Gosh. Skimming the media comes up with news about the pandemic – both good and bad – and the occasional story to lift our spirits. It’s so strange, isn’t it?
Content note: Discussion of mental health
From what I can tell, people are having an unpredictable mix of okay and bad days. Others are lucky enough not to be feeling too personally affected, and they are able to find more silver linings as the weeks roll out. But generally? Generally a LOT of people are having a very, very challenging time which is affecting their physical and mental health.
I really hate it that people are suffering and feeling scared and unsupported, especially when those people might find it hard to put their hand up and ask for help.
So I just wanted to check in really, and ask how you were going …
If you’re in Australia and feeling like some mental health support would be useful, but have not seen a therapist before (or your mental health plan has lapsed) you can now talk to a GP from home via Telehealth consult (over the phone or video link) to sort out a mental health plan and get a referral to a mental health specialist. There has been a funding boost which means much of this can be bulk billed. If you chat to your doctor, they can steer you in the right direction and find the most economical way for you to access treatment. You could also email your GP to start this important conversation if you feel unable to talk on the phone at first.
When I first went to my GP (who I had not been to in YEARS!) to get mental health support, I was so sad I could not even talk. I had written down a list of my health concerns and between sobs and gulps we went through them and she helped me to assess where I was at and what could be done to help me. It was very hard for me to do this, but it was the best thing I ever did because I was severely depressed and anxious. So know that!
I’ve written much, much more about this visit in my book When Life Is Not Peachy and also about seeing a psychologist for the first time, in case that might be helpful to you or someone you know right now. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below about this.
I’m feeling … okay at the moment. Very unsettled, worried and very much missing my job. But as I said yesterday I’m trying really, really hard to keep active and busy. I know that there is a lot of chatter about NOT worrying about being productive and about just BE-ing, but for someone like me that’s just not an option. I need to feel that I’m being useful, that I’m achieving something, that I’m pushing myself forward and that I have some control.
If I don’t do those busy things I know that I will lapse into mental ill health and that is the last place I want to be right now.
But enough about me right now. What about you? What are you up to? How are you managing?
Perhaps you have no choice but to be productive – you might be working and/or overseeing kids’ remote learning? Or just pushing on to maintain your own health? Or perhaps you are taking this time to slow things down and do very little? You might be managing loss or your own health this way … or you might be enjoying quiet days. Or maybe you’re swinging wildly between a bunch of these things? Or something else altogether. I’d love to know.
Good to talk about these hard days, I think.
PS: There’s also this Australian government portal which aims to connect people to mental health support and resources.
If you need extra support right now, or someone to talk to right now the following mental health lines can help:
Australia – Lifeline – 13 11 14
NZ – Lifeline – 0800 543 354
UK – Samaritans – 08457 909 090
US – Lifeline – 1800 273 8255
Canada – 1866 277 3553 (outside Montreal) or 514 723 4000 (Montreal)