I posted this on Facebook, but I know many of my subscribers only get me through the blog. I wanted to give an update on how I’m doing and a little reflection on how we all are doing.
THANK YOU to my health care working friends. You are fucking superhero’s and I appreciate all of the sacrifices, effort, skills, and dedication you are giving this year and always. Health care workers need our cups filled right now more than ever to keep going. I am sharing a little PSA on what this has been like and what you can do to help.
People don’t acknowledge the back of the house experiences of health care workers enough. How their own mental and physical health are impacted, how their families are impacted by their work. For most of us, these are not just our jobs, not even careers, they are our calling in life. It is our passion and meaning. For most of us, we deeply care, and while that care is in itself an amazing reward, that care also takes a huge toll.
Let me tell you how it feels to be in health care right now for me. It’s hell. Hell is when you directly care for and witness death, doom, illness, struggle, and intensity for 9 months straight on the daily. Hell is when you know much of it is preventable but you can’t stop it. Hell is when you have over 60 people in your care and get crisis calls and texts pretty much daily for 9 months. Hell is when you try to find hospital care and beds for suicidal teens and there are none. Hell is when you can’t get people the care they need because everyone is over full. Hell is when you look at your community and country and about half of them either don’t believe there is a crisis or don’t care. Hell is when you know this will keep on going for probably another year.
I’m trained and highly skilled for this shit. I’ve done intense crisis work my whole career as a trauma specialist. Although never before was I in the crisis ongoing with my clients, and ALL my clients were struggling in one way or another. I am okay. I am doing everything I know how to support myself so I can support others. I also have the gift of purpose and something to do in this crisis and I am deeply committed to my clients well being. That is why my friends see an uptick in Jenn shenanigans and online expression as I cope. The intensity of this is hard to hold alone, I turn to my amazing online community to hold it with me….and often through unicorn farts.
I need people to understand that all health care workers, nurses, doctors, therapists, and more are fucking exhausted and burnt out and believe me, will leave this pandemic with ongoing trauma.
How can you help? Wear a mask and take precautions suggested by experts. Take good care of your own mental and physical health. Care for your loved ones. Check in with one another. Talk about your feelings and experience, connect, even though you can’t in person the way you want to. Many people are not okay, even if they seem like it. If you are feeling low focus, motivation, and energy that is normal in these abnormal times. If you are seeing people acting out, going to addictions and taking risks, that is normal in abnormal times. If your A students are starting to fail or disengage, if your parents are irritable, if your friends are isolating, this is all par for the mental health course in this pandemic. I hear these stories everyday. You are not alone.
This is a slog and focus, motivation and moods are low right now. This is all normal in these abnormal times, just do your best and be gentle day by day. Sadly, all of this was predicted through disaster response data, and it is happening. It is hard. We have been coping for 9 months and have much more to go. We need to bolster ourselves now more than ever. I have podcasts and write ups with lots of information, reminders, and strategies on how to cope with all of this and how to support your loved ones linked below. Prioritizing your mental and physical health will help.
And, very importantly, if you have a health care worker in your life: ask them what they need, tell them you appreciate them, be a cheerleader, be a sounding board, love them hard right now so they can go out and love others. Many won’t ask for things, many have no spoons to even know what they need, but you can make them food and take it to them, just like you would a friend who is ill. You can do or give little things to make their life a little easier and brighter.
Have patience with them. I know for me….I give the best of myself to my clients in urgent need and sometimes have little left over for my family and friends. Poor Eric often gets a nearly catatonic girlfriend at the end of the day with a protest of, “I cannot talk or listen anymore today.” That’s always an edge I am exploring in my life and growth and it’s so helpful when he says, “I know sweetie,” and makes me dinner and quietly snuggles me without expectation and with permission to rest. My friends often only get me online in bursts and I know that negatively impacts our connection. Know I still miss and love you, I am just trying to do this shit show one day at a time.
We will get through this. We can even get through this stronger. We can only do this together, untied in our humanity, kindness, and compassion. May we all live in peace.
Courageous Heart Healing (CHH) Podcasts for all on information, coping, and community for families and businesses.
Coping and strategies with a trauma and grief framework.
A letter to teens of support in these unprecedented times.
Women Who Sail post on disaster response data and how to weather this pandemic.
Skipper Jenn Social commentary on the pandemic from March where I wish I wasn’t right about it all.
Skipper Jenn on how to support folks with Depression.
Skipper Jenn with lots on mental health, so much on mental health. We do not become therapists by accident.