What a fucking shit show. I mean, seriously, what a fuckity-fuck-fuckery-fuckit massive ass shit show. It’s day 81 for me on stay at home here in Seattle. I have been silent on Skipper Jenn but working my ass off at my day job. I have been consistently talking to double or more of my usual mental health counseling case load. This is an official mental health crisis amidst the pandemic. Been feeling up and down? Having trouble sleeping, headaches, stomach issues, lack of motivation and focus, exhaustion and angst? Yup…that’s the pandemic. It turns up the volume on everything.
I put together a series of podcasts for an organization and they are well worth the listen if you want to understand why you feel like shit and how to cope better. The fourth one is probably the most relevant if you want to know what’s ahead in the next year for mental health and how to cope. The first one is foundational in understanding your nervous system and how to soothe stress. You have to take care of yourself first to regulate. Then your loved ones, then your work. Reported anxiety and depression rates have gone up 700%….that’s right….700% from 2018 and are rising rapidly in the global crisis we find ourselves in. Settle in and get your life lines and ditch bags ready, this storm has just begun. Disaster response data, as I show below, says we are just coming out of the honeymoon phase into the long months of disillusionment where we will see acting out followed by depression. This data is all based on one event, if there is a second wave or more events like economical fallout, this all increases in intensity and length.
I don’t say any of this to be alarmist, but like any good sailor, you have to pay attention to the forecast and prepare for the journey ahead. Building up your active coping mechanisms, connecting with community and resourcing for altruism and change is going to help you and everyone else out. We are in this together, like it or not. Apart from the mental health piece, there is the virus itself. Eric is a virologist and following that part like a hawk. He says that a vaccine is also going to take longer than we would hope for. They are still trying to figure out the virus itself and it’s a fascinating and complicated one. This is all happening while the US economy is on the verge of melting and the many fucked up social justice and leadership issues this country has are hi-lighted and creating insult to injury at each turn. I get to say ‘I told you so‘ on this one from my last post, I absolutely do not relish in that. Never have I wanted to be proven wrong so badly as to how bad the pandemic and ensuing fall out would be.
Now we’ve got righteous riots for black lives raging. (I just learned that calling protests riots are rooted in racism, so I am adding this here as an example of my white learning. These are righteous protests for equity and equality against a violent and oppressive legal system.) White supremacy has been on the rise and is more public than ever with homeland terrorists at state capitals with guns and a president encouraging it all. Fuck that noise. I honestly don’t have a lot of time to write at the moment, but I definitely have a lot to say. For now, I’m going to mic-drop a lot of resources for you all at the end of this. I get it, you are all stressed and tired. Nobody is not effected by this whether they explicitly acknowledge that or not. We are all doing the best we can, I sincerely believe that. And some of you are bored. This is for the bored folks especially: IF YOU ARE BORED RIGHT NOW THAT IS YOUR PRIVILEGE AND CALL TO ACTION. Clearly you have resources, you have safety, you have health. USE IT. Take those bread baking skills and channel it into some advocacy and justice work.
Take some time and educate yourself. Take some time and try to imagine the world as it could be, not as it is. Look at what’s working and what’s not working in this fucking shit show and start collaborating with community to make some goddamn changes. WE NEED YOU. Mental health therapists don’t get credit often as front line workers, but we are. I hear all the stories. Not a day goes by since this started where I don’t hear some kind of crisis or deep grief. From folks who have lost their jobs and loved ones, to those who have been sick with COVID-19 or helped others who are, to Asian and Black folks being discriminated against, to teachers and students trying to figure out online school and loss of graduations and rites of passage, to mom’s working at home while teaching and caring for kids and fighting with spouses, to suicidal teens and kids acting out completely stressed and dis-regulated, to people at home bored and upset because their summer vacation got postponed and they can’t go sailing or get their hair cut. It’s all valid.
All the feels and experiences are valid. I get it. I see it. I don’t judge or begrudge any of it. There is also a big difference in privilege. I want to appeal to those of you with more health and energy spoons and that privilege of boredom. SHARE THE LOAD. Make yourself available through funds, through petitions, through educating yourself, to reaching out to folks, to volunteering. It will make you feel better and people need it. People need connection and care now more than ever. The internet is an amazing place if you resource it well, there are all kinds of do-gooders out there waiting to connect and act. Find one another, do something. Besides doing pro-bono and low cost therapy for folks in need, I’ve been helping to feed undocumented folks through community action. They can’t get resources here through the government. Drop me a message if you want to donate. Just put action to where your words and beliefs are folks. (Making the assumption you all are social justice minded on here….because I cannot fathom you reading my blog if you aren’t.)
In the meantime, I’m doing my best to put the oxygen mask on me first while tending to my flock. It’s hard not to lose my goddamn mind some days with all the assholery going on amidst a global crisis. The divisions are bigger than ever in this country and it breaks my heart. It also fuels the rage inside where a source of major activated energy of change comes from. I know some folks tend to shut down in that kind of stress, and I understand that. For those of us who hyper-arouse, roll up your sleeves and channel that fight and flight into something bigger, something more collective. It’s time to rally and get to real work. It’s time to share what we have so we can be better. We will get through this together somehow, I have no doubt. We also get to decide how that will look. But only if we show up. I implore you, if you can: SHOW UP. And if you don’t have the spoons to show up, that’s okay, be gentle with yourself and know I’m sending you love and appreciation for your fierce heart that cares. Be well and safe out there.
Resources for Anti-Racism work
Self-Care resources for my black friends
Resources for Climate Change work
Resources for Mental Health advocacy
Resources for Health Care advocacy
Resources of Income Equality