We are all in this situation together and too often we forget the power in being kind in the midst of this. Kind to each other, and kind to ourselves.

I personally didn’t think we would still be dealing with COVID but here we are. I noticed the increase of people we have lost since the pandemic due to suicide. The recent passing of Cheslie Kryst was gut wrenching. It has been confirmed that she was in a deep depression and also that those on social media were not too kind to her. Everytime I open my social media apps, I see that someone else has passed. Though social media can be a great place to connect with others and market your crafts, it is a dangerous dangerous place for mental health reasons.

The combination of us being cooped up in our homes, trying to maintain our health, lack of employment, the uncertainity of this world, personal issues…it can all feel like too much to handle. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. I’m right there with you all. You never know what someone is geninuely going through.

Everyone seems to be losing their shits these days on the news, I mean, the numerous accounts of murders on the news is horrifying. I should probably make a note to not watch the news first thing in the morning.

I seriously need to be in child’s pose on my yoga mat for a couple of hours. Can we all just hug this shit out? Wouldn’t it be awesome if the government worked with therapists to make therapy afforadable for all?

A TikTok I created (@naciajay)

This is why I can not stress enough how important it is to take care of you. I want others to know that it is okay to speak to someone, to reach out to someone, anyone that will listen to you. You don’t have to always be the strong one. Check on your “strong” friends, right now. If you have to take a break from social media, it is absolutely OKAY. You are not missing out on anything when you take a break from social media. Don’t let these folks fool you. You are not missing out on anything when you decide to take care of you.

I imagine a white cloud full of grace, kindness, joy and love seeping through the entire world and everyone inhaling this precious scent, smiling. We all need that right now. We all need some hope that things will get better. Hope and kindness.

I just wanted to come here today to share what has been on my heart these days. I want to encourage you to find things that bring you joy during this pandemic and stick with it. Schedule a zoom call with your family and friends to check in. Read that book you’ve been meaning to get to. My new thing is having a glass of wine and reading a book. I am thoroughly enjoying this new routine. Declutter your space. I find that decluttering really improves my mood. I also discovered that I do not need a lot of stuff. I basically wear the same stuff every single week and that is okay. I let go of whatever doesn’t serve me anymore. Sometimes, less is more. Do more of what makes you feel good, please, do that and hold onto every inch of that feeling.

Sending so much love and light to all of you.

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