From One Therapist to Another: The Covid Coaster
Wow what a ride. I don't know about you, but coping with Covid-19 has been like a roller coaster. Lots of painfully slow uphill climbing often followed by harrowing drops just to be followed by another tedious climb. Are we coasting to the end yet? Even that question brings confusion and stress ... and an interesting question. Dftero Awant to go back to normal or create something new? And as with real roller coasters, some people cope with the ride better than others. Some are able to get a thrill from the unexpected, some tolerate it well, and others actually hate it.
I started this process being very late to understanding the seriousness of the problem. It wasn't until I drove 40 minutes to borrow toilet paper from my parents, that I realized something huge was happening. I was creeping very slowly up that first hill. Then the drop took me by surprise. Personally, I have two high risk individuals living in my home, my 20 year old son with a lung condition and my husband with asthma. We quickly caught up to the distress others had been feeling and then began to be among the most cautious of my friends regarding shelter in place.
Additionally, we all started having to learn how to work from home. Teletherapy is stressful even in pajama pants! Well, I haven't actually worn pajama pants but I have worn yoga pants in my bedroom with my bed unmade. Somehow feeling like my client was going to see my room even though the camera was pointed away from the bed. But though I've lost a very important aspect of the counseling experience, there have been moments that happened that wouldn't have been possible in my office. In one session, my client's partner stuck her head in to say hi. It was a lovely moment. My husband talks about doing a session with a child and finding out that his client has a cat with the same name as ours and a dog that looks exactly like our dog. He pulled out a picture of our dog and held it to the camera. This was a special moment of bonding that wouldn't have occurred in the office.
Will I be glad to get back to the office to see people in person? You bet, but I want to see as many positives as possible in the meantime. I know of one person who experiences chronic pain and often misses sessions on bad days. Teletherapy may now be a more viable option for people like her. We have and are enduring a terrible storm, but as with all storms, there are silver linings for most of us.
There have also been other unexpected silver linings for me as I've had more time to write and do other things that have been on a pile for ages. I've learned how to record webinars and reinstated family game night on Fridays. As I wrote in my last post, I feel like i've been given a unique opportunity to pause from all things that I had considered normal. I wouldn't want a pause to come about this way, with so many people suffering, but I do want to learn what i can during this time. I'm not sure I want to get back to normal entirely.I want to really use the pause. I want to think about things that I've learned about myself and my life, clarify my values and priorities and mindfully build a new normal.
I would love to hear from you about what has helped you cope and what aspects of this pause you will take with you into your new normal. Blessings to all for peace and health.