Dear Dr. Beal
I cant believe its almost Thanksgiving and COVID-19 is still here. This is probably going to be the worst holiday ever, I am already starting to become depressed. My father died in May of Covid and my brother just passed last week. I had it but I was able to recover I spent about a week in the hospital. I am really trying to stay afloat and hold on but its hard.
Signed Depressed, Lonely, and Angry
Tis the Season to be jolly……….
The holiday season is here and it is not necessarily a happy time for a lot of people. We participate in rituals, and family gatherings that sometimes leaves that person feeling unhappy and sad. The reason could be because they interacted with a family member who always said inappropriate thoughts or hurtful words. When are you going to get married? Can you control your children? Or there is always that uncle that drinks too much. It is also the time where the loss of a love one who will not be present at the gathering, and that idea causes feelings associated with sadness and despair. Whatever the case the holidays will bring about emotions. This year has additional challenges because of the fear of contracting COVID-19 . We are being advised not to gather and if we do there are suggested guidelines. This years pandemic is adding to the list of stressors causing additional worry, frustration and anger.
We are all in shock because no one had a clue back in March that the Corona Virus would last this long. The possibility of it lasting another year is extremely high even with the promise of a new vaccine soon. It appears that you are dealing with several emotions that a bi product of grief.
Due to the fact that you became ill yourself you may have not had a chance to grieve your father’s death. Your brother’s death is so new that your may be in stage one, of processing his lost, which is denial. A now we are right here at the holidays. It may appear that you cant handle anymore stressors. Let’s look at the grieving process mentioned in an earlier sentence. Elizabeth Kuber-Ross(2003) stated that we experience five stages of grief. However, we do not necessarily follow them in order they are:
- Denial (This cant be happening)
- Anger (Why is this happening to b=me
- Bargaining (I will do anything to change this)
- Depression: What is the point of going on)
- Acceptance ( It’s going to be okay)
It is so important that you allow yourself to grief and work through your losses. Your depression could be caused by many things that you are currently experiencing.
You may also be grieving your personal health loss for a time period. You may skip a stage and/ or recycle your emotions to a previous stage before experiencing acceptance. Do note that there is no time period on grief. I would suggest that you seek professional help and allow yourself to grieve and focus on your health. A recent study stated that ninety days post experiencing COVID-19 over half of the reported number polled were experiencing some sort of mental health concerns.
So being with family this year may lift your spirits however, you should follow the Center of Disease Control If you are decide to go somewhere to visit please take every precaution and stay safe.
CDC Identified symptoms:
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms, but the ones seen frequently. Follow the CDC tips and guidelines for gatherings if you decide to go out.
Extra Precaution for family gatherings a:
- Check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where attendees live on state, local, territorial, or tribal health department websites. Based on the current status of the pandemic, consider if it is safe to hold or attend the gathering on the proposed date.
- Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
Lastly, take care of you first. Identify your feelings and practice stress relieve activities. Develop new traditions maybe zoom calls, etc. Whatever choice you make this week please remember to give Thanks. Spiritually, is also a way to cope with stress. Therapy and Spirituality go well together …….. .
Please call the helpline if you need an help. Let’s beat COVID-19 -19 H.E.S.S. program (713)999-9442
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“Good Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth”