The new normal (for now)
We’re experiencing a mental health crisis, and you can add that to the long list of crises that have resulted because of the novel coronavirus. The focus is so much on physical health right now (and rightly so), a lot of us are having to figure out how to deal mentally in this whole new world. And when I say “we,” I am definitely including myself!
I’m a relationship counsellor and under direction to stay at home. Me, my husband, and our two dogs only leave home to exercise outdoors or go to the supermarket (while still staying 1.5 metres away from any other human, of course). Living this way has left me feeling incredibly stressed, anxious, and depressed. I’ve had depression and anxiety since I was ten years old and I’ve learned to manage them well as an adult. However, this pandemic, in particular the social distancing aspect, is unlike anything I’ve had to deal with before and it’s seriously thrown me.
My first reaction was anger
I was totally incensed at all the people freaking out and hoarding, at the news for adding to the hysteria, and I realised I was angry at myself, too. So much of my identity revolves around being a therapist and the thought that I needed to temporarily close my practice and stay home was very upsetting. I knew it would be irresponsible to stay open but I desperately wanted to hang on to my normal life—my link to my sanity. Clearly, I don’t like change!
Keep working as much as I can
My work is my life and I love it so I’m doing whatever I can to keep as much normalcy there is possible, both for me and my clients. I can’t work like I normally do (and trust me, doing therapy when you can’t see peoples’ facial expressions or body language is so much harder!) but I can still be there for my clients in so many important ways online and over the phone.