Mental Health in a Pandemic

Hi all you beautiful wonderful people!

I guess it’s been a hot little minute since I tried to scrape together a real mental health post. Probably because I haven’t been in the mood to share. It’s been survival central at our house lately, which can be super rough at times, but I also totally recognize the need to share the bad along with the good. Especially right now when everyone’s mental state is more fragile because hello! We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Nobody’s brain is really wired to know how to handle this! And that should be totally okay.

My dear husband has been home for two weeks now and we don’t really know when he’ll be going back. Hopefully it’ll be around the end of April/beginning of May but we have no idea since the virus is just now starting to really hit our area. We are very blessed that he was able to be furloughed and that we were in a good enough position to handle less or no pay for a while – it just depends on how long everything lasts. So very many people are in a much worse position right now and this is something that is going to cause them to struggle for a long time after its over.

Although we don’t have a shelter-in-place order out in our area, we are being told to wear masks when we go out, follow all the social distancing procedures, etc, etc. The only socializing we’re still doing is going to visit my parents. We’re staying home, cleaning anything we touch when we do have to leave the house, and trying not to let the stress consume us (we’re not great at that).

I’m having a much harder time with this than I thought I would. It’s not like I was always out running around and doing things, but being trapped in my own home has started to feel a bit claustrophobic and the panic attacks are increasing. The rain that has also been keeping us indoors is NOT helping. I’m trying so hard to follow all the protocols so I don’t unnecessarily risk my daughter’s health, but I’m also starting to understand why people can go clinically insane. It’s so many bizarre feelings in one.

One of the things I’ve done in the last week is to limit my use of social media, especially Facebook. I actually deleted the Facebook app completely off my phone yesterday – the news, negativity, arguing, etc. was a huge catalyst for my anxiety and I didn’t need that anymore. I still open Instagram a few times a day, but my feed is more curated and as a result, FAR more positive. I need the fun photos of babies and horses and baby horses and nature. Things that lift my spirits, not raise my tension. Social media is a dark hole anyways, so use it for good things, not negativity.

Apart from the stupid RAIN lately, we do try to still get outside. Our local trails are still open and everyone so far has been great about keeping distance between when passing, and the fresh air is absolutely amazing. It’s spring, it’s the perfect time to be outside anyways. If our ground ever dries up a little more, I want to start spending more time playing with the Tiny Princess in the yard.

Everyone is always going to deal with this kind of chaos in a different way, and I think we’re still trying to find our way. Since both of us deal with some form of anxiety and since both of us are finding this extra stressful, it’s been a struggle to figure out how to work together to still curate the same calm, consistent environment for our little girl. Talking things through is the only way to properly figure things out, but we’re both home 24/7 now so we only have time to talk, right?

This week we’re working on sleep training the munchkin, since she’ll be graduating to her own room pretty soon. I’m excited to get my bed and some of my space back again, but it’s so bittersweet because she’s growing up and I already miss my tiny snuggly baby. Life is always moving forward, but it’s usually going too fast for my liking.

There are so many creative ways that people are dealing with quarantine and being kind to so many people through this chaotic time. I truly believe that the Earth has been searching for a way to heal just like so many of us search for ways to heal invisible wounds. A pandemic may not be the best way for it to happen, but it has brought people together in so many ways, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. One day when this is all over, maybe some of that healing will remain.

Love, healing light, and overwhelming kindness,

~Katharine Marie

Posted by Katharine Espinosa

Katharine is a freelance writer, editor, and aspiring author. She loves coffee, chocolate, cats, and riding her horses on the weekends. She lives in rural Texas with her husband and daughter.

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