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Moving through this (opinion)


Submitted by Dr. Angela Brownemiller

Every moment matters. We live our lives as best we can. One way or another we get through the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, moments. Our vulnerability itself ebbs and flows.

Few imagined we would be here now, finding our way through the reality of this pandemic. Now, almost daily, I hear from clients asking, “Will things get worse or better?” “Will my life change for good?”

Clients are asking how to hold steady for their families, friends, neighbors, co-workers – and how to hold steady for themselves. Some are doing pretty well, all things considered. Others are, in the words of some of my clients, “hanging in there” and or “just getting by.” Others tell me they are actually, “barely hanging on.” 

One of my clients called me the other day in tears, telling me she wished she could, “Just go back to January.” She added that, “While things didn’t look so good back then, at least I felt things were a little more normal.” Other clients have been saying that, “Things will never look the same again,” and, “I will always be worried something like this can happen again, and we aren’t even through this thing yet.”

Finding our way through the unexpected and unknown adds a whole new level of stress to life. For some this stress is manageable, for some this stress is even relatively easy to process. For some this stress is “deniable” or perhaps buried in the other activities of getting through life, of surviving, such as trying to earn a living, pay bills, feed the family, and or plan ways to refrain from all out exposure to COVID.

Those who have moved through previous life traumas arrive at this pandemic reality both ready for and triggered by this challenge. People dealing with addictions to drugs/alcohol are managing their addictions and their recoveries (even in some cases, relapses) the best they can. 

Rising to this challenge is itself a challenge.

  1. Manage your life with great care and attention to detail. Be aware of how you are doing. Check in with yourself (and others you care for) often, even for some, many times a day.
  2. Do what you can not to isolate. Staying connected with people will look different. Be creative about how to do this. Make sure you reach out in some way at least once a day.
  3. Try not to lock emotions away. Find safe ways to express your emotions. Scribble or draw or paint. Talk or sing or shout. Write or tell a story to yourself or someone else. Start or continue a journal, write about your life, your ideas, your dreams.
  4. We can be grateful we have developed social media as for so many these times rely on this form of contact. Make good use of social media if this is your thing, however do not lose yourself in media with no direct human connection. Social media is virtual which is therefore virtual rather than physical. 
  5. Know when to reach out for information and help. Make yourself a list and post it or keep it just in case ever needed. Have hot line numbers, information line numbers, numbers and email addresses of local services and contacts, peer support group meeting times, and more.
  6. Try not to watch more than one to two hours of news each day. Of course, have ways of hearing if there is emergency but avoid flooding your mental and emotional circuits with information and images of problems and disasters.
  7. Move yourself, whatever this means for you. Move a little or a lot every day, even several times a day. If you cannot safely exercise outdoors, walk or move around the house, or stretch or dance. Do whatever you can to move several times a day.
  8. Feeling that there is a future is a positive. However you can, even in small ways, stay positively connected to your future, whether this be your next decade or next year or next month or next week or next day or next hour. Every moment is another moment of your life. 
  9. When things get tough, focus on getting through this minute, this moment. Each moment you move through is a moment survived. Stay conscious of the value of the moments of your life. Every moment matters.
Dr. Angela Brownemiller

Dr. Angela Brownemiller, also known as Dr. Angela®, is a psychotherapist, founder of the Dr. Angela® Programs, author of seventy books on social, psychological, and consciousness issues including: SEEING THE HIDDEN FACE OF ADDICTION and NAVIGATING LIFE’S STUFF. See DrAngela.com for more information.

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