Staying Mentally Healthy
Many members in our community have been affected by extra challenges due to the Pandemic. We spoke to one of our AT Chatters about the techniques, strategies and resources she used during times of isolation. This is her story.
AT Chat Community member *Stacey said after spending most of the year talking about her mental health during Covid-19, it was still a rather unusual experience.
“I had quickly realised that if I didn’t talk about my anxiety, it would overwhelm me, so I forced myself to be honest,” she said.
“I think sometimes this is common for people with disabilities or chronic illness because there are so many times you are forced to request help or support, that it is common to try and minimise in areas that we’re not forced to be vulnerable in.”
*Stacey explained that there was a shift in her approach to managing her mental health strategies, and she began to add to her ‘toolkit’.
“I have previously used meditation and mindfulness breathing techniques, but I was very out of practice when Covid hit,” she said.
"I also started journaling initially to try and get my thoughts and the anxiety spiral out of my head, but it has now turned into a way to remind myself to appreciate the small things that bring comfort and joy.”
“Meditation and journaling are techniques that are not quick fixes at all, but in the long term, I have found them invaluable.”
Getting well with Telehealth
*Stacey said she was surprised at the benefits of the Telehealth service and how it could be universally used around Covid.
“I, like many people with chronic health conditions or disabilities have a variety of medical specialists, and Telehealth cuts down on time (and cost) of transport, wait-time prior to hospital, and does not expose you to crowds and illnesses,” she explained.
“There are some appointments that are useful in person (and more accessible for certain disabilities or conditions), but there will be many appointments I will continue to request telehealth for if possible.”
*Stacey said her main tool to stay in contact during Covid, was her phone. She explained that after being in total isolation for many months, she understood the power of connection for positive mental health and wellness.
“I have learnt to be mindful of the importance of reaching out to people I think may be struggling or vulnerable. It was so helpful to me that people did this when I was not in the headspace or energy to reach out myself,” she said.
“I will remember to be mindful of the amazing impact you can have on someone’s life by reaching out when needed.”
“I think the extended time being unable to do many of the things I have previously done has clarified the things that to me are most important. This is largely around maintaining strong relationships to the people important to me.”
The impact of Covid-19 across the world has made us focus on the importance of staying well and connected in our community and family. If you or someone you know is requiring mental health support or resources, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 , Kid’s Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Emergency Services on 000 for life threatening situations.
*Names were changed to protect the identity of the source interviewed in this article.
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