Mental Health and COVID-19
I wrote this after having taken some time to allow myself to process the panic and calm my own central nervous system, allowing reflection time. I feel my role in this pandemic as a mental health provider/psychotherapist, is to be the eye of the storm, a safe place. Taking care of your mental health right now is so important. Please know that the measures being taken are not because, as a Canadian, you are at high risk to contact COVID-19. It is to slow down possible exposures to give the immune system a chance to catch up so it becomes another flu virus. The intention is not to create fear and panic. This panicked state actually leads to a lack of safety, extreme stress and problematic behaviours. There is no shortage of food and other supplies in Ontario. It is the inundation of the stores that is the issue. Even in Italy, with full lockdown, a family member is allowed to go to the grocery store. Take this time as a blessing to connect with friends and family and support each other. You do not necessarily have to stay at home if you are healthy. Simply be cautious. We are hard-wired for connection. Isolation will stress you. Please be careful about your social media time and presence right now. It is a way to connect but also an extremely toxic place right, creating fear and panic. And many jokes that make me laugh as well. Lol. I am gravely concerned about the erroneous information out there. I also am saddened that humans learn so slowly from the past. Fear actually creates problems that do not exist, you do not need to hoard and fight over resources. We need to stay strong in case this gets worse. You may enjoy the intellectual exercise of sharing conspiracy theory information but please note that it impacts people that are vulnerable with anxiety disorders, potentially isolated and scared already. And we are all vulnerable to fear right now. Let’s take this time to take care of each other. Social media can be problematic and has likely led to the current panic. This is what is actually new from pervious outbreaks. Please reach out and connect. We calm ourselves through others, which is a bit tricky right now. Be aware of exposing yourself to constant news updates. This can also feed fear. Take time to let your central nervous system return to baseline. Don’t spend time in unrealistic fears together. But support each other in real fears ex. economic. Learn to know the difference. Practice mindful hobbies while you have the time. Journal your fears, colour in adult colouring books, meditate and take walks. I offer online and distance sessions. Stay safe. Take care of your loved ones. We are in this together. I do not want to survive in a world in which we tear each other apart to do so. We are in this together.