Especially in times of crisis, our inner life can go neglected. Here's a short essay from NAMI volunteer Lelia Davis that asks us to stay tuned in.
“Fine” is such a loaded word. Fine says, “I accept less.”
Fine says, “I'm ok with not listening to what I want. I accept that what I want is not as important as what you want, or what is expected of me. I'll continue doing this because then I don't have to consider what I really want.”
Many times, we must do things we don't choose, whether for work, family, our health, etc. Yet within these demands and obligations, we have the authority to choose. Do we choose the path of least resistance because it's familiar? Or do we take a risk and push the comforts of what we know? The answer lies within paying attention to what our bodies are telling us.
Many of us have been told we're too emotional, yet our emotions are exceptional sensors. They are tuned into our desires, which are really just our basic needs. Our need to feel heard, seen, and understood. Ignoring these needs is living in the “Fine.”
That catch in your throat, that flutter of your heart, that warmth that floods your entire body ... that's your emotion manifesting into something physical. Something that will get your attention. It's screaming, “I don't want to be fine! Pay attention to me! I want more!”
Would you ignore that pleading if it came from your child, your best friend, your partner? Then why ignore ourselves? Why accept less when the plea comes from within? If we believe we are worthy of more, just like that loved one we would never ignore, then we can truly listen to ourselves and take action.
We must believe that we are not only worthy of more, but that we're capable of more.
What's more difficult, enduring what's “fine” for eternity, or risking the temporary discomfort of finding our “more”?
Locally, AspenPointe leaders have been working hard to recognize and respond to emerging community needs as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. The region's largest mental health organization has confirmed that it is taking new patients for virtual care, and has posted a simple “Request appointment” button to the top right-hand corner of its homepage. If you don’t already have a mental health care provider, and feel like you could use one, it can’t hurt to make an inquiry.
File under “Solidarity”: The Hartford Courant this morning published a poignant, but not-too-heavy, first-person piece from reporter Mike Anthony. He writes that though he’s fortunate, all things considered, “I’m just not rolling with the punches very well.”
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is making daily updates to a page of “Helpful Expert Tips and Resources” about coronavirus anxiety. It includes videos as well as blog posts that range in subject matter from mindfulness to parenting to responding to racism during the outbreak.
Take care and be safe and healthy this weekend, everybody.
Note: Edits were made to this post on Monday, March 30.
Did you receive emergency “stay-at-home” alerts on your phone last night, or this morning, or both? No doubt, those sounds and images can make an already-disorienting time feel even more frightening.
With that in mind, this Guardian headline speaks for itself: 'Think about the best-case scenario': how to manage coronavirus anxiety.”
This U.S. News & World Report story covers some of the same ground, but includes an idea that we haven’t seen a lot of in all of this coverage: the idea of beginning each day with a gratitude practice.
Sounds True has provided a “digital care package” of free audio and video resources dedicated to helping promote and preserve personal resilience.
And while it’s not exactly coronavirus-related, could we make a book recommendation? Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, a 2015 memoir by Jenny Lawson, is a “hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety.” In this environment, it might be just the thing to brighten a few days.
Today, we'd like to share a few resources and stories that are devoted to helping older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic:
In Colorado Springs, Innovations in Aging is maintaining a clearinghouse of COVID-19-related information for seniors. It's a mix of locally relevant and universally practical information, such as a step-by-step guide to video calling family members.
Among a lot of resources mentioned (and linked to) in this LAist post is the Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line, a national, 24-hour, toll-free resource for people aged 60 years and older, and adults living with disabilities. It’s both a crisis intervention hotline and warmline for non-emergency support calls.
Vox.com has published a great story on technology that can help older adults stay connected to loved ones; safely obtain groceries and medicines; and release endorphins by exercising in their own home.
The AARP is hosting a live tele-town hall on caring for family members during the coronavirus crisis at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 26. In fact, it will be doing these town halls every week or the foreseeable future. Call 855.274.9507, or find out more by visiting this page of the AARP site.
And while this may not relate directly to mental health, the Federal Trade Commission has posted a page of tips devoted to avoiding coronavirus-related scams … which can be helpful for seniors, a popular target population.
If you know of other resources — for seniors or anyone else — that you'd like to see more widely shared, please let us know. Thank you!
Hi, everyone. Here are a few good COVID-19-related reads and resources for Tuesday, March 24:
This American Psychological Association makes it clear that though this is an abrupt and unprecedented transition, there are lessons to be taken from past studies on working remotely.
If you haven’t yet visited the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s online clearinghouse on COVID-19 information, it’s worth checking out (or bookmarking for later, when you’ve got some time). The section on differences between isolation and quarantine feels pretty useful at the moment.
The Washington Post is hosting an online chat with licensed clinical psychologist and author Andrea Bonior at 11 a.m. MST today, Tuesday, March 24. Tune in here or visit the same link later to get a look at the transcript. The Post also is providing free access to substantive COVID-19 coverage without a subscription through a daily newsletter; visit here to sign up.
Around noon each weekday for the foreseeable future, NAMI Colorado Springs will post a roundup of the best stories and resources from the intersection of mental health and the COVID-19 crisis. Here are a few for today. (And sorry for the lateness with this first one! We’ve been having some connectivity issues.)
This Guardian piece on managing coronavirus anxiety comes with some good ideas for reframing the current situation, with quotes from NAMI’s medical director, Ken Duckworth. It also notes that "The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) says setting a daily half-hour 'worry period' at the same time and place helps to stay in the present moment the rest of the day."
For parents who are trying to help kids adjust to life in close quarters, making an International Space Station analogy might be helpful, as Mental Health Colorado's Vincent Atchity describes in the Colorado Sun.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has published an excellent and easily printable list of online resources that can help support people in recovery from mental health and substance abuse issues.
And finally, for those who have guns — or family members with guns — the Giffords Law Center recently published a thoughtful blog post about gun safety during the pandemic.
We'll be back with more tomorrow. Until then, take care and remember that we're here if you need us during this time.
"I'm having a lot of anxiety because of the coronavirus. Please help."
"I'm quarantined or working from home — lonely and isolated even further — what can I do?"
"I don't have health insurance or a regular doctor — how can I get care?"
These are the first three topics addressed in the "COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information and Resources" packet just released by NAMI national. If you or people you know have had thoughts like these, or other worries about the intersection of COVID-19 and mental illness, please take a look through this packet.
Ongoing updates will be posted regularly at the NAMI website. In the meantime, take care of yourself and your loved ones.