How to handle today’s world and not go crazy

I started writing tonight at 8pm. It isn’t that great of a start, yet it is better than 9pm. ‘Tis now 8:30 since I started watching YouTube about Skara Brae and the Vatican City. I can’t visit these places so I may as well watch them.

Welcome to July. I’m wondering what 2020 shall bring. Some may say not to say that and jinx us. Though who are we kidding? Hast thou saw the past six months? I don’t know about you but I’m rooting for aliens this month to introduce themselves. Lol. I miss the X-Files.

I haven’t written in a while because I have been taking in all that has been happening in the last few months. Hence much hath befell since mid-March and ’tis only the beginning of July. I can go into the what’s-been-happening, but I feel that it’s been beaten down our throats so much. Not that it is an ill thing. Much of what is going on, and the repercussions, need to be beaten into people. Repeatedly. For anything resembling change to happen. I really should not have to mention that we all need to, as Rodney King put it: “get along.” Just being a kind, a considerate human being isn’t hard.

That goes across to CoVid19. As someone with a phobia of masks, I warrant that you won’t die, you won’t run out of oxygen, and in the case of a panic attack.. take off the mask and lie down with your legs raised. If you can’t do this, sit with your head lowered between your knees. Drink some water. Eat something. Take some deep breaths. For the love of all that is holy: Take care of yourself! Really, we need to start taking care of our community and not just ourselves. Think of your family, your elders, your dear friends who may be immune-compromised. Wear the mask, stay six feet apart. You can do it. I promise. You will be ok.

No, this isn’t going to be about what we know already. I can’t mentally deal with talking much about it. I can talk about the psychology of this all and how it affects us. Cause the mind is such a big field of understanding and I hast a glutton for punishment in trying to understand the mind. I fear that this post will be too long. Maybe this will therapeutic for me? Oh, well, here we go:

The thing about 2020 is that it will be associated with any other disaster or trauma in the future. It will forever be a meme. In a way, this is a coping mechanism. Things are just so bad or wrong that we have to laugh at it. Many therapists and psychiatrists who listen to their clients have what is known as vicarious trauma. It’s much like an emotional residue from listening to others’ traumas. Which is why many therapists have therapists to talk to. No matter how much you know about dealing with traumas, it’s still hard to process.

Our primal brain is about survival. As we have evolved our brain has become an association machine. Our brains make connections between situations and emotions. Much how my friend, PTSD, we instinctively react to common situations and place an emotion with that situation.

Everything we are seeing through social media, media, and around us outside has to lead many to experience vicarious trauma. With everything that we feel we can do to make things right. Reading everyone’s story, listening to their situations, watching their struggles, and triumphs. We have come to experience compassion fatigue. It is a real thing. When the problems seem so big, this compassion fatigue is greater.

This is more common with health care workers. The more they care, the more they begin to feel this lack of empathy. Then they feel guilty. This is all ok. It’s ok to feel this way. (and why do I feel that I’m lacking in my English-speaking abilities tonight?)

This compassion fatigue is when we need to stop, take a step back, and take care of ourselves. It’s important to think of ourselves once in a while. To care you need to first take care of yourself within. Or else you will just be empty. Believing that you can stop and talk to someone about your feelings without feeling judged is a crucial thing. One has friends, but in this case, you need a peer. Peers that you work with that can understand what you are going through. Friends can empathize; peers can understand. For those of us feeling this from the media, we need someone like a therapist or mentor. Mentors point you in the right direction, so they can help direct us out of this fatigue. Though really, focus on yourself. Start a hobby, start a self-care routine. Write thy thoughts down, speak to a therapist, be kind to yourself.

As we stayed home and many of us thought we could tackle all those things we have been longing to tackle. If only we had the time to tackle all these things. When really we always had the time, we just didn’t want to do them but didn’t want to admit that to ourselves cause well, we just don’t like being honest with ourselves. I think out of everyone, we lie to ourself the most.

Yet now! We have this time on our hands. Lots and lots of time. We thought this quarantine wouldn’t be that long. We didn’t think it was serious. Time went on and somehow we now feel stuck. We lost our motivation. Motivation is a use it or lose it thing. It’s also built on routine, which we had lost with this coronavirus. So we need to get a routine going again so we can get our motivation back.

Seriously, create a routine. A schedule. I don’t care if your planner is empty and you are bitching at yourself for wasting those dollars on an unused planner that you have nothing to fill it in with. It should be easier now that most of us are back at work. Create a routine. Separate your work and personal life. Really. They can’t co-mingle. They are two different people that don’t give a crap to get along. Put the phone down, get off your computer, open the door, and step outside.

“Exploring the internet is a thrilling experience. During your time here you will be able to talk, join and adventure with many other individuals with an experience that is unique to online presense. That being said, we have no desire to see your real life suffer as a consequence. Don’t forget your family, your friends, your school, or your work”

If you can tell me where I got that from, you get a cookie. 🙂

Connect with others. Learn to relax. Meditate. Compose time for yourself. Set goals. If you want to tackle those things that you now have time for you can time block those activities into your planner. Don’t tackle it all at once. It shall only cause you to lose focus and believe the project is too big to take on.

Lastly, how do we help others when we feel that we can’t possibly do anything more to help? Sometimes the best thing to do is to listen and be there. Most often a person just wants someone to hear them rather than try to solve all their problems or concerns.

We listen and reflect back to clarify what the person is saying. When you repeat; you not only show you understand but you can overcome barriers in understanding. Hence we can comprehend what the person is talking about. Then we need to ask them how they feel, what the situation is like for them, how they are experiencing this, what is going on with their body and mind when they are describing the situation or trauma.

Many can’t describe or understand how they feel so it helps to have them think about it. Putting words with emotions is one of the hardest things to do. Then we need to validate that what they are going through and feeling make sense. This isn’t supporting or approving of someone’s behavior or feelings. This is saying that you understand the emotion behind the action. Validations show that emotions are real, whether they make sense to you or not. It makes sense to the person who is talking to you, so it helps to find a way to understand why they are feeling a certain way or what they are going through.

Then we need to understand the ambivalence: the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas. A person wants to make a change (a bad habit or overcome trauma) but at the same time, it is hard because of important reasons (past reactions from others, addictions, etc.). Jumping in with advice..have you tried this and that.. doesn’t work because you haven’t understood the ambivalence behind it that makes the change hard.

Why is this person torn with this change? Ask how a habit or change is helping them, why they like it, or don’t like it. What are the emotional connections to this trauma or habit? The person may be coping from stress or connecting to others. Then ask how ready they are to make a change. Then ask what makes it 0 or 5 or 10 and where they were a month ago on this scale.

Understanding the details behind their want for change or overcoming something is where the change can actually start. Then you can see if that person is ready or they just want to talk and have someone listen to them. Nonjudgementally.

So, this is my take on the psychological effects of our current situation and how to deal with them. In a way, this is a note to me on how to deal with my own anxieties without my bipolar/OCD self getting out of control. Thank you for listening to my Ted talk. ‘Tis getting most late and I must reintroduce myself to my pillow. Keep safe out there. Stay healthy, take care of yourself. And be kind to our common folks.