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Stumbling After the Pandemic

Be Mindful of Mental Health Perils at the Finish Line

Written by guest blogger, husband, and parent Peter Galligan https://www.contena.co/profiles/petergalligan for more articles written by Peter

June 22, 2021

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

[Please note, this article is not intended as individual medical advice]

Kelly Obsourne recently disclosed that she had a relapse after four years of sobriety from alcohol. Kelly remarked, on the podcast Armchair Expert, that she had made it through the pandemic with her sobriety intact, but slipped up afterwards. I hear similar comments frequently now. We can all relate — getting back into the swing of things in our social lives will come with some unpleasant experiences and mental health challenges to confront. But, it may be those who appear to have adapted best to the pandemic who will be most at risk for some rebound effects.

We are dealing with trauma on a global scale, one that affected all of our behaviors and relationships. In 2020, we displayed our resiliency to power through the collision of work and school, our close social support systems drying up, and our futures uncertain. Now, as we return to the office, backyard cookouts and birthday parties, perhaps armed with unresolved resentments, we may find our mental health wasn’t as strong as we thought it would be. Just as we are allowed to do the things we’ve been aching to do again, the activities that bring joy to our lives, we find ourselves struggling with depression, unable to extract any pleasure from our once fulfilling hobbies. Our work at home may leave us lonely, but returning to the office and the commute may seem a daunting undertaking.

For many of us, as we can return to self-care routines, the quarantine fog will lift and joy will return. The patterns will be varied, though. The nature of trauma is in its unpredictability. We can’t command when we’ll need help in our lives. It arrives when it arrives.

Thankfully, there is help, and there is no reason that this process of getting back to good vibes needs to take longer than necessary. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, now is the time to reach out to a mental health counselor. Establishing a therapeutic relationship early the course of problems can help support you as you re-engage in meaningful activities in your life.

Don’t know where to begin searching for a therapist? 

Checking for in-network providers on your medical insurance’s website is a good start. Psychology Today provides a Find a Therapist tool with a large number of listings. And your primary care provider can also make an appropriate referral.  

Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness runs a crisis HelpLine Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., ET. 

1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

We’ve been living a marathon. We can be forgiven if, even after the finish line, we still collapse. Please don’t try to tough it out alone if things don’t improve soon. Talk to someone.

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