Not too long ago, I wrote a post on Connection and its Effects on Healthspan and did a Live on Facebook as well. There is no doubt of how concrete this connection is. Also the extreme impact the pandemic is having on connections for many is undeniable and real. I wrote and talked about how self care is key to staying afloat. All things physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual are elevated when you take steps you know are good for you.
What happens though, when conditions become so extreme you lose your sense of self? What then are you caring for? Three years ago I had absolutely no doubts. I had amazing connections with very close family and friends. My life’s work was based on extending the duration of those connections and increasing ability to perform in life. My colleagues and I interacted daily with people to help them reach similar goals. I knew who I was even if it was a bit outside the norm–okay–way outside. COVID-19 is not solely to blame for my difficulty, but it certainly has amped things up. Everywhere I turn, people are getting pretty desperate because their lives are so very much harder. In some cases unsustainable, whereas before they were thriving.
Beyond the loss of connection due to isolation, so many are stressed to the max for so many reasons. They are required to live under completely different conditions. Jobs carry more protocols than ever before. The simplest task requires double the work. If you didn’t already hate your job, you are more apt to do so now. Parents have lost the support of schools and childcare. Again making a role they once cherished, so much harder. Business owners who pivot with significant expense one week, need to make another new change the next – often with a fraction of the revenue. Government aid is insufficient, conditional, and hard to apply for. Places of worship are closed. On top of all of this, the COVID-19 risk is real and growing.
Some projections have the daily death rate in the US as high as 3000 by January or even earlier. In Canada, the ICU beds are filling faster than ever. Beyond one’s own mortality risk, these growing numbers represent real losses for people of grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, and even sons and daughters. Losses which eliminate a loved one’s connection permanently and make normal grieving impossible in these conditions.
So what can we do when all of these things compound to remove parts of your life which created your sense of self? For my own reasons, I have been struggling with losing my own identity in my mind. My usual self care measures certainly help, but sometimes it’s not enough. Also, some days I have no desire to do them in spite of their positive impact. I have decided going it alone is no longer working. I am going to get help. I have a friend and psychiatrist kindly looking into reputable online counseling for me and I will post again with details on the service and on my progress. Hopefully, I can help someone else with my own example which is always my goal.
if you’re struggling with your mental health due to COVID-19, we want to encourage you to reach out. Here are some resources:
- Take the Mental Health Check-In and access resources
- Health Link BC
- Virtual Mental Health Supports during COVID-19
- Mental Well-Being During COVID-19
- COVID-19 Mental Health Supports (includes info about free counselling services)
- Mental Health Resources for Youth