Our battle with COVID-19 is evolving into a marathon, not a sprint. We are all sooner or later going to experience an emotional meltdown. An obvious example of this is the frequent arguing about masks in public places. A less public but extremely common problem is the squabbles that are occurring at home as people get on each other’s nerves. (A recent example for me was when I yelled at my daughter for being too overwrought about fears of COVID.) For some, such as my mother, it’s the loneliness of being at home with no interactions. We want to visit with family and friends, go to church, eat out and celebrate the holidays.
For caregivers, the needs can be much more at the survival level. Caregivers are at home, sometimes caring for both parents and children, many times with worries about money. Supports that caregivers had in the past are far from returning. Most daycare programs are shut down and there are fewer visits to the doctor’s office. Homecare agencies are facing greater demands and staff must be carefully monitored for COVID-19.
This website, Covid19caregiving.com, exists largely to provide emotion support to caregivers. Too often it feels like it’s all on your shoulders. Please be aware that, as a doctor, I can only say that you are truly essential. My role is partly to provide support, partly to connect and partly to share information. You are not alone.
The longer COVID-19 goes on the more we feel like we are on a tightrope, balancing a need to feel normal emotionally while the world around us is topsy turvy and stressful. In a previous post I asked people to notice if they are feeling “SAAD”; having problems with Sleep, Appetite (too little or too much), Anger/anxiety or Drugs/drinking. If you notice any of these, please pay immediate attention to taking care of yourself for at least 10 minutes daily. (see previous post)
Just remember, meltdowns WILL happen as things stretch out. People hit meltdown at different points and sometimes over tiny “last straw” issues. When you or someone else melts down, be kind and remember that having a meltdown in this time of great stress is “normal” and sometimes even helpful to let off steam. However, make sure that your life is not constantly at the boiling point.
Warmest Aloha and stay well,
PS. I’m here to support you. Be connected, stay strong.
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