2020 & The New Normal
COVID-19 has tossed my brain into overdrive this year. Saying that 2020 hasn’t been anything like what I had planned would be a huge understatement...but life has a funny way of doing that sometimes.
I run a community mental health center in a rural area of the state and am very passionate about the work I do! Like most, our organization has its fair share of opportunities and challenges. Especially in the smaller communities that we serve, where mental health can sometimes be viewed as more of an inconvenience than a normal (and important) part of being human that everyone experiences in different ways.
At Crossroads, some of our biggest challenges are related to destigmatizing mental health conditions and helping people understand that it is okay to ask for help. Odds are, everyone will have points in their life when they don’t feel okay and need to ask for help. While some are brave enough to recognize this and reach out for help, others feel ashamed or are in a situation where they are unable to do so. It is my hope that one day a trip to your local community mental health center will be as normal as it is to see your primary care physician for a physical. We check our physical health yearly but neglect our mental health, which ultimately affects our long-term physical health according to research.
We have been having a baby-boom at Crossroads, which has been exciting! Those who recently had babies during COVID-19 experienced the fear of the unknown—fear of what could happen during delivery, fear of what would happen if they or a spouse were to test positive, fear of family visitors not being allowed to visit them in the hospital, and so on. Due to the circumstances, they had every right to be worried but those factors were out of their control. Thankfully, they all persevered through the uncertainty and delivered beautiful babies into the world. Blessings in a time of fear and unpredictability.
Moral of the story: it is okay for us to admit if we are anxious, fearful, and exhausted during these uncertain times. COVID-19 has brought additional stressors upon everyone’s lives in different ways. Some people have experienced isolation, loneliness, or been stuck at home with their abuser. Other people have experienced the opposite—they have been able to enjoy the extra time that they have been given by slowing down a little, spending extra time with family, and realizing what is truly important in life. If you are one of the lucky ones, please do not take your blessings for granted. Even if you are not experiencing the effects of COVID-19 in your own life or it is not apparent in your community, please understand and empathize with the fact that there are still people out in the world who are still suffering, passing away, or grieving loved ones due to the virus.
Everyone is starting to accept that there is going to be a “new normal” for the foreseeable future, maybe even for the rest of 2020. I want to encourage those who have experienced grief, fear, isolation, loneliness, abuse, etc. to reach out and ask for help. Let Crossroads help you shape what your new normal will look like. And remember—sometimes the hardest, most challenging years are the years that will truly shape and guide the person you become.