"The universal pandemic may be slightly waning in its hold over our lives, but the grip COVID-19 has had on our mental health will be slow to loosen. Some folks are returning to work, some schools are slowly opening back up and some businesses are opening back upalbeit at limited capacity. But our lives are not back to normal. Not by a long shot. And while the quarantine has affected every single person in this country, some have been more deeply impacted than others.
Therapists in Vancouver, Washington and all over the country have seen the spectrum of this impact, from depression and isolation to anxiety and overwhelm. One group of people who"ve suffered in unique ways is parents. If parents are working outside of the home, they"re coming back to pent up children eager for their attention and energy. If they"re working inside of the home, they"re stepping in and out of whatever makeshift office they might have (whether that"s a full separate room, or just a corner of the couch, flanked by laundry piles) to tend to children demanding their time, affection and interaction. And if they"re stay-at-home parents, they have essentially had a full year of all their normal outings shut down and are feeling the strain of never having a spare minute to hear themselves think, coupled with a social isolation that no amount of Facetime or Zoom meetings will ever be able to cure.
And what to do when you have nothing to spare? When you are overwhelmed, depressed, or preoccupied with the many complications of life? What do you do when your own mental bandwidth is so battle-weary and depleted that you feel utterly incapable of giving your children the time and attention they so desperately need?! While having a regular therapist can help tremendously, 50 minutes a week isn"t going to solve all your problems. The children still need you to be present even if your own well has run dry. And this can feel really, really hard sometimes."
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