What is the actual mental toll of this pandemic?
The parent/child relationship. Fracturing families, fueling negative mental health outcomes, destroying lives and livelihoods. *warning real talk trigger*
"I want my mom back", he screamed, "I hate this zoom", another meltdown and another day of full sobbing for a 6-year-old, But don't worry, again, I will stay-listen and build his soul over and over again. His teacher is absolutely awesome and is doing everything in her power to help all of her students, but still, it's too much...for all of us. How many more tears will he have today? How many more emotional outbursts? Looks of sadness? Questions about when it will end?
How many before I break? How many tears can I wipe before I need to sit with my own. How many hats can I wear? How many punches am I supposed to roll with? Are we still in this together? #puhlease #breakingpoint As a working parent, my mental load is already full. I DO NOT WANT ANY MORE JOBS!
This is taking the biggest toll on our relationships with our children. The mental effects will be long lasting and traumatic. There is no second of the day that isn't full, forget self-care, I am in survival mode, using my bathroom breaks as meditation space. Most of us, or at least the mamas and papas I talk too, are in this boat…at their breaking point.
-Chronic Stress Kills People- This is NOT sustainable. Can anyone hear us?
If you have kids and are sitting co-teaching for 5 hours a day while you are supposed to work at your job and watch your other non-school aged kids and cook for them, clean up after them and keep a house and feed the dog and do the laundry and manage emotions...Let me break it down for you:
My chronic stress symptoms:
· Heart palpitations
· Pressure in my head and face
· Feelings of overwhelm and frustration
· Waking up in a panic
· Feeling dread when walking into the homeschool room
· Heart Attack or Panic Attack guessing game
My child’s chronic stress symptoms:
· Over emotional, everything is a meltdown (poor EI & ER)
· Regression: Bed Wetting, Nail Biting and Crying
· Frustration & Anger
· Headache and eye strain
· Poor sleep, waking up frequently
The developing brain of a child will be permanently impacted by the chronic stress they are exposed to now. There is plenty of data to support how trauma and stress in childhood leads to mental and physical illness as they grow. Is this what we are doing now? Breaking down families and health?
End game…Cardiac Arrest? It’s simply not worth my health or the health of my family. PERIOD!
So I struggle to find a breath. Just one, to clear my mind, but I will find it. In the quiet moments, I search for the beauty in my children’s healthy faces, but wonder if the turmoil they have lived will impact them in ways I cannot yet see. I find peace in their smiles and joy in their laughter, but it does not make the days any less stressful. I flat out refuse to do more than I can handle or push my kids to do more than we can handle. We are in a collective traumatic experience here, and I will treat it as such.
If you do not have hired help, or an over-flowing bank account, if you cannot let your kids work alone, or do not have a learning pod for them to go to. If you do not get breaks for yourself, or have lost yourself in this whirlwind of stress and chaos and you feel like you are on the actual edge…you are not alone. I see you, I hear you and I completely understand you. Try to find one breath..just one deep cleansing breath.
All we can do is love and accept ourselves, and do what we can to push through. Cry if you need to, rage safely, express your emotions, and sit in your space, any chance you get. Breathe, it’s honestly all we can do. Do not suffer in silence, you are not alone, you can even contact me and cry your eyes out. I will always sit with you.
Celebrate the tiny wins if they come and try to forgive quickly. Nothing is worth risking the mental health of yourself or your children. We cannot get these moments with them back, no matter how unbearable they may seem today. No, none of this is fair, or something that we can make sense of, but we must move forward, because they love us and they need us and we love them and we need them.
Use any and all of the #generationkindful tools on the facebook page or website at generationkindful.org, to keep a mindfulness practice going in your home. Teach them to breathe with you and take plenty of breaks for water and food and breath. Let them find their own pace and try to lessen the stress in any way that you can for all of you. Please be gentle with yourself, nothing is worth your inner peace or total health (mind/body).
So, for today, I have had enough of zoom and so have they, we are logging out and watching movies for the rest of the day, because that’s what will make us feel connected, loved and happy for this moment. We will try to smile more than we cry and really look beyond a life surrounded by fear and change and push forward in connection and love.
Wishing you true peace and contentment in this astronomically difficult time.