Updated: Jul 27
With the ebb and flow of the pandemic in 2020 and now seeping into 2021, people have experienced so many life changing events. Many have lost loved ones, lost jobs, and lost child care. But the one thing we are not talking about enough is the loss of mental wellness.
As a therapist, I saw the wave coming before it crashed on the shore. The anxiety built in early March with the uncertainty of shutdowns and school closures. The typical American needs to work to live, and needs assistance with child care to work. I saw a lot of juggling of roles at the beginning, but our society was making the best of it because we were all in it together.
Then the summer came. As the rise in numbers became the new normal, people numbed their anxiety for survival and some increased their stress to even go outside. Relationships were put to the test and many couples had opposite opinions on how to move forward in the world and keep from getting sick.
On top of the loss, politics emerged as a central issue. There was so much on the line for both parties. For the pandemic. For the economy. And yet, no one was talking about the emotional distress and suffering most Americans were facing.
Myself and my colleagues saw a huge surge in our caseloads. In a world where most were struggling to pay their bills, therapists were trying not to turn away clients who needed us most. It was bittersweet. To hear the stories of those hurting, in crisis, and trying to survive was and is brutal. Some days I need extra time to reset from all the pain expressed. There have been so many stories that have been devastating, but the hardest part is that we can’t predict when all this ends.
People are dying from Covid and mental distress. We have yet to hear the number of suicides from this year and last, the number of inpatient admissions, and number of new mental health diagnoses. We have to act on this issue. We have to open more doors to therapy as we recover from all the hospital beds that have been occupied and all the offices that have been vacated.
The pandemic is not over, which means that the emotional exhaustion and burnout is not over. As much as I’ve seen professionally and personally this year, I fear the emotional future in a post-Covid society. Hopefully one day we can recover from both the pandemics of the physical virus and emotional breakdown.
May we all find healing.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1800–273–8255.