One of my favorite quotes was said by Audrey Hepburn: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m Possible’!” This last month has been dramatic and life-changing for millions of people. While some have been able to make lemonade out of the sour lemons they have been given during this pandemic, others who suffer from mental illness may have found this situation extremely difficult. I am one of those people.
Before the pandemic occurred, I was undergoing psychotherapy for germaphobia and anxiety. When I went to the grocery store, I had to use my shirt to open the freezer door. I was using hand sanitizer multiple times a day to the point where my hands were raw and bleeding. I would count when I washed my hands and if my brain felt it wasn’t sufficient, I would have to repeat it multiple times. After several months of therapy, I felt like I was improving and ready to apply the tools I learned in therapy out in the real world.
Then COVID-19 happened. All of a sudden, normal every-day people are scared of germs just like me. The hand sanitizer is sold out. People are wearing gloves and masks in the grocery stores. The CDC is telling people to wash their hands several times a day and to count while they wash. The entire situation was very confusing for me. I had just learned how to handle and live with my fear. How was I going to be able to move forward and not return to the state of raw bleeding hands?
It’s a process.
Three Things To Be Mindful Of
Rudy Weitfeldt MED, Psychologist has three recommendations to help improve mental health during the stay at home order:
- Adhere to treatment in a biopsychosocial way
- Take all medications as prescribed and continue psychotherapy using telehealth modalities
- Utilize a schedule
- Plan your days hour by hour in a written format or on your phone. Not having a schedule opens your time and your mind to potential worry. Pray or meditate in short segments three or four times a day to help with worry
- Mind your mood
- Get eight hours of sleep per night, exercise outside, and be mindful of your diet. If you notice your mood drop or if you develop any concerning symptoms like thoughts of suicide, contact your health care provider, family, and friends. Remember that you are not alone and this time at home will pass
As difficult as this situation has been for all of us, just remember that we are in it together. Some of us may be struggling more than others, and it’s important to reach out to those people and give them a little extra virtual TLC than you normally would. I know that “I’m Possible”, and will make it through this situation. I may just need to make a little more lemonade than everyone else.