This is our current reality: social distancing; a way of life – the new trend. Who would have thought that “social distancing” would be thee phrase to use at the moment? The new way of life has become isolated. Our children homeschooled in the name of safety, away from family/friends. It has been increasingly difficult to fully transition into the new normal.
The Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19 has made its presence here in the states. From what we know, the Corona Virus is a droplet precaution; meaning it can be transmitted through the droplets of an infected person through sneezing, coughing, saliva or mucus discharge. Often, symptoms do not appear until days after someone is infected. Someone can be asymptomatic (not show signs) which can lead to further spreading if precautions are not taken properly. Public Health officials have recommended enforcement of strict boundaries of physical & social interaction. That is why wearing protective eye shields and face masks is absolutely necessary if you have to step out of your home.
Enough with the information that we already know….
I am a health care worker, a therapist working in a nursing home with COVID-19 patients. It has been a mentally and physically draining experience working in this field right now. What is normally a pleasant working environment has become what feels like a war zone. The constant fear of the unknown wears you down mentally. Bombarded with information overload – heightens our anxiety. So many thoughts running through your head at once: the thought of possibly contracting the virus, spreading it and not knowing or bringing it home to your family plays over and over in your head every time we wear our PPE. Unfortunately, you become very robotic and work on autopilot. We are frustrated, we are drained, and overwhelmed.
Recently, my husband and I had a conversation about how sharing our experience is important for our mental health. I have to remind myself being strong is not vocalizing “I’m ok or I’m fine” but our ability to keep doing our job and having compassion despite being emotionally drained. Actually, holding all these feelings inside is counter-productive to our progress mentally during such a challenging time. Being able to share how you feel is actually the best way you can improve your mental state. I try to hide it when I get home but I’m using this platform to let all those involved in this situation know it is ok to feel overwhelmed. You are not alone in this battle.
I recently watched a sad movie and balled my eyes out to release some stress. I even did the really ugly cry after the credits rolled. I cried for a while that day and just let it all out. It felt good. I am sure I can speak on everyone’s behalf who is working in healthcare right now that it is a challenge. It is a challenge for ALL essential workers and nonessential. Despite the chaos, I am thankful for my rehab team for whooping ass and getting shit done. I am especially thankful for the nurses and CNAs who are going into these COVID rooms. I am thankful for everyone who goes into work and is doing their job to keep our facility running. God Bless us all for all the work we are doing to help others.