Stacey M That inability to focus, that’s new.
I am a single mom of two small boys, and I had a rocky road before the pandemic. My husband passed away when the boys were almost five months old, and then I almost lost one of the babies like three months later to meningitis. He was in the hospital for two weeks. I shut down entirely. I felt nothing. And that’s kind of where I retreat to. I was diagnosed with PTSD.
The emotion that would pop through would be like this rage — which is not me.
I have anxiety attacks — those are “fun.”
My sister has become my anchor. I will call her crying and not able to get a single word out and she’ll help. She has this grounding exercise that is the best. And she’ll just ask, do you need an ambulance? I’m like, no. And then she’ll talk me through coming back to reality out of that one. She asks do you need to be heard, do you need to problem solve or do you just need to yell?
If I have an anxiety attack. I know what that is. I can call my sister. If I feel that PTSD shut down, I know things that I can do for that.
But this is unknown. That inability to focus. That’s new.
Even when I was in the throes of grief and PTSD, I still got my shit done. I called it Robot Stacey, like I was robot mom, I could plow through and get everything done. But this aimlessness is so weird. There’s nothing to do, nowhere to go. You know, you think like when you’re so busy, like, oh, I love some free time, but it’s a blessing and a curse, isn’t it?
We’ve all been through this pandemic — we’ve all had this shared experience — why isn’t mental health a shared experience, too?
I’ve seen a lot more articles on mental health farther up the news feed, and so I think getting the words out there, getting them explained and defined and seeing those words and those stories and more places and then showing how people react to them, that’s huge. And I think that’s just part of making the narrative more comfortable so that. People can express their mental health struggles and feel that those struggles have value.