On Tuesday, I wrote about what my approach to mental health has been like during the pandemic – an approach that includes a bit of pessimism, an emphasis on focus and a willingness to let out my emotions when I need. The more I wrote about these things, the more I reflected on how I’ve been able to maintain mental wellness as often as I could during the past year-plus of this pandemic.
One of the more difficult things I’ve come to terms with is that as long as we’ve been living this way, I still haven’t truly processed what we’ve gone through, and what we’re still going through. Truthfully, I’m slightly nervous of what that will look like for my mental health. But the bigger question on my mind is, how do you process something when you don’t know when it will end?
You might read that last sentence and think okay Nathan, don’t be ridiculous – we’re turning the corner on this thing! I’m not here to share my thoughts on what to do once the pandemic is “over” (which is another vague term that doesn’t give me any information or comfort). The number of times that we’ve been told the pandemic is “almost over” or that “we’re so close” is too many to count, and I haven’t yet processed the impact all of that’s had on my mental health, and our collection mental health as a community, as a nation, even as a planet.
I don’t know much about the things that quell my anxiety, but I know that part of it is seeing things through. I’ve learned that finality is very important to my mental health, and when things linger or don’t seem to end, I get anxious. I didn’t always know that about myself, but I learned it in a big way last year. And since I’m not in a position where I can sit back and figure out how to work on this trait, I have to figure out how to balance anxiety with a pandemic that has no end date in sight.
I know that part of this is the way I handle life events, but it’s also the best way I know to maintain my mental health. I haven’t even begun to process the pandemic’s impact on my mental health, and I don’t think now is the time to start. What I know for sure is that taking things day by day has been my best approach to wellness. I’m not in a place to process certain things right now, and I hope that one day that changes, but for now, I’m just glad I found an approach to wellness that helps me find some sense of calm. And in this last year and a half, I really don’t know if I can ask for any more than that.
What about you? Are you able to process significant events/moments as they’re happening, or do you need time afterwards to sit with things? Let me know in the comments below.