How are you doing…really? By Tara Moser

How are you REALLY doing? I want to know! Please take care of you! I wrote this for my personal Facebook this past week, and made a couple of changes to share it with you here.
Mental Health…yours, mine, and everyone else. I am worried! Child abuse reports are up. Domestic violence is up. Suicidal ideation and attempts are up. Feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, fear, and the unknown are growing. Our lives are nothing like they were just several weeks ago. Life as we know it has changed. We are all in this together. Essential, non-essential, university educated, or your trade. Everyone has something to provide in their own way.

Families are grieving. Families are scared. Families are separated. This isn’t over. Technology is helpful but it is not the same.

We are in this with you! No matter what your role in our community, we are together! We need each other.

The things we took for granted are no longer there. Sunday church service, coffee with friends, little league games, senior year events, graduations from high school, college, kindergarten and more. College students ready to launch into new careers that are no longer available. Family after family with lay offs, furloughs, and unknown options as to careers they have held for more years than their kids are alive. Teaching your children with the help of their teachers virtually. Their teachers that love and adore them, but are in a position they have never held. The material they are supposed to teach not as easy. And all this while you are sorting out your own situation or working; so are the teachers! Most have their own children. I have learned that I am in no shape or form a good 4th grade teacher. Double duty with you! WITH US!

Then there is the virus. “The invisible enemy” as our local hospital system recently referred to it. Maybe you don’t know someone personally affected. Maybe you do. Maybe it is one of the many who don’t qualify for testing but have never felt so sick in their lives. Maybe your family member has been exposed due to their essential job. Maybe your home is now divided into safe and unsafe quarters. You long to check on your loved one, but can’t risk exposure. Maybe your loved one is in the hospital or an assisted living home…alone…will you see them? What happens if they die? Maybe you already had a loss but you didn’t get to say goodbye. Grief rituals cannot be performed. You feel void, vacant and left without support.

As I type this, update, I have learned a friend has tested positive and another’s came back negative. This week I have had clients put on quarantine because they were confirmed exposed. An article just came out that Publix employees are testing positive along with the other essential workers on the front lines. Be safe. Stop, think and decide what you can control.  

For many, and I am right there with you, there is a fear of loss of income. My family is a double self employed family— I get it! Remember your ethics come first. Stay in your scope of practice! Just because there are easy ways to do things and regulations have loosened, that doesn’t mean we should take the easy way. Look at options, there are many with no/low cost. Telehealth is not for every client (or every therapist!) This is not permanent! We will be back to our offices, our conferences, our lunch meetings, and everything else we long for! We just need more time to fight through this.

The virus…social distancing…masks…gloves…quarantine…supplies…technology for everything…your head is spinning and so is mine!

One day…one hour…one minute…one second. Focus on the time period you need to for you to feel safe! You are the focus in order to help the others…”put your oxygen mask on first.”

We are in this together! Reach out! Extend a hand when you can. Mental health is needed now more than ever! Please join us on the Zoom calls; share, listen in, and just be present with others just like you!

Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S, CAAPT-I
Florida Association of Play Therapy (FAPT) President