Humor, Life, Nonsense, Universe

On Elephants and Hitting Walls

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.

36 thoughts on “On Elephants and Hitting Walls”

    1. Aww, thank you. I am in love with it more every day.

      I feel like the longer I take with this book, the more women are entering and would benefit from it. Well, that is my hope anyway. My goal is now to self-publish beginning in March. Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow; I am so sorry for those people that feel this way (and I know there are SO SO MANY!). I agree that our mental health facilities are not equipped to handle this at all. Isolation and fear do leave long term effects behind especially in proportion to how long people have lived with them. However, I am fairly confident that we can beat this out too; after all previous generations had wars, pandemics, and natural disasters to deal with too and somehow managed to come out on top.

    Our school does have a few psychologists and I know my son’s school sends out weekly questionnaires asking the kids about their stress levels, their mental health status and the like; I’m not sure what protocols are in place for those kid that are struggling as mine have just been sailing right through. Thankfully my family and I’d say 90% of our extended families and friends are doing really really well with all this too– maybe because we are younger and not in the high risk category, maybe because so many we know that had Covid had 0 problems (even those that were warned would be high risk), maybe because we’re pretty rural and used to being fairly isolated… I’m not sure why but we are and I feel so freaking fortunate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad that you and your family are doing well. This makes me so happy! I don’t necessarily agree that our country came out on top with generations of silent mental abuse, racial injustice, and so on. I know you probably didn’t think of that aspect because it didn’t affect you personally.

      That is where our country completely failed generations; where mental health is concerned. Because to this day insurance isn’t where it needs to be where mental health is concerned. I am hoping that changes with COVID. I am also hoping that more people will go on to be therapists because our world is going to need them more than ever.

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  2. Yes, absolutely! People need to acknowledge the fall-out from this pandemic…in themselves and others. Let’s all cut each other a helluva lot of slack. And please get thee some professional help if needed! There is no shame in seeking therapy.
    Well said, Kari!

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We talk about this a lot in our house. Me, my mom, and my husband all suffer from some mental or emotional disorder. And this pandemic has been hard! Really hard!

    Our once enormous house feels insanely small. My work from home job has me utterly isolated. My already struggling marriage has been put through more than it’s paces. And you are right, we don’t just hit the reset button on this one.

    I am extremely fortunate and downright lucky that I have the set up I do, so many people in the world do not have this. And they have struggled infinity more in the last year.

    There is a lot of healing that needs to happen and that’s not going to happen overnight.

    Also I’m about to hit 40 and need that book of yours! I’m counting on it to help me prepare!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, thank you for being open and honest in your home about your mental amazingness that you all have going on. For real.

      Second, I understand how incredibly difficult it is to manage work, children, school, and mental amazingness. Add in a couple of health issues and an additional family member and it can make things even worse. I see all of you. 💜

      I feel sad that we have to feel lucky and compare. None of us are lucky getting out of this year. All of us have a struggle coming out of 2020. Just because others don’t have children or don’t have mental amazingness doesn’t mean they won’t have to deal with the effects of it down the road.

      My slowing down of the book has been a part of my own mental amazingness, not feeling adequate, being overwhelmed and so much more. But I finally put Google Docs on my phone and I am taking publishing into my own hands. Those two things make me finally feel empowered for some reason. Onward.

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  4. I have read so many articles about what this pandemic is doing to the mental health and well-being of children. Anxiety, depression, suicide and drug overdoses are way up. Thank you for bringing light to this subject. Will be sharing your post. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. PS – I love the pictures of your home. It is so cheery and beautiful. And you find the best plant holders. Where did you get those little face planters on your ledge?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My heart goes out to those who were stuggling before and now more so because OF 2020. Our youngest who does stuggle with anxeity and depression has fared far better than I ever could imagine; she’s faced so much this past year (broken relationships, lost 2 jobs and was isolated alone) and has come through like a champ. I mean, she’s had 9 covid (negative) tests because she’s always worried about that, but she’s doing good. She does have the option of seeing her therapist thanks to good insurance, so yes, we’re fortunate in that aspect.
    I can only hope/pray that people who are in a bad place can and will seek the help that they need.
    I can say for sure that myself and my family are so much more appreciative of where we live, our freedoms and medical care when we need it.
    Big hugs to you and yours Kari; I hope you guys are doing well. XO

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post really hit home…first you have such a beautiful, cozy home. I love the colours and all the special touches. I also love my home, have been self employed and worked from home for 10 years. But wow did I ever hit a wall a couple of days ago. I consider myself a really stable and strong person. I’ve been through some major challenges during my 65 years, but this last 11 months have been a unique and difficult challenge. I realized recently how challenging it is becoming when a very minor incident sent me right over the edge…I don’t know if I have ever felt as low and despondent as I did at that time and for the next 48 hours. Fortunately I was able to pull myself out of it. Not all have those resources. thank you for this excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I haven’t appreciated my home as much as I have in the past year. I attribute it to the addition of my plants! Truly, they have helped me. Also my love of the color green. It helps during the winter months when we see less of it on the outside.

      I hear you about that wall. It hit me last week. And especially when I heard about the first death in our country. Then reading what I was doing this time last year.

      I am so glad you were able to get through it. 😘

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  8. I wonder how many people are just too stunned by what has happened to all of us to even understand that they might benefit from some mental health counseling? There’s a lot of denial parading around like an elephant, as you said.

    Your house is beautiful, btw. It’s warm and cheery. Thanks for the photos of your inside life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a really good question. The people I’m most worried about are those who have never experienced mental health issues prior to this. I hope our health care system makes mental health a priority.

      Thank you! It has helped keep me happy and safe for the past year. I am in love with it for that and many other reasons. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  9. First, I love your Grace picture. It’s my favorite picture because my grandparents (like a lot of grandparents) had that picture in their home(s) and it makes me think of them. I also wonder what they (as WWII and Great Depression survivors) would have to say about what we are going through today because I think they’d have a whole lot of wisdom.

    As for walls and elephants. I just read an article about how people are hitting walls in the WAPO and I had a good long conversation with my sister about it yesterday and my husband today. I’m so grateful for our therapists because they are getting us through. (Though yay for a new year and a new deductible to reach! Grrrr.)

    Also. I’m saying straight up, I am going to have some definite agoraphobia when this ends and I know for a fact I’m not the only one.

    On the plus side, I’ve had some really great friendships develop out of this year which was a really happy surprise.

    Hope you’re doing okay as you hit your wall. And man, do I want the information on your menopause book because it’s coming and for the women in my family it is a DOOZY. (Which considering how much I’m looking forward to the end of my period, I do NOT understand.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That picture was in my grandma’s home and was given to me as a Christmas gift this year by my parents. I will treasure it forever. It has taken on so much more meaning this year. So much to be grateful for within this year. Finding the good within so much bad has had to become a talent in 2020. ❤️

      I was just talking to my husband about agoraphobia! I do love my home and I am nudging myself forcefully more now even if I have nothing to do.

      I am working feverishly on it and it is changing daily. Literally. I have sliced it from 50,000 words to 42,000 within a matter of eight weeks. I know word counts don’t necessarily matter but I’m worried it will end up being a term paper by the time I’m done with it. A well-informed term paper. 😄

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  10. I love my house, but I now think I love your house more than mine . . .maybe because there isn’t crap everywhere. You can make me feel better by assuring me that you moved all the junk in your house to take those photos. You’re OK with me coming to crash on the couch for a bit till my family deals with the stuff they seem incapable of putting away, right? That’ll give Buddy something to stare at for sure.

    I think we are fortunate to all be managing pretty well. My kids see their friends. They continue to go to their jobs. There’s lots of activity in our house. Maybe everyone just needs a pile of babies showing up on their doorstep each morning. It keeps things, well – interesting, and loud and distracting . . . to the point of not being able to complete a thought. Wait, where was I?

    Spring is coming. The vaccine is making its way around. One day soon this will be in the past. I do hope people who need it have access to good therapy and resources. I know it helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Whaaa you write such needed posts.

    Add me to the list of people eagerly awaiting your book (but *patiently* waiting bc I never want to be a source of more stress…. you take as much time as you need!)

    I was watching the virus unfurl in the news in the wee early days and my very sad first thought was that if things got bad, if this new virus became an actual pandemic…. many healthy happy untroubled people were going to rapidly experience what disabled people, what folks with chronic conditions, what others have to face daily – limits, losses, ended dreams. In an instant, your planned, organized, controlled life can be taken from you. Maybe returned. Probably not given back in original condition. And you gotta deal with that. Live with that. Find a new way forward. Sift thru what is left for what actually matters and nurture that.

    My vague hope is that maybe people will discover compassion for others (and themselves) out of all this. Or empathy. A ridiculous hope, I know but maybe?

    Also your house is lovely! Do you really have framed lyrics for Sugarhill Gang Rapper’s Delight (I think?) – that song is literally on my personal Cheer the Eff Up playlist!

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    1. You make me want to keep writing my book when I feel like giving up. So thank you for that because there are days when I think, “who will buy this book, anyway?”

      You’re so spot on with all of that. This whole year has been about adjusting. Every week, I feel like I have been adjusting. My life, my children’s points of view, my husband’s point of view. Within our home, we all have changed considerably. Like, we aren’t anything like we were a year ago; for the better. Honestly, there are times when I needed this wake-up call. I was ugly on the inside for whole lotta years. Most of that was perimenopause; some of that was mental illness without medication. I needed a pandemic. Who knew? But I want other people (parents especially) to know how fragile children might be after all of this and they need all the resources because I know that I needed them when I was in high school. I didn’t have them and I didn’t go through a pandemic.

      I really do have framed lyrics for Rapper’s Delight! I am sharing where I got them on Monday. I bought them for myself this Christmas. I love that you have a Cheer the Eff up playlist! I would love to hear what your other songs are on that playlist. 🙂

      Like

  12. Women will buy your book for themselves. For their sisters & best friends. For their daughters & granddaughters. “Female” is a big demographic! 🙂 When you doubt, imagine all of us there in your writing nook, cheering you on with every draft.

    Can you imagine a world where every kid who struggled was seen, heard, helped? You are so right.

    Love that your family found something positive in this youknowwhat storm. I think this weird time caused folks to double down on who they are. Greedy people became insatiable. Angry people became angrier. Folks who felt uneasy about their lives or selves found the strength & motivation to change course. That’s some hard work to do while reality crumbles.

    Oh man, I’d love to share the playlist but it is huge. What to share out of hundreds lol. Started in college and steadily added. Not so much a playlist – more a rambling house of songs. A Ye Olde Estate, with wings and additions of jarringly different styles added over the years by different versions of me. Each section reminds me of who I was at that time. Rapper’s Delight is tucked in with songs I heard as a kid that made me ridic happy (and now adult me can Google, Bandcamp and buy singles!). Just Seeing the lyrics on your wall made me smile and start tapping my feet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You just inspired me to keep writing. Actually, you inspired me with the first comment. I got two hours in. ❤️

      I love that your playlist reminds you of who you were at different times. That is so amazing.

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