Hi. My name is Staci and I’m a self professed homebody. I truly enjoy being at home and other than work, a weekly trip to the grocery store and church, I prefer to be at the house. That’s not to say I’m a recluse, because I do actually socialize and go places, but once I’m at home, that’s where I wanna stay.
Unless... wait for it.... I’m told I HAVE to stay at home.
Then I want to go everywhere ALL AT ONCE. At this point, I feel like I’m somewhere between being grounded and an unwilling guest at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
Who’s with me?
Probably most of you. I did some research and discovered that 1 in 4 Americans live with a mental illness. That’s approximately 46 million people. Now, let’s get one thing straight - there is no shame in being one of them. I’m one of them, so welcome to the tea party. I’m not going to list each ICD 9 code. Instead, I’m going to make a short and sweet statement about two of them.
1. Anxiety ain’t no joke. Introduce a pandemic caused by a virus that not much is known about, tell folks the odds of getting it are, well, pretty much 100%, and some will start getting nervous. Then tell a large number of them that they are also going to lose their income for the foreseeable future and people who have never suffered from anxiety in their life are probably going to start feeling the pressure. Y’all don’t have to raise your hands.
2. Depression is dark. And whether it is situational or a chemical imbalance, it can be debilitating. The future tends to look bleak to those who have dealt with the Big D, so hearing daily, if not hourly, how bleak things are looking, does not bode well.
I’m not making light of either, because I have experienced both. Most of us have, whether we admit it or not. I have an ongoing battle with anxiety. Sometimes I choose to take medication and sometimes I work through it on my own. In the past I’ve taken medication for depression, because, well, sometimes life gets tough. There is NO shame in either. It is what it is. I also have a bum hip, bad back and angry discs in my neck for which I take Aleve.
Why am I making a random post about mental illness in the middle of my tea party? Because I don’t have a bike to ride and I have no desire to have my dog drag me around the block, and if I’m feeling like this, so is someone else. Where we’ve found ourselves right now is unchartered, unprecedented and uncertain and it’s a precarious trifecta for those living with mental illnesses. And sometimes, being alone is the absolute WORST thing. Social distancing is true alienation. Yes, it’s necessary and wise, but that doesn’t mean it is a cake walk for any of us.
Everyone handles stress and anxiety differently. Some are true oaks and are not bothered by anything. They can work through it alone and come out on the other side just fine. But some can’t. They aren’t “faithless” and would prefer to not be affected by things they can’t control. Some people have sunshine coming out of their hiney 24/7 (you know who you are) and nothing gets them down. They are perfectly content to be alone or with a dozen people. Life is great either way. Others have to fight to stay up. For some, solitude is painful and social interaction is key to them being “ok”. We are all wired differently and our complexities are part of who we are and what makes us, us.
While I’m at it, and because it’s part of Hagen’s story, mental illness is a contributing factor in SUD. His recovery doesn’t look like the recovery of millions that have overcome SUD that depend on one another and being together to maintain what they’ve fought so hard for. The recovery walk by and large is a communal walk and social distancing doesn’t allow that. I just want to add here that the communal walk is how we are all called to live. Don’t believe me? Read Acts. #recoveryworks
We all, in one way or another, depend on social interaction with others that understand us to stay healthy. Social interaction doesn’t necessarily mean party time. Just being able to hug a person in need of one can make all the difference in the world.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” That’s some good stuff, right there. Real stuff. Biblical stuff even (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
So, while we’re grounded, let’s make an attempt to stay social within the limitations we’ve been given. I dare say there isn’t one of us that didn’t find a way to get around the “no friends can come over this weekend and you better stay off the phone” order that we received as kids. Some of us probably received it more than others. 🙋🏻♀️
Check on one another.
Reach out if you’re starting to feel the weight of what the world has placed on you.
Don’t suffer in silence.
If you are struggling, reach out to me. I, along with plenty of others will gladly listen.
This will all pass, hopefully sooner than predicted, and when it does we can all go back to our normals. Until then, let’s make an effort to make the most of the current normal we have as truly unwilling guests at the same bizarre tea party. We are most definitely not alone in this solitude.