This lovely blog post was written by Joan M Silver, LMFT.
“I was in Fry’s this morning (still no toilet paper) and felt like I was in another realm of reality. The bewilderment and determination on everyone’s face along with the shared understanding glances was something I have never experienced in my lifetime. Whatever you are feeling is “NORMAL” Together we will get through this. “
WHAT TO EXPECT: TYPICAL REACTIONS
- Your own health Status
- The health status of others whom you may have exposed to the disease
- The resentment that your friends and family may feel if they need to go into quarantine as a result of contact with you.
- The experience of monitoring yourself, or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of the disease.
- Time taken off work and the potential loss of income and job security.
- The challenges of securing things you need, such as groceries and personal care items.
- Concern about being able to effectively care for children or others in your care.
- Uncertainty or frustration about how long you will need to remain in this situation, and uncertainty about the future.
- Loneliness associated with feeling cut off from the world and from loved ones.
- Anger if you think you were exposed to the disease because of others’ negligence
- Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to work or engage in regular day-to-day activities.
- Uncertainty or ambivalence about the situation
- A desire to use alcohol or drugs to cope
- Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping too little or too much
- Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive distressing memories, flashbacks (reliving the event), nightmares, changes in thoughts and mood, and being easily startled.
UNDERSTAND THE RISK
Consider the real risk of harm to yourself and others around you. The public perception of risk during a situation such as an infectious disease outbreak is often inaccurate.
Media coverage may create the impression that people are in immediate danger when really the risk for infection may be very low. Take steps to get the facts:
· Stay up to date on what is happening, while limiting your media exposure. Avoid watching or listening to news reports 24/7 since this tends to increase anxiety and worry.
Remember that children are especially affected by what they hear and see on television.
· Look to credible sources for information on the infectious disease outbreak.
USE PRACTICAL WAYS TO COPE AND RELAX
· Relax your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or pray, or engage in activities you enjoy.
· Pace yourself between stressful activities, and do something fun after a hard task.
· Talk about your experiences and feelings to loved ones and friends, if you find it helpful.
· Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking; consider keeping a journal where you write down things you are grateful for or that are going well.
About the author:
Joan has been a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners since 2005 and moved to Southern Arizona from California in 2018. She provides counseling to individuals (14+), couples, and families who want to improve their daily life. Many times our “personal” experiences (the stories/beliefs/traumas) have resulted in behaviors that may not be working in our favor today. We get triggered by the words and actions of others and often react in ways that are not healthy for either us or others. It is imperative that we become aware of those past hurts that are holding us back from living the life we want. Her treatment focus is to help her clients learn to tap into their own assets, listen to their inner voice, and make choices that will assist them in communicating and connecting in an open and non-judgmental manner.