Finding the Silver Lining

Will we ever get back to normal? I am asked this question almost every day, and my usual response is a simple “I don’t know”. It is the only honest response that anyone can give as we are all navigating unfamiliar territory. How we handle this situation varies from person to person.

Living in continuous uncertainty can have an effect on a person’s mental health, which often can show up as physical ailments as well as shifts in behavior. Increased instances of anxiety or depression may interfere with daily life such as not being able to get out of bed, neglecting personal hygiene, and eating/sleeping too much or too little. Some may see a decrease in their quality of life, finding themselves not doing activities they normally enjoy such as gardening, reading, or cooking. Relationships become strained and you may feel that life is not worth living.

It is important to remember that it is normal to have these feelings. The pandemic has left an entire planet experiencing at least one symptom of depression and anxiety. However, it is equally important to pay attention to these feelings and to seek help or support if your experience with depression and anxiety are at higher levels than normal, and last longer than 2 weeks.

Taking a moment to pause and pay attention to your thoughts, physical condition, or other feelings is the first step towards regaining a sense of normalcy. As a reminder, signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety include (but are not limited to):

• Deep sadness
• Anger
• Irritability
• Mood swings
• Feelings of helplessness
• Confusion
• Unable to make everyday decisions
• Feelings of extreme guilt

You may be wondering, after all this doom and gloom, how can there possibly be any positive to this situation? Here are some of the “silver linings” I see:

• Recovery from a mental health illness is not only possible but very likely – there is a multitude of support out there, from Let’s Talk Colorado to Seize the Awkward.
• Mental Health awareness is at the forefront of many discussions
• Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of the stigma associated with mental illness has been decreased as awareness increases

Another positive to consider – Doctors Care is here to help. We have integrated health care that includes a Behavioral Health Provider who can offer counseling services, medication management, and staff members trained in Mental Health First Aid. If you feel the need to talk with someone or get resources, please call (303) 730-1313. Let us help you find your “silver lining” in the midst of uncertainty.

Char Patton, Health Navigation Program Manager

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