It’s About Compassion: Mental Health Awareness Month

This month is Mental Health Awareness month, and when thinking about what to write, I realized I needed to break it down into a few posts. I am passionate about mental health and discovered this when I was in nursing school. I remember taking a class and learning about holistic health. How we as nurses should treat the whole patient, not just their medical symptoms. If you’ve ever been in the hospital or are currently battling a disease, you might have first hand experience on how it can effect every part of you. Your health can take a toll on your emotions, your spirit, and your mind. Looking back, I’m so grateful my school introduced me to this concept, because health is so much more than our physical bodies.

After working as a nurse for a few years, I decided to go back and obtain my master’s in psychiatric nursing. Being a middle child, and a person that has always had friends span different groups, I often found myself in the workout role. The one that bridged the gap, mended miscommunications or worked to de-escalate a situation. I found myself comfortable in listening to other people’s situations and trying to help them through them.

What I discovered is that mental health and illness isn’t something in one place, a certain group of people, or only in treatment centers. It’s within all parts of our community because everyone experiences difficult moments or may be actively working on themselves. And that’s ok! There is such a stigma about expressing our emotions, anxieties, or struggles with maintaining mental health. And I hope that can change soon. People who are struggling with internal battles deserve the same love and support that patients with a heart condition, cancer, kidney disease or other physical ailments receive. Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, and it really can make such a difference in the lives of others.

We could use some love right about now

Hi everyone. I’m not going to sugar coat this, these times are tough. Whether your juggling children and work, or sick family members, or just trying to safely wrap your head around the state of our world, the word “challenge” comes to mind. If I’m being honest, I’m not feeling 100% sunny either. You can only block out so much of the negative before it starts impacting you. It did that to me yesterday and I found myself short on patience. (Which is when I feel the worst about how I act.)

So I’m trying to dig myself out. I baked banana bread yesterday and that helped a little, but sadly it wasn’t a cure. So what else? What else can I do to make myself feel better? What do you do when you feel lower than normal?

Exercise does come to mind, but eh. I do plan on taking my kids for a walk, which is always an adventure. They’re 7 and 5 and still get excited over how many worms they can find on the sidewalk after it rains, or pointing out cool things they see. Seeing the world through their eyes helps me, and even writing this tweaks at my heart. See, I can’t just crawl into bed and give up for the day. There are two beautiful beings, my two hearts, that walk around on this world….a world that has been turned upside down.

I’ve explained why we have to stay home from school and from their friends. I’ve told them that there’s a virus making people sick and to keep from getting sick or spreading it to our friends and family, we need to stay home. I told them that we want to keep Gigi (they’re 96 year old great grandma) healthy. They’ve accepted this and occasionally ask questions. But for the most part, they’re happy to play at home and do their school work.

I do know this isn’t always how it is. There are fears and anxiety children feel. These are real and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Children need us to help them figure out their emotions, and we need to be there for them. We are their protectors, we are the adults in this relationship. I will pray for everyone out their and send thoughts of support. I can’t do much more than that, and I know it doesn’t really help, but I hope just knowing someone is thinking of you, rooting for you, wishing you peace and calmness maybe gives you a little extra strength. We all could use a little love right now. Let’s try to do our best to be kind to one another because we’re all in this together.

Loss During Corona Virus

We are all experiencing some kind of loss because of the Corona virus. Whether it’s the loss of freedom, normal daily routine, free time, jobs, income, or a loved one, this is a challenging time. Never did I expect that I would be isolating myself and my family in our home to protect us and others.

When change happens, it’s usually difficult to adjust. If the change is expected, at least you can prepare for it mentally and emotionally. This change, however, came without warning…drastically altering our lives in every aspect. It leaves us asking, “How do we cope? What do we do? How long will it be like this?”

Lets look at the first question, how do we cope. The easy answer is the best you can. But how? To be honest, it will be different for everybody. What I can say is that panicking, taking pictures of empty shelves, or fighting in the store for items is not going to help anyone. These actions only increase negativity. Let’s try to join together as a community (in theory because we need to be social distancing) and remember we are all in this together.

If you are like me, I’m ordered to stay at home. I’ve been teaching my two young children and explaining things to them in a non threatening manner. I am a stay at home mom and do not have to juggle work. I can’t imagine trying to work full time and teach my children. My husband is working from home and adjusting to his new “office”.

To cope, we make time for ourselves. We read the news, which I don’t recommend doing all day. Try to do other things to distract yourself because too much focus on Corona virus isn’t going to be healthy. Stay informed, but try not to make it your main focus. Life needs balance to be healthy. Try other things like baking, reading, writing, painting, coloring with your kids, playing cards, board games, cleaning your home, or if you can…go outside. If you have a backyard, you can have your children find examples of spring (blooming flowers, grass, buds on trees.) If you have snow, try making a snow angel, foot prints, look for animal tracks, let them write in the snow with food coloring. (Pinterest is wonderful for crafts and ideas for children.) I don’t know what your situations are, but I did want to at least reach out to you know we are in this together.

Feel free to write me. I’m here to listen….and wish you well.