It has been a crazy year in every way. I don’t think there is anyone who has not been impacted. What I notice at this point is that many people are tired. They are taking COVID as a part of their lives. It is in the background and not being talked about in the same way it was in March and April. That said, it is very much a part of all of our lives. When we are having a difficult time with something in our lives, we need to remember that for most of us, we are already emotionally stretched to the max!
I have “felt” this impact over 2020. It has been so strong in everyone I know. Yet, when I bring the emotional toll up to people, they are often not consciously aware of it’s impact until we start talking about it. Honestly, it feels like we are all going through this traumatic time together and, as can be true in when in the middle of trauma, we are not honoring the impact of not only all we having going on in our lives that is typical, but the extra layer of unspoken stress that is constantly there due to what is going on in our world.
Recently, I was made aware of a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that found the symptoms of anxiety disorder in the second quarter of 2020 was approximately three times those that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%); and symptoms of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%). Say what?!?!? Think about how significant that is! For me, these numbers put hard data to what I think we have all been experiencing. Even if you are not someone who is significantly struggling right now, chances are, someone you know and love is.
So, what do we do?
First, I think it is important to identify and label what this is and means for ourselves. Feelings don’t go away by ignoring them.
Second, actively do things to take care of yourself. I know that many of the ways you used to take care of yourself may not be possible which is part of what is SO very difficult right now. That said, as much as possible, try to find anything you can do that will help you feel just a little bit better. I am not saying that you need to find something to make you feel pre-2020 better, that may not be realistic right now. The goal is to incorporate any activity you can that will increase your peace and/or happiness just a little bit. Feeling just a little bit better can make a big difference in the big picture of our lives.
Third, give yourself and everyone around you a break. Everyone is doing the best they can. I mean it. That includes you and everyone around you. I have always believed that people are doing the best they can. A few years ago, I read one of Brene Brown’s books (don’t remember which one this was in) and she talked about the idea that people are doing the best they can in her book. Like I said, I think I was wired to believe this, but I never thought about how this belief has impacted my life until I read her book. In her book, she shared her husband’s thoughts on the topic, which paraphrased were, “I believe everyone is doing the best they can, and even if they are not, I like who I am better when I think that way about people.” Love it! So, you and everyone around you is struggling right now AND you and everyone around you is doing the best you/they can. Remind yourself of this daily:)
Fourth, please know we are here for you. If you or someone you love needs some extra support right now, please reach out! We are seeing people both via telehealth and in-person. This is a challenging time and, more than ever, it is important we all seek the support we need to get through. As always, you can call us at 720-583-9332.
Have a beautiful day!
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!