I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression on and off throughout my life, the peaks and valleys coinciding with various personal or professional upheavals. When I was a child, my stomach would be filled with knots upon starting a new school year or trying a new sport. So much so, in fact, that my parents took me to the doctor once just to make sure there weren’t any underlying medical issues causing this.
Looking back, it was clear that these “stomachaches” were a physical manifestation of my anxieties, but I didn’t know that yet, and no one at that time seemed to spend much time talking about mental health. As I got older, I found that a combination of medication and therapy worked especially well for me. This turned out not to be particularly surprising to my family who revealed to me that one of them had dealt with similar issues throughout their life and took the exact same medication. This information about my genetic predisposition would have been quite helpful to know earlier!
It seems that only in the past few years has mental health become a more accepted and open topic (much to my relief, I might add!). In fact, there are many of us who struggle from time to time, and the number only seems to be increasing with the ongoing stress of COVID-19 and all the ways it’s impacting our lives—its germy tentacles reaching almost every aspect.
According to an article in The Washington Post, “A survey study published in the JAMA Network Open in September found that U.S. adults were reporting levels of depressive symptoms more than three times higher during the pandemic than before it.”
And as we approach winter, a time when many feel the effects of seasonal depression, experts are saying that our mental health could take an even steeper nosedive. So now is the time to make a plan! To help you do this, the Library is hosting the program Battling COVID Fatigue on Tuesday, November 10, at 7:00 p.m., on Zoom. During the virtual event, presenters from Tri-County Mental Health will share insights into coping during these challenging times.
For even more strategies on caring for your mental health, explore this list of suggested titles in the MCPL catalog and the Library’s online health and wellness resources.
Something I’ve learned over time is that caring for your own physical and mental health isn’t self-indulgent; it’s critical to being a productive member of society. It’s putting your oxygen mask on first, so that you can help others.
So, make a plan and stay healthy, friends!
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