I recently had a client who had struggled with chronic depression for many months and was even hosp…
Do you feel uncomfortable by staying isolated at home?
This mental health advice website is not a therapy or treatment.
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If you’re in crisis or rate yourself to be very high on depression immediately call 911.
If you’re isolated by yourself
First and foremost, be aware of your mood.
Try a daily happiness scale where you rate your overall happiness from 1-10. If you give yourself a 5 first ask yourself why you didn’t rate it a 4? This is meant to help you recognize the things you grateful for.
After that ask yourself if there is anything you can do to increase your happiness scale by at least 1 point.
– Maybe, FaceTime with a friend or family member?
– Pick up a hobby you have been putting off or do something as simple as enjoy a cup of tea, etc.
If your happiness scale is under 5, take note. It might be a temporary situation but if it remains under 5 for a few days in a row don’t minimize it.
– You should reach out to someone such as a friend or family to talk.
– If this doesn’t help bring your number above 5 or if you are having any thoughts of harming yourself or others you should reach out to a mental health expert.
We, humans, are social creatures, we are not wired to do well alone so if you’re struggling give yourself a break and reach out.
If you’re isolated with others
Being cooped up with the same people day after day can be tough, no matter how much we love them.
We can help out however by cutting each other some slack.
If your child, partner, or family member is showing more irritability than typical, try not to take it personally and don’t respond in anger yourself.
Instead, ask them “what’s going on?” and then listen. When they respond angrily that they are tired of being stuck in the house, not seeing their friends and overwhelmed with their online homework (or job work) don’t try to fix it, because you can’t. Instead, just listen to them. Both adults and kids just need to vent sometimes.
– You can say things like, “It sounds like this is really hard” because this is not meant to fix things but instead it just shows your listening.
– It also helps prevent the person’s anger from being directed at you. After all, it’s difficult to get mad at someone who is just supportively listening to us.
– Remember to try not to give them advice unless they ask for it. Once they are calmer and no longer venting, you can ask them if there is anything you can do to help.
If you are isolated alone or with others
Routines and rituals are essential to giving us a sense of structure and structure provides us with a sense of security. Whether you’re isolated alone or with others it helps to have a scheduled routine.
Schedules can cover time to get out of bed, morning hygiene, meal times, school time, work time, playtime, bedtime, and everything in between.
– If you are not alone but are not currently eating your meals together, this is a good time to start. No cell phones or TV on. This is just a little quality time with the people you care most about.
– If your family has not had a schedule since the start of the pandemic you will likely get some resistance when you try to implement one. Don’t let that dissuade you. Once your kids realize you are sticking with the schedule they will accept it and ultimately benefit from the structure.
Finally, whether you are sheltering alone or with others remember, we are all in this together. This pandemic knows no boundaries but neither do we as brothers and sisters. No matter where you live in this world we will defeat this pandemic together. Feel free to leave an inspirational thought below and if you have a mental health question we will do our best to answer your questions.
Larry Blackwell LCSW, AADC
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Larry is a therapist who helps adults, couples, parents, teens, and children live their own authentic journeys and achieve their own best self whatever that is for them. He emphasizes creating a non-judgmental environment where people from all backgrounds can safely work to overcome the emotional experiences holding them back from reaching their full potential. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an Advanced Alcohol And Drug Counselor with over 25 years of experience in the mental health field.
Dr. Anita Gadhia-Smith, author of five books, is a psychotherapist in Washington, D.C. specializing in addictions, recovery, and relationship issues. She is particularly effective, discerning, and insightful about current issues that have a psychological impact on individuals and couples. She has served as a consultant to the United States Congress in parity legislation for substance abuse treatment. She has also spoken nationally and internationally on radio, television, and other media as an expert on a variety of topical subjects. Website: practicaltherapy.net