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We are about a month into our stay-at-home, social distancing, quarantine, “new normal” lifestyles and I wanted to take a minute to write about mental health in times like these.  I am certainly far from a mental health expert.  I myself have overall pretty good mental health.  In fact, my wife often envies my ability to “shut my brain” down at night and sleep without the racing flight of ideas and worries floating through the mind.  I recall before my son was born over 5 years ago I did have some mild panic attacks, as I was worried about how the heck to take care of a baby.  Other than that and some regular stressors of life, I have been blessed.  However, this Coronavirus is a whole new beast.  I’m definitely a little more on edge and have noticed more anxiety and general emotion coming out. (For example, as a super-fan of CBS’s Survivor series the family-visits episodes always get me a little teary eyed…but this season’s episode out of nowhere had me with tears rolling down my face.  I truly think the extra love I have for my family and kiddos at this time is the reason.)

Is anyone out there not more anxious than normal?!?  There are just endless new things to worry about on top of what was present before, am I right?  We wonder out loud or to ourselves, “Am I doing a good job with this home schooling stuff?  How much screen time is too much? Why don’t my children listen to me… do they behave like this at day care or school? How many times do I need to clean the counters and door handles today? We could use some fresh fruit, should I ‘risk’ a trip to the supermarket?  Do these grocery bags have Corona on them?  Is that sneeze I just had from the pollen or am I sick?”  There is that and then there are more serious worries like finances and businesses and job security.  

Then there are the most serious worries about the Coronavirus.  While we have, so far, been blessed to have a fraction of what our friends and loved ones in New York are experiencing, it doesn’t necessarily lessen our fears.  Many of you, like me, cannot work from home.  We fear getting this infection.  We fear giving it to our loved ones.  Can we forgive ourselves if our children get very sick because of us?  These are real thoughts that we think about during this “new normal”.  And while overall the risk to us and our families are low, it is still anxiety provoking. It’s OK to feel that way.  Be sure not to internalize everything.  Speak to a loved one about it.  Call one of us if you want some help with it.

I want you all to know it’s OK to be anxious.  This pandemic will not go on indefinitely.  The world is starting to turn the corner to be on offense with this terrible thing.  We all should continue social distances and wearing masks in public places. This reduces spread.  Cases will eventually level off then start to decline.  Restrictions will be reduced.  I really believe this.

Lastly, I wanted to share a quote from a doctor that I heard on a talk radio show I listen to.  To me, it was the kind of optimism I needed to hear from someone more informed about Coronavirus than me.  “I have faith is science,” he said. “I have faith in medicines that are being developed now.  I have faith that we will have a vaccine, and I have faith in all of us that we are going to do the right thing and get to where we need to be.  I am optimistic, I really am.”

Thanks for being a part of the Kamm McKenzie family.  We appreciate you all.  Let us know how we can help you.

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