When someone asks what it means to be successful, the same words come up often. Wealth, fame, finding love, living a comfortable life. There so many seemingly obvious answers to this question, and sometimes it seems objective in the way we define success. Whether or not you agree with these answers (personally, I don’t), that definition isn’t relevant right now – and we need to get used to that for the time being.
Last week I virtually attended a screening of a documentary called Angst. Less than an hour long, the film’s main purpose is raise awareness around and anxiety and start the candid discussion about what anxiety is, what it looks like and how to get help. Even though the documentary seemed like it could be geared more toward people who want to learn more about anxiety disorders (i.e. not me), I still took a lot of away from the screening and I wanted to share why that was.
Since this blog is more based on personal experience than anything else, I’ve always felt more comfortable writing about what I know. Whether that’s something I’ve experienced or an experience that’s been shared with me, understanding what someone is thinking or feeling has always been important to me as a basis for a post. But I’ve been reading more news about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children who now have to stay at home for school, and it’s got me thinking a lot about kid’s mental health during this difficult time.
At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, the general public is well aware of who is most at risk to be hit hardest by COVID-19. Older adults and people who have underlying health conditions are those that we need to keep a close eye on and we need to make sure they’re getting all the care they need and maintain an extremely safe distance. But as we’ve learned, other groups are also at risk to be hit hard by this pandemic – including those who suffer from mental illness.
There are so many new difficulties we’re facing these days. Trouble sleeping. Finding things to do while we’re staying at home. Making sure we can handle feeling more alone than usual. It’s a whirlwind just to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally to live in a world that’s very different from what we’ve come to know. With that preparation comes learning new things about people, systems and everything else. And it can be extremely frustrating.
A few months ago, one of my posts focused on how to sleep with anxiety for those out there who struggle. Since sleep and mental health have a direct connection, I thought there were people out there who, like me, have tremendous anxiety around bedtime. Even then (in January), I knew I wasn’t alone. Now, I’d guess that almost all of us are having trouble around bedtime as we end another day of living through a pandemic (“Day ??” is my go-to phrase) and try to sleep before starting another one. And though bedtime is more difficult for all of us, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way.
This hasn’t been a good week for me. I’ve had trouble controlling my emotions and keeping myself in check, and it hasn’t been easy. I constantly feel like I’m on the verge of breaking down, and I’m doing my best to avoid it if I can. I’ve had days, weeks and months like this before, so it’s nothing new. But being pushed to your limits physically, emotionally or mentally is exhausting. Fortunately, I know what to do when I feel this way: lean on my sources of strength.
There are plenty of new (essentially important) buzzwords that have gained traction over the last few months. An abundance of caution and self-quarantining had their time, and now social distancing, AKA physical distancing, continues to be used often. But there’s another phrase I’ve heard a few times: a new normal. As in, we’re living in a new normal and the world is different now. So how do we adjust?
It’s a hard time, it’s a dark time, it’s a strange time, it’s a weird time. I feel like I can’t write any new post for the foreseeable future without addressing that, but it still feels weird to say. On top of people having anxiety over the situation and having to deal with figuring out how to stay at home, plenty of people are feeling lonelier than ever at this time. Part of that is obviously being at home (stay inside if you can, friends!) but part of that is not being able to see who we want to see in person.