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The Beacon

Mental health during stressful times…like a pandemic

April 3, 2020
Mental health during stressful times…like a pandemic

From VJLAP’s Deputy Clinical Director: I have become more reflective during this time in 2020, the midst of a pandemic. Which, to be honest, I minimized at the onset…but not now. For the past few nights, I have not been able to sleep and have been experiencing bouts of anxiety, often unable to go back to sleep. So when this happens, I need to lean into the fear and uncertainty that we all experience. I find myself feeling overwhelmed with the news and waking up to a death toll unnerves me.

And then it showed up… gratitude.

I have been sober 21 years and am eternally grateful, but that requires work and action. I realized I was not taking action regarding my anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, my mental health. I can manage these feelings by taking action. I have talked about my feelings with my close family and friends and my sponsor and have listened to others as well. I cooked a meal for a good friend who had surgery and has not been able to drive, dropped it off (adhering to social distance!), and had a conversation with him. The first thing he said to me: “it is so good to see another face besides mine.” And, I felt the same. I have spent less time on social media and more time outside, enjoying things that apparently I took for granted in the past (I call this PP, prior pandemic). My gratitude has deepened, not only for my sobriety, but for my family, friends, work family, and just plain being on this side of the grass. As an alcoholic, I did not even plan to live this long.

Support each other, accept each other, and support and accept yourself. Gratitude is a state of mind, but my mental health is one that I will not sacrifice for anything…even a pandemic.

VJLAP is here for you no matter what; we are not alone and were never meant to be. Recovery is about connection and, in this time of 2020, there are so many ways to connect.

– Barbara Mardigian

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