Keeping Up With the Coronavirus: Managing the mental health pandemic

Keeping Up With the Coronavirus: Managing the mental health pandemic

It’s week four of the coronavirus pandemic quarantine in the Bay Area. To keep my mental health in check, I walk the trails by my house daily and have noticed a shift. People move to the side of the street instead of playing chicken for sidewalk space. Where there once were slight nods of recognition are now smiles and a wave hello. On the trails, we walk at a distance. When we pass one another we acknowledge each other before facing the other direction. Some wear masks. Some don’t. Others exclaim how great it is to see another human being. 

Here in the Bay Area we’ve been on lockdown since March 17, 2020. Since then I’ve noticed a change in people. Some have become hyper vigilant, ready to pounce over the slightest perceived offense. Others are going about their days, making the best with what we’re left with. Then there are those that don’t know what to feel, as the illusion of control crumbles down around them.

All any of us can do is our small part in keeping ourselves healthy and be conscientious of others. The coronavirus is out of our hands from that point. 

According to pandemic psychology, the hoarding mentality is a pretty common means of control. It’s not hard to see why. Many of us function in fear that the other shoe will drop at any moment, that we’ll get hurt some how some way, and in order to avoid a catastrophe we’ll hold tight to anything that can provide relief, even toilet paper. 

When the masses start panicking it creates a domino effect. Chances are, if you’re surrounded by people who panic, you’re likely to panic too. But buying into fear doesn’t make the situation better. Getting mad at others for keeping their cool won’t make the situation easier to deal with. Yes, the threat is very real, and in order to get through the coronavirus pandemic we must take precautions. 

There’s another side to the quarantine that many do not see. With most distractions removed, we are given the opportunity to take a true inventory of our lives and the way we’ve been living day to day. Many of us just go through the motions, believing we have no choice in how to live this thing called life. Staying busy and keeping our calendars at the point of boiling over is a great way to avoid digging deep into our needs and addressing issues that feel out of our control. 

By closing the world, we’ve been handed an opportunity for change. 

We’ve learned to appreciate what we have by the removal of the in-person experience. While it’s fun and healthy to treat yourself, it’s common practice to displace discomfort with shopping, alcohol, overeating, and general American consumerism.

We practice the art of buying more, but the current circumstance begs the question “for what?”

With nowhere to go and nothing to do, the only option is to face ourselves. We are left with a choice of whether to continue drowning ourselves out, or face the person you have become.

Who are you?

Do you like who you are?

Do you like what you do? 

Do you like how you feel?

We’re being forced to slow down. 

America is a country that prides itself on workaholism. We race from one thing to the next, barely stopping to breathe, consumed with entertainment, survival, comfort, and for some, luxuries. We’ve worked hard to get where we are. Now there’s some time to enjoy it. Yes, the coronavirus is threatening our physical and financial health. No doubt that these are troubling times. 

Conversely, we can still fulfill our duties to society while enjoying the time off. You are allowed to be grateful for friends, family, health, a roof over your head, or clean water even when there is suffering.

Pleasure becomes idle when pain is absent.

Many of us get so caught up in work, we forget why we work so hard in the first place. Allow yourself to enjoy the extra time to cultivate relationships with others and yourself. Isn’t that why we fight for our lives?

Depression is a major mental health concern surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Psychologists predict there will be long-term mental health effects due to financial inequality, as well as have adverse effects on children who are in the midst of a world trauma. Staying calm and remembering why life is precious will collectively shrink the stress level, and allow us to be there for our most vulnerable. Just because we can’t physically be together doesn’t mean we can’t be there for each other. 

We’ve been presented a chance to change the course of our lives. Whether it’s in career, home, or self, there’s ample time to reevaluate where we’re headed. I know it can be difficult to think that losing your job can have a silver lining, but repeating the mantra “everything is working for my highest good” will help even if you don’t necessarily believe it.

Mantras move you in directions that benefit you until one day you realize you were right the entire time! What we focus on multiplies, whether positive or negative. We make decisions everyday which we’d like more of. 

We’re being given a chance to reactivate our creativity. With so much time on our hands, many of us are getting to those projects we felt there wasn’t time for previously. Even if you’re not in the mood to be productive, practicing self care in any way is good for the soul.

Be good to yourself.

Revitalize yourself with candle lit baths, home cooked dinners, journaling, family time, and whatever makes you feel good. Getting back to our core selves will indefinitely boost creative energy in the short and long term, as well as keep us mentally stable! 

This is by far not an easy process for anyone. We’re all going through a period of uncertainty leading into the unknown. The only form of control we have is over our own mental health and how we’ll use the time that’s been handed to us. Will we evolve within ourselves, and in turn, as a society?

In all its complicated simplicity, the coronavirus pandemic has sent a message that we might not understand until it’s viewed in hindsight, and there’s a high probability we won’t have this time again. I hope you decide to use yours wisely. 

Recommended crystals:

Aquamarine

Amazonite

Green aventurine

Smoky quartz

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Identity Lies in the Age of Ancestry.com

Identity Lies in the Age of Ancestry.com

One of the most emotional experiences of my life occurred when I received the results of an ancestry.com DNA test. The entirety of my existence, my family lineage, were sent on a tailspin. So many things made sense. Yet feelings of anger, relief, betrayal, and satisfaction ping ponged throughout my body. It’s a turmoil people who know their biology never have to experience.

Identity Crisis

You look in the mirror and see a person, you see yourself, but who are you? It’s an identity crisis that sends many off their natural path. It’s an isolation that chains you to always wondering why security doesn’t grow like it does in others. It’s a root rotting in an outgrown space.

So many of us live our lives this way. Doesn’t matter what we were told by family or how deeply we are loved, that gnawing feeling never goes away. It’s no wonder why DNA tests have become so popular.

Although sex was taboo in our great-grandparents and grandparents day, they sure had a lot of it. And with random people. Husbands and wives cheated. They had children outside of marriages, but no one talked about it. It was swept under the rug, never to be spoken about again. They could take secrets to the grave then. But not anymore.

Our current society is demonstrating how important identity is for a sense of self. Parents in modern society should think twice before trying to conceal an aspect of another’s identity. Families can promote irrevocable damage for lying to children their entire lives. And isn’t that a fair response?

Intuition

It’s not emotionally healthy to lie to a child. The adverse effects of being lied to manifest in very personal ways because we all have an intuitive nature that just knows. There is a bond with people who share the same genetics that isn’t there with someone who isn’t our biological parent.

That’s not to say love isn’t there, but that innate, indescribable knowing is at a miss. It’s better to know why than to live an entire life questioning yourself and the way you feel.

Just to be clear, it is not ok to make decisions about another’s identity in order to save yourself from feeling the consequences of your life choices. Lying does not protect children. It forms an unstable foundation that supports a false reality. One that will most certainly be shattered in the age of technology. The emotional pain that people go through when they realize they’ve been lied to their entire lives by the same people who claimed to love them is like blunt force trauma to the soul.

Adult children are feeling this across the globe. A well-cited woman named St. Clair describes the feeling as “the floor falling out from under her” when she found out her biological father wasn’t her real father. A friend and I discussed the feelings of abandonment felt when a biological parent doesn’t come and “find” us. I noted, however, that many Boomers have trouble navigating computers, so our feelings of abandonment might be self inflicted.

Triggers

Yet these negative feelings are the way our bodies respond regardless of logic. For each trauma we experienced, emotionally or physically, our bodies keep the feelings stored in a memory bank. Each time there’s a perceived trigger, we feel the same sensations we did when the trauma was actually happening.

When my biological father popped up on my DNA match on Ancestry.com, I instantly wrote him a message. At that point I had looked for him on and off for about 9 years and had been on ancestry for 4 of them. After he didn’t respond I felt anger, sadness, betrayal, unworthiness, indifference, and probably a hundred other emotions.

However, I had an intuitive feeling that maybe this Boomer didn’t know how to navigate technology. Whether or not it was true, I held onto that thought until the negative emotions subsided, and I accepted knowing my DNA as good enough.

An entire year went by before I received a message back. Turns out my intuition was right. Although I had all that time to get over it, even though I felt I had released the need to know, the wave of feelings came rushing in all at once. But this time it was met with an unfamiliar sense of closure.

In the following months, I learned a lot about the other half of my genetics. Unknown medical information, unexplained patterns of behavior all in the light. Nature versus nurture is a real thing. The lost puzzle piece was found and I can finally put the gnawing feeling to rest.

Closure

From the perspective of a child growing up in secrets, it is far better to grieve together in honesty than to live a life of falsities. I would rather feel the initial shock with a solid foundation in. honesty than years of aftershock with raw emotions always boiling beneath the surface.

With quick DNA testing sites like 23andme and ancestry.com, life has found a way to bring ancestral secrets to light in order to heal generational trauma. Too many people have walked this earth living a lie. Too many have brought their secrets to the grave, leaving loved ones always guessing. Forcing people to forget. But this is a new age.

At the click of a button we can uncover generation of secrets. We can find the truth of our lives. The only questions is, are you ready to receive it?

Crystals for healing emotional trauma:

Carnelian

Aquamarine

Citrine

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Only Child Syndrome

Only Child Syndrome

“Are you an only child?” Every time I’m asked this question there’s always a feeling of dread that I’ve exposed some negative trait about myself. In my early years, I probably did do something that was selfish or bratty. I was oblivious to how I was perceived, but thinking only of my comfort and convenience was all I ever knew. Through no fault of my own, I am an only child.

As I got older I learned how to interact in close relationships through my friends who looked passed the “only child syndrome” straight into the heart of who I was. These friends became the siblings I never had, my truest, most loyal confidants. We fought, we cried, we got over it, and moved on. I grew as a person because of these friendships. 

It bothers me when people perceive only child-dom as a bad thing. Sure, we’re not used to sharing, and most of us are accustomed to getting what we want. But does our initial brattiness make us bad people? Absolutely not. In fact, there are some very positive traits of only children that are harder to find in people with siblings. 

1. We are fiercely independent.

Why? Because we have to be. Outside of our parents spoiling us, we’ve had to figure out how to navigate through life with our own brains. We didn’t have older siblings to watch and mimic, we didn’t have any sibling to help us do anything. It’s just me, myself, and I. This made us into adults who can figure things out alone. It made us incredibly resourceful, which leads us to:

2. We tend to be more creative.

Being an only child may have been lonely growing up, but it made us much more creative in the long run. We learned to entertain ourselves with our imagination. We learned how to problem solve alone. And our likes and dislikes? There was no copying a brother or sister because that person didn’t exist. So the things we like and do are really all about our secure sense of self. 

3. We are loyal friends. 

What happens when an only child finds a person to develop a strong bond with? That friend has the ability to grow into a pseudo- sister or brother. Since we don’t have siblings, our friends become our family. We cherish these relationships, especially because they don’t exist at home. 

4. Only children are more successful

Studies have repeatedly shown that only children spend more time around adults, developing faster cognitively and emotionally, since their sense of self is clearly defined and not in competition with siblings. Only children don’t have to “fit” into any family dynamic, and are therefore able to develop themselves more fully. We set the bar of achievement, no one else. What can be more empowering than that? 

I can tell you, there are some people I know who grew up with siblings who are far worse for wear than I ever was. They become frantic when something goes wrong, they vie for attention to the point of desperation, and can’t seem to stand on their own two feet to save their life. From an only child’s point of view, that behavior is weird. 

So the next time you come across an only child, don’t assume the worst. We learn how to share, we learn how to admit wrongdoings, we grow, and we cherish your friendship. 

Recommended crystals:

Rose Quartz

Pink Opal

Girasol Quartz

 

 

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