Together – let’s not let the Corona Virus take us down

It would not be true to let anyone believe that just because I am psychotherapist I have mastered fear and anxiety in all situations. Like many, I am feeling an under current of anxiety, as the world around me feels more unstable than I have ever known it as an adult and ghosts from the past emerge reminding me of how far I have come and that I still have a way to go. It feels as if it is one of those moments in life when we are all called to look inside and dig deep. I am being challenged to take stock and look to see whether the words I speak so easily to others can land on me in the way I hope they do with my clients.

I have always believed that effective psychotherapy works because the therapist continues to grow as a person and I know that this period of time will see me grow in ways I have yet to comprehend.  As part of me struggles to come to grips with what has seemingly knocked us all sideways in one way or another, I need to remember that we can’t ever tell exactly what will happen to us and nor should we try.The reality is that a great part of our lives lies in the hands of the unknown and that is deeply uncomfortable for most. Today, things are changing moment to moment and uncertainty fills the air and although spring feels as if it is just around the corner, there is an eerie feeling of waiting and not quite sure what the waiting is for. A starting point for myself is a commitment to staying positive, reminding myself that I have control over how I plan to react, feel, think and believe in the present and that no one guides the tone of my life, except me.

The rapid spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has sparked alarm worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising people to be prepared for disruptions to daily life that will be necessary as the coronavirus spreads within communities. We need to stop to consider how fear not only weakens our immune system, but it can also create an unhealthy disregard for those around us. Images of people stockpiling toilet paper and empty shelves in supermarkets do nothing to comfort those of us who find the unknown terrifying. Fear and anxiety are powerful immunity suppressors and so I am working on getting as healthy as possible both physically and mentally so that in the unfortunate instance I catch something, I am strongly positioned to keep symptoms at a minimum and fight it with greater speed and ease. 

Victor Frankl wrote in his book, Man’s Search For Meaning “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” I am heartened to see communities coming together to take care of those who are most challenged at this time. Now is not the time to back off our older population, who need our love and support more than ever. Along with those that live alone and who are, perhaps, already feeling isolated and lonely with no one to share their fear and anxiety with on a day to day basis. It is easy to forget when you have the noise of loved ones around just how deafening the silence can be when you live alone. 

I would say be mindful of what you read. While no one source of information is perfect, some are undeniably better than others. Look for sites that rely on experts who use well accepted scientific analyses and publish their results in reputable medical journals. The CDC and the WHO, have a mission to inform and protect the public, with the WHO recently having added a myth busters page to its information to try and dispel some of the rumours that are circulating. 

I am rediscovering the art of knowing when and how to stop thinking, which helps me from fostering panic at a time when a cool mind and warm heart is needed to support my clients. With regards to my practise I am still operating and will continue to do so. For those who feel more comfortable I am happy to do remote sessions on FaceTime or Zoom. It is at times like these we need to reach other and be creative in how we do this.  Words like Self isolation and social distancing can make each of us feel very alone and it is in those lonely moments that we must remember that along the path of darkness there is always light waiting to be seen. As we face the next few months, let us be the light that shines on the paths of those around us that are struggling.  

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