I had found an article online about scientific ways a home can make you happier, and I immediately clicked on it because it seemed fascinating. Then I see that he only shares 25% of his blog posts to those who read his posts without subscribing to his content. The rest of his content is available only to those who subscribe. The gist is this; he says there are science-backed ways to make you happier at home.
Since we are hitting pandemic walls and shit, let me help those of you who are still following protocol and staying at home to be safe; I found an Apartment Therapy article that said the same thing as blogger boy, but they don’t require you to subscribe to read the other 75% of their content.
I am in love with my home currently and that is a good thing to find out about yourself during a time when you have had to be in it more than out of it.
It has helped create a cocoon in a troubling time. I am thankful for the walls in my home, even though I am hitting proverbial walls from being inside so much.
I have been writing about those invisible pandemic walls over the weekend. In my phone, on paper pads, on my laptop. I even wrote a poem. Well, at least I think it was a poem. But not a happy poem. An angry, sad, depressed poem filled with words that I needed to get out of me about all the stuff I have been through during the past year.
I read yesterday marked one year since the first COVID death.
I have a journal that I have been using for over ten years; it’s called One Line a Day, and it tells you what you were doing on the exact day the year previous. Last year, I was completely unaware of what was in store for us and I found myself jealous of 2020 me.
Our hamster had just died, I was painting our bedroom; we were going to homeschool co-op and visiting new co-ops for the following year. My mom and dad were coming over for dinners, Anna was coming home freely from college for the weekend.
God, this virus has taken away so much from all of us, and yet, I am grateful every day for so many things because it has given me a lot too.
But this is the thing we aren’t talking about: the post-traumatic stress that all of us are going to be dealing with because of the virus.
The elephant in the room.
This rather large and inconvenient elephant has been staring at us, but we don’t seem to mention it.
Every night since the pandemic began, my dog Buddy stares at me from across the room. My husband and I joke about it but it’s kind of creepy too; it’s like he knows something. He stares deeply into my eyes like I should be able to read his mind. Like there is someone else in the room with us.
Almost like he sees the elephant too.
The children are having panic attacks, anxiety, depression. Even the children who didn’t have it before. The teenagers who were handling things well enough will not be handling it well enough for much longer. The college students who are trying to get jobs can’t find them. The parents who were struggling before are going to be struggling even more now.
Our mental health care system was buckling before all of this happened, but now? Now, it’s code red.
I am writing a book about perimenopause and depression and anxiety. About how I wasn’t anywhere prepared for it and how we are letting women down. But now? Holy shit.
If you are anywhere near the ages of 35-40, have a plan in place for the end of your period.
Get that plan ready. Because your gynecologist isn’t getting it ready for you.
Parents, pay attention to your children. They are going to need you to be strong and I see you aren’t strong. You will not be strong enough for what is coming. I know this because I have been handling the mental health of my child way before the pandemic.
You’re going to have to be there for some really hard conversations and you will hear tough stuff.
Are you mentally ready for that?
We are only thinking about getting our children back to school, getting them socialization, masks, and vaccines. But do you know how many psychologists are at your child’s school? Does your child’s school even have a psychologist? And if they do, are they qualified to handle what is to come?
Over the next several years, a psychologist, a therapist, a psychiatrist are going to be just as important to the care of our children as a pediatrician is, maybe even more. Does your insurance plan cover that, or do you need to meet a massive deductible? Do you even have health insurance? Did you know that a lot of therapists offer sliding scales? Do you know even what a sliding scale is?
How are YOU holding up? Do you have a mental health plan in place for yourself? Do you know what suicidal tendencies look like in yourself? In a teenager? In a child?
Listen, I am not trying to be a downer. I am being honest. These are conversations that need to happen. If you have children of any age around you, let’s discuss this sincerely. Because we need to be open about our mental health and theirs.
This isn’t a secret, this is IMPORTANT.
This year our bodies went through so many bad things that our fight-or-flight systems in our bodies were constantly firing off. That is trauma. Every single day. Even the calmest, rational person would need to see a therapist after going through something like that.
Imagine being in a car accident.
Now imagine being in a car accident for 365 days in a row.
There will no longer be an elephant in my living room.
Promise me you won’t let it live in yours either.