by Ingrid Parker, LPC, MCAP’s Director of Community Partnerships
The coronavirus pandemic has completely affected the course of our lives. COVID-19 is constantly being monitored and researched, as healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals work hard to make gains, account for the death toll, and create a vaccination for this disease. In addition, the recent death of George Floyd and the resulting protests have also impacted us. Repeated exposure to either event through media coverage, social media networks, and word of mouth has exacerbated our reactions and increased stress levels.
On this uncharted course, the domains of life may have shifted in ways that affect our physical health, interconnectedness, spirituality, economic stability, emotional responsiveness, and mental faculties. You and your loved ones may have experienced a variety of overwhelming responses to these shifts which might include:
It is important to remind yourself and others that these life domain changes are traumatic and the responses to this trauma are normal. Everyone will respond to what is happening in different ways. Your natural response to what is happening to you, your loved ones, and in your environment is acceptable. Taking care of yourself, your family, your pets, your friends and what is most meaningful in your life can assist you in coping with this trauma. Helpful methods to cope with stress include:
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or thinking of hurting yourself, seek help. Contact your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Or call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use its webchat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
We will get through this. While you use these coping techniques and maintain self-care, your outlook and response will improve. Please continue to using these self-care practices to take care of yourself and increase your ability to cope with life’s course challenges.