During these uncertain times, we are asked to slow down and refrain from normal activities. Naturally, our gut reaction is usually to rebel, question everything, and feel intense anxiety. After more access to information and time to reflect, most of us hopefully have come to a place of understanding and acceptance of these new changes in our lives.
This is very much like the initial stages of treatment for our adolescents and young adults. This analogy can be helpful in understanding the start to the treatment process and the feelings that come along with the experience. We can all now identify with the fear of the unknown and the helpless feeling of lacking control over our environment. Decisions are being made for us and we are being inundated with changing information minute to minute (very much like in treatment). Through this process we hopefully learn the importance of connection, empathy, and self care.
We are all in this together if we choose to be. Families often describe feeling as if they are alone on an island, isolated by fear and shame. I often tell families to please reach out, focus on creating community, and don’t hesitate to seek support. Managing anxiety on one’s own is often overwhelming and, at times, paralyzing for many of us. When feeling overrun by emotions, it’s important to pause, go outside and get some fresh air. Take time to nurture your body and do something creative or fun.
Remember that anxiety manifests in many different ways, so be kind to yourself and those around you. And if you can, try practicing gratitude for this opportunity to be more grounded and spend time with your loved ones.
Until next time, be well.
Lauren Seltzer, LMFT