Coping In the Midst
By Darrell Jones
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has us all considering ways of how to deal with the stress of it all. Having to constantly think about how we navigate exposure, protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors, is overwhelmingly stressful. At least for the short-term, we must accept this is our new normal.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides some basic strategies to consider:
• Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs. • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy. • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
In addition, here are some creative ways of coping using technology:
• Web-enhanced social media activities like the Houseparty video messaging app that allows you to throw virtual parties with your friends. • Attend a free live-streaming concert on Facebook. • Engage an exercise training program you can do at home like ATHLEANX that can be found on Youtube. • In that moment of needing a break from everyone, I have also found this is a great opportunity to catch up on some reading.
Please practice self-care and show some compassion to others along the way!
When You Feel What You Can’t See: PostTraumatic Stress Disorder—PTSD
By Glynnis Boyd Hughes
Imagine this: A child witnesses her mother being killed. A man is sexually assaulted. A community does not receive what it needs to thrive, such as adequate food resources.
These events are trauma based and even after they have ended, can produce post-traumatic stress disorder for those involved, commonly known as PTSD.
PTSD is defined as an anxiety disorder that develops after frightening, stressful, or distressing life events. Characterized by intense fear, helplessness, and stress, PTSD affects normal life and functioning of the patient. Treatments include medications and psychotherapy, either alone or in combination. Symptoms include difficulty sleeping, nightmares, aggression, numbness, and being constantly on alert.
According to The National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, about 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma. This number does not include children or gender breakdown, although historically women have been noted to have higher instances of PTSD.
For many people who have experienced trauma, PTSD can become a part of how they face daily life without understanding where their actions come from. June 27 is designated as National PTSD Awareness Day, to increase awareness and education of this disorder, as well as options for treatment and management.
For more information please see the following resources.
- The National Institute for Mental Health nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
- The National Center for PTSD-U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs ptsd.va.gov
- VeryWellMind verywellmind.com/coping-with-ptsd-in-family-members-2797406
My Drinking Thinking
By Christopher Allen
Since the age of nine, my vice has always been alcohol. In hindsight, I thought that I had a handle on my addiction, but it truly had a handle on me. I used to think that I didn’t have an issue with alcohol and I was very combative when friends or family would bring up such a thing. What nerve they had.
If you know anything about cars I was not functioning on all cylinders when it came to making sound decisions in my life. I don’t know what a normal person consists of these days, but I will come as close as I can to my assumption of it. Here are some examples. For a normal person, not in addiction, going to the store to pick up groceries, hygiene products, or filling up your gas tank is an easy process based on your budget. For me, I had to budget-budget, or simply wing it. My priority and thought process was alcohol first and everything else was secondary. So the type of food, quality of clothing and the quantity of those items were grossly affected.
Consciously or subconsciously, my addiction dictated the type of neighborhoods that I lived in. Not because of my credit or income, but the lower the rent, the more disposable income I had to spend on drinking. I could remember on one occasion or a few hundred occasions over my lifetime where I chose a case of beer or a bottle from the liquor store rather than eat or get gas. In many instances I borrowed money, and requested tabs at bars to be paid at a later date or I used other resources to maintain my addiction.
Saving money truly didn’t exist. Money that was directly deposited into my savings account on payday might as well have been zero, because I always used it before the next pay date. My credit cards were nearly or always maxed out. My utility bills; what bills? I would normally pay half of it thinking I would pay it in full with my next check, but that wasn’t realistic either. Now, could you imagine having a car payment, auto insurance, rent, renters insurance, food, gas, cable, electric, water, child support, payday loans, friend loans, bar tabs, and miscellaneous items on top of a drinking habit. I juggled bills, and I robbed Peter to pay Paul. It all became a way of life, but what type of life is that? Not one that fosters accountability and healthy relationships. This was my normal until outside influences beyond my control forced me to get some help. If this article rings a bell for someone that you love, or if it’s a replica of your life, please reach out and get some help. You don’t have to live like this. This is an unhealthy cycle that I don’t want anyone to repeat.