They looked like my father.
I do suffer from anxiety and depression. I was never on medications before, but I did seek counseling over the last few years and I was feeling pretty good overall before the pandemic. Once in a while, like I’m super stressed out at work or really have a personal situation, so I feel a little bit like anxious, but I was always able to handle it.
And then during the pandemic, initially in March, it hit me more — the sadness and the depression part. Just seeing all these Latinos in the intensive care unit that look like my father, that look like my family members. And seeing sometimes the whole family being admitted at the same time, and the mother dies — all these made me really, really sad — extremely sad.
It was so crazy even sleeping was a luxury
I didn’t do a good job initially because I was even too busy to even have free time to really take care of myself. I try at least to get enough sleep, which was not always very easy because I was so busy working and working and working. It was so crazy that even sleeping was almost a luxury sometimes. I tried to take some breaks, get my meals, because skipping a meal was not good for me. I knew that if I do that, I would not be able to function the rest of the day.
I try to do little things to get me through the day.
I use a lot of the meditation apps and try to do that every day. Even a few minutes, in just 5, 10, even 15 minutes, to take a break, take a deep breath. I tried to do even some birding in the backyard — we do have a lot of birds around our house and it was a form of meditation. Just sitting outside for even a few minutes, listening to the birds, watching the birds, to take my mind away from all the stuff that I have at work.
It was good to have the support of my colleagues. We have a strong group and I found a couple of really wonderful people. Especially one of them, we share interests of really fighting for health equity. It was really good to support each other. I felt that just picking up the phone and talking about the things was really good to have that connection.
We are resilient but we forget about our mental health.
This subject is important, so I am stepping out of my comfort zone.