I was honored to have a chat with one of my clients about the stigmas associated with mental health. Enjoy!
Send Help Now!
All those “peaceful” and “encouraging” posts I wrote last week (words others used to describe my blogs)…I take them back. I was wrong! There is no hope! I am going down in flames! Help me before I die or kill someone! Send wine please!
What has changed, you might ask? My bundle of joy, my 11 year old Jack came home from Spring Break and my 23 yr old has now been home for over a week. So I will share some brief things about my kids. My 23 year old is a chill, easy going, unemotional, steady, man of few words. My 11 year old is a blaze of passion, fire, emotion, energy, intelligence, humor and smart mouthed sarcasm. So you put all 3 of us in 1400 square foot townhouse with 2 bedrooms (Jack and I are sharing a room now) and I will tell you… there have been some fireworks.
For Jack, my youngest, my true extrovert, this time home with no structure is his worst nightmare. And mine too! Since he has been home, there has been countless hours of Fortnite and Tik Tok. He has had jellybeans for breakfast. He may or may not have gone days without a shower. He has had fits of temper in which things have been broken and hit. Every time I have mentioned school work he has yelled at me this is still his spring break and he won’t be doing any school work anytime soon. He loves to push my buttons- he gets great joy in knowing he is driving me crazy. And his favorite pastimes are saying cuss words (I am a terrible parent) and wrestling with/hitting his older brother until someone cries. Good times right?
Then there is my oldest. He has always been one of my favorite people to hang out with. So easy and calm. What could go wrong there? I get 3 questions a day. If i go past that, he gets very prickly and angry. Even though he is a student at the freaking Naval Academy, he still has the amazing ability to trash a room in 3 hours flat. I KNOW they make him make his bed every single day with corners or whatever. Has he made his bed one time? NO! He also seems to think I am a short order cook. They both do. He also seems to possess this special gift to leave dishes, cups, empty beer bottles, toiletries, golf gloves, hats, wallet and keys strewn all over my house. UGH!!
Why am I telling you this? Am I just trying to throw my kids under the bus? That is not my intent. I suspect there is a very good chance that some of you are struggling with whoever it is you are stranded at home with in this “Stay Safer at Home” season. Really Mayor Cooper? Stay safe at home? Well, you clearly haven’t been quarantined with Jack VanOrman and JR Osborn. Because at this rate, they aren’t safe and neither am I.
What I really want you to know is you are not alone. When your kids are driving you crazy…you don’t need to shame yourself for not getting all crafty and Pinterest-y and having the time of your life being their teacher at home. When you are ready to evict your college student who is all of sudden living full-time at home (an altogether unnatural situation) and you want to kick him/her out or at least make them pay rent of all the trouble they are to you, do not feel bad. This is a really hard and unusual season for all of us. We don’t have to be perfectly patient and loving with our kids. We do NOT need to feel shame for perhaps wishing our kids would get the coronavirus and need to quarantine for 14 days by themselves where we leave their meals outside their doors but don’t have to talk to them.
Our problem is often not what we feel- it is how we shame ourselves for what we are feeling. That is why I am sharing all of this with you. A really mature, wise, reasonable, and some might even call healthy woman is about to lose her freaking mind. And I only have 2 of them. Some of y’all really lost your ever loving mind and had more than that- God rest your soul. So you are not alone! And our kids don’t have to have the perfect diet, perfect hygiene or read 10 hours a day. We are all doing the best we can here. Be kind and gracious to yourself.
So if you come looking for me, and you don’t find me, I could be taking up residence in a Caribbean hut under the name of Susie McQueen. I will have red hair, sleep till noon every day, never clean my house, never cook and never take care of another living thing in my life- not even a cat. All I want to say is “This Mom Out” !!! The younger people have overthrown my rule and I have abdicated to a warmer climate. Best wishes, savages!!
We are 5 days max into this new way of life. Five days.
It’s an odd time.
I’ve been in my office this week with clients for the first time since this world changed alongside the new realities of coronavirus. Realities like – schools closed, people working from home, restaurants limited to take-out, bars empty, weddings and funerals postponed, sheltering in place, spring sports canceled, rush hour traffic ceased. A new term – social distancing – arises. Talking with my clients always helps me find a pulse for what is happening in people’s minds, hearts, and the world. As a result, I don’t have one, longer topical post; instead, several thoughts surface after my week with all of you.
- We are 5 days into this new way of life. Five days. No one is supposed to be an expert on anything after 5 days. We’re all new here. If you had no idea how to run a marathon and you gave yourself 5 days to learn, how good could you be at running that marathon in five days? Not very. Yet, I am seeing it again and again. We expect ourselves and our loved ones to be adept and proficient at living in this ever changing world and within these social norms NOW. It is not possible. Give yourself a break. Give your loved ones a break.
- People are struggling. This presents issues for families, for marriages, for finances, for small business owners, for folks who love someone who is at risk, for those who are quarantined with family members who are not emotionally or physically safe, for those who depend upon 12 step sobriety meetings – gatherings that that can no longer meet. There are those with anxiety, and it’s heavy. It bears weight. Perhaps you think I am being negative or not trusting in God. This is not my intent. I am trying to normalize an abnormality for many people, who are having a lot of big feelings about a lot of big changes.
- We are shell shocked. I don’t think I – or anyone I have seen – is fully processing all this means to each of us. This week introduced mind-spinning changes to our daily lives in an incredibly short span of time. Each time I conclude a session, I’m afraid to look at my phone, because of what may have changed in our world during the hour I was unavailable. When we think about how much has changed in each 24 hour increment, no wonder we cannot fully process. I think it is going to take many more weeks even to begin to muster an idea of this new reality, and just as importantly – how we feel about it. So be kind. Be gentle. Be ever patient with yourselves and with others.
- As I am watching the news and sitting with people in my office, I have never been more struck by the ability of humans to love. I’m seeing human kindness on a level that is as unprecedented as these changes to our daily lives. This kindness is the ray of hope in the midst of so much loss and fear. One of my clients who is a small business retail owner, understandably fearful of what this virus means for her business, shared with me that in one day customers bought $6500 worth of gift cards to use later in her store. We can’t change the reality for our world right now. But each one of us can reach out and be kind to someone else and it can bring me to tears, and I can tell the story, it can touch others’ hearts, and then others can commit an act of kindness and IT CAN BRING HOPE TO THE WORLD!! We all need hope now.