Mental Health Awareness Month. It happens every year. But this year is different, isn’t it? The COVID-19 virus is hurting our mental and emotional health too. 

Social distancing takes a toll on us. Are you staying home mostly? Staying home completely? It feels like the right thing to do. You don’t know if you’re over-doing it, but you’re afraid to go out. 

Even if you want to give up on complete isolation, there’s no where to go. Restaurants and bars are closed. Friends may be too busy with their kids to hang out with you. 

I’m sure you want to stay healthy. None of us wants to infect someone else, especially someone we love. It doesn’t take much to activate the guilt, and I hope its not bedtime, because then you won’t sleep! 

But I’m worried about the emotional cost of this isolation. I’m seeing more anxiety in people who were already experiencing anxiety before the pandemic. And I’m seeing more sadness, grief and irritability. 

It’s happening to all of us, yet each of us has different circumstances. You may be dealing with job loss, financial pressure, your kids and partner at home, difficultly doing your job remotely, or even extra pressure to solve problems and re-think your work in this time of quarantine. 

Everybody is going through life with the virus right now. Even if no one you know has been infected, it’s changing your life. In my lifetime, and likely yours, there have never been more triggers for societal grief. It effects us all. 

But that doesn’t mean you should just suck it up or walk it off. Sure, walking is good and even the governor is encouraging exercise. 

How do you know when it’s time to seek help for anxiety? When is it clear that this is more than just frustration about work? When is the fear more than fear? 

Here are some guideline about when to reach out to a Mental Health Professional. Seek help if some of these describe you. 

  • Suicidal thoughts are crossing your mind. Even just a few. You don’t have to handle this alone. (National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255).

  • You think you might want to hurt someone else.

  • You’re waking up in the middle of the night, or hours too early in the morning, and you can’t go back to sleep within about 15 minutes.

  • Alcohol or pot have become your best friends. 

  • You already use medication for anxiety or depression but it doesn’t do the trick.

  • Your sleep medication doesn’t keep you asleep through the night or you’re worried about using it at all.

  • You’re worried that your words or behavior are wrecking your relationship or harming your children.

  • Washing your hands, counting your steps, checking the stove is taking up way too much time. 

Not that bad but still wondering about your mental health? You can call a therapist for other reasons too. If you: 

  • Want support but friends and family are not available or not quite what you need right now. 

  • Need someone to talk to that won’t judge you or gossip about you. 

  • Feel alone, lonely or abandon. 

  • Would appreciate someone helping you sort out your options and learn how to make good decisions. 

  • Are trying to understand why you keep making the same relationship mistakes. 

  • Have more anxiety now and don’t know what to do about it.

  • Want to use this time to make your life better. 

  • Expected to be over your past by now but can’t seem to heal on your own. 

If you know you want some help and support, call now. You don’t have to wait another day to get started on your path to feeling better. (303) 225-9076 or contact me here.

Lisa Yaeger, LPC