I came across an article online about scientific ways a home can make you happier, and I immediately clicked on it since it piqued my interest. Then I notice the author 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 exclusively to those who subscribe. The gist is that he claims there are science-backed ways to make you happier at home.
Since we’re hitting pandemic walls and shit, let me help those of you who are still following protocol and remaining at home to be safe; I discovered an Apartment Therapy article that says the same thing as blogger boy, but they don’t ask you to subscribe to read the other 75% of their content.
I am currently in love with my home, which is a good thing to discover about yourself during a period when you have had to be in it more than out of it.
It has helped create a cocoon for me during a troubling time. I am grateful for the walls in my home, even though I’m hitting those proverbial walls from being inside so much.
Over the weekend, I’ve been writing about those invisible pandemic walls over the weekend. On my phone, on paper pads, and on my laptop. I even composed a poem. At least I think it was a poem. But it’s not a happy poem. It’s an angry, depressing poem loaded with thoughts that I needed to get out of my head about everything that has happened to me in the last year.
Yesterday marked one year since the first COVID death.
I’ve been using a diary called One Line a Day for over 10 years, and it tells you what you were doing on the exact day of the year before. Last year, I was completely unaware of what was in store for us, and I found myself envious of 2020 me.
Our hamster had just died, I was painting our bedroom, and we were attending a 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 so much away from all of us, and yet, I am grateful every day for so many things because it has also given me so much.
But here’s what we’re not talking about: the post-traumatic stress that all of us will experience as a result of this 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 has stared at me from across the room. My husband and I joke about it, but it’s also a little creepy; like he knows something. He stares deeply into my eyes like I should be able to read his mind. As if there is someone else in the room with us.
It’s almost as if he sees the elephant, too.
The children are suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. Even the children who never had it before. The teenagers who were handling things well will not be able to do so for much longer. College students who are looking for work cannot find it. The parents who were already struggling will be considerably more so now.
Our mental health care system was already buckling before all of this, but now? Now, it’s code red.
I am writing a book about perimenopause and depression and anxiety. About how I wasn’t prepared for it and how we’re failing women. But now? Holy shit.
If you are between the ages of 35-40, have a plan in place for the end of your period.
Get that plan ready. Because your gynecologist is not preparing it for you.
Parents, pay attention to your children. They will need you to be strong, and I can see you aren’t. You will not be strong enough for what is coming. I know this because I’ve been dealing with the mental health of my child long before the pandemic.
You’ll have to be there for some difficult conversations.
Are you mentally ready for that?
We are only concerned with getting our children back to school, getting them socialization, masks, and immunizations. 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 prepared to handle what is to come?
Over the next few years, a psychologist, a therapist, a psychiatrist will be just as crucial to the care of our children as a pediatrician is, if not more so. Does your insurance plan cover that, or do you need to satisfy a hefty deductible? Do you even have health insurance? Did you know that many therapists provide 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 your own mental health? Do you recognize suicidal tendencies in yourself? In a teenager? In a child?
Listen, I am not trying to be pessimistic. I’m being honest. These are the kinds of conversations that must take place. If you have children of any age around you, please have serious discussions. Because we need to be honest about our mental health and theirs.
This isn’t a secret, this is IMPORTANT.
This year, our bodies were subjected to so many bad things that our fight-or-flight mechanisms 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 involved in a car accident.
Now imagine being involved in a car accident every day for the next 365 days.
That is what we went through. What we are still going through.
My living room will no longer have an elephant. Promise me you’re not going to let it live in yours either.