Category Archives: Mental Health

“You missed your chance to be a prodigy, but there’s still growth left for grownups.” – The New Yorker

is it too late

new skillsThe joys—and occasional embarrassments—of being a novice could be an antidote to the strain of being a perfectionist. – Animation by Luke Wohlgemuth

by Margaret Talbot

“Among the things I have not missed since entering middle age is the sensation of being an absolute beginner. It has been decades since I’ve sat in a classroom in a gathering cloud of incomprehension (Algebra 2, tenth grade) or sincerely tried, lesson after lesson, to acquire a skill that was clearly not destined to play a large role in my life (modern dance, twelfth grade). Learning to ride a bicycle in my early thirties was an exception—a little mortifying when my husband had to run alongside the bike, as you would with a child—but ultimately rewarding. Less so was the time when a group of Japanese schoolchildren tried to teach me origami at a public event where I was the guest of honor—I’ll never forget their sombre puzzlement as my clumsy fingers mutilated yet another paper crane.

“Like Tom Vanderbilt, a journalist and the author of “Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning” (Knopf), I learn new facts all the time but new skills seldom. Journalists regularly drop into unfamiliar subcultures and domains of expertise, learning enough at least to ask the right questions. The distinction he draws between his energetic stockpiling of declarative knowledge, or knowing that, and his scant attention to procedural knowledge, or knowing how, is familiar to me. The prospect of reinventing myself as, say, a late-blooming skier or ceramicist or marathon runner sparks only an idle interest, something like wondering what it might be like to live in some small town you pass on the highway.

“There is certainly a way to put a positive spin on that reluctance.”

Read this article in its entirety at The New Yorker, click here.

“‘Throw out the rulebook’ to get through pandemic holidays, a therapist says” – WITF

“Lower your expectations, and keep an open mind about what a holiday should look like.”

therapy throw out

by Rachel Wilkerson Miller and Clare Schneider/NPR

“Even if you know, intellectually, that the holidays are not actually ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ (and can, in fact, be incredibly stressful), coping with feelings of loneliness, guilt, anger, and despair during the month of December can be very challenging. And thanks to the ongoing pandemic, a lot of people are feeling bad right now. The news is bleak, pretty much everyone is stretched thin, and comfort and joy are in short supply, making it that much harder to muster the energy to celebrate — or even to reach out and ask for help.

“To better understand how to cope with this extra-rough holiday season, I spoke to Andrea Bonior, a psychologist and author of Detox Your Thoughts: Quit Negative Self-Talk for Good and Discover the Life You’ve Always Wanted. Here are some of her best tips.

“Our celebrations are likely going to look and feel different (or even…bad) this year — we’re living through a pandemic, after all. ‘I think it really is a matter of understanding that this is going to be subpar no matter what,’ Bonior says. ‘That there’s no way to get everything in a digital format… that you would get if you were in person. There’s no way to not sacrifice certain things.’

“’I think the first step is to throw out the rulebook,’”

Continue reading this article at WITF; click here.

“How to spot and cope with holiday depression.” – Futurity

holiday depression(Credit: Getty Images)

posted by Kim Ward – Michigan State

“Here, Jed Magen, chair of the psychiatry department at the College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, offers advice on how people can cope with depression through the holiday season:

Q. What are the symptoms of depression?

A. You may have depression if feelings of sadness or emptiness don’t go away within a couple of weeks. Other emotional symptoms include:

Share your thoughts on access to Mental Health Services in Rural PA!

access to Mental Health

Click here or on the above graphic to download as a .pdf file.

Loneliness and isolation | here are two articles that let us know that every day is not “sunshine and penguins” but there are ways to adjust.

loneliness how to deal with itShar Tuiasoa

This New York Times article, “How to Deal With Life in Long-Term Isolation” offers examples of people who have managed in scenarios of being alone or being isolated.


Resilience

74 year-old Diane Evans has learned, “If adverse situations beat you down, there wouldn’t be an African American in this country. You do what you have to do to survive.” In this NPR article, “There’s No Stopping These Seniors; Even A Pandemic Can’t Bring Them Down”, there are stories of remarkable resilience many older persons are showing in the pandemic.

SURVEY: Share your thoughts on access to mental health services in rural PA!

kutztown mental health

“‘A Slow Killer’: Nursing Home Residents Wither in Isolation Forced by the Virus” – The New York Times

“Nursing homes set restrictions to lower risks, but COVID-19 has continued spreading in some homes, and residents are now grappling with consequences from isolation.”

nursing home slow killerColleen Mallory and Deanna Williams greet their 89-year-old mother, Peggy Walsh, through the window of Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash.” Credit…Grant Hindsley for The New York Times

by Jack HealyDanielle Ivory and 

KIRKLAND, Wash. — After months of near-isolation inside his senior care facility, Charlie no longer recognizes his wife of almost 50 years. In another nursing home, Susan’s toenails grew so long that she could not squeeze into her shoes. Ida lost 37 pounds and stopped speaking. Minnie cried and asked God to just take her.

“They are among thousands of older people stricken by another epidemic ravaging America’s nursing homes — an outbreak of loneliness, depression and atrophy fueled by the very lockdowns that were imposed to protect them from the coronavirus.

“’A slow killer,’ said Esther Sarachene, who said she watched her 82-year-old mother, Ida Pasik, wither and fall mute during the months she was confined to her nursing home room in Maryland. ‘She didn’t know who I was.’

“Covid-19 continues to scythe through the halls of long-term care facilities despite an array of safety measures and bans on visitors, put in place months ago to slow the devastation.”

“Click here to read this article at The New York Times in its entirety.

SAVE THE DATE (October 9, 2020) – Hope, Healing & Recovery | a Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center event!

VA mental health event

“Depression, anxiety spike amid outbreak and turbulent times” – Associated Press

covid depression“FILE – In this Monday, June 1, 2020 file photo, a woman looks through a window at a near-empty terminal at an airport in Atlanta. Anxiety and depression are rising among Americans compared with before the pandemic, research suggests. Half of those surveyed in a study released on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, reported at least some signs of depression.” – (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

by Lindsey Tanner

“Mental health therapists’ caseloads are bulging. Waiting lists for appointments are growing. And anxiety and depression are rising among Americans amid the coronavirus crisis, research suggests.

“In the latest study to suggest an uptick, half of U.S. adults surveyed reported at least some signs of depression, such as hopelessness, feeling like a failure or getting little pleasure from doing things. That’s double the rate from a different survey two years ago, Boston University researchers said Wednesday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.

“The study did not ask about any diagnosis they might have received, and for many people, the problem is mostly angst rather than full-blown psychiatric illness. But experts say the feeling is genuine and deserving of professional help.”

Read this AP article in its entirety, click here.

“Calvin and Hobbes and quarantine” – Polygon

Admit it. There’s a bit of Calvin in each of us.

calvin hobbes

“Image: Bill Watterson/Andrews McMeel Publishing”

by Chuck Wendig

When I think of Calvin, that glorious little menace, I first remember the depth of his imagination. His was an external life born explicitly of the internal: distant planets, bed monsters, mutant snowscapes, gravity-defying wagon rides, crass Transmogrifications, and of course, one tuna-loving tiger BFF.

“But the second thing I remember was exactly why the kid had such a big imagination to begin with: Calvin was looking for a way out. He was trying to escape.

“He didn’t like school, so he fled it as Spaceman Spiff. Bathtime, a nightmare for small children, saw Calvin turning into a tub shark or being attacked by a bubble-bath elemental. He escaped the corporeal form of a kid’s (arguably limited) body with the Transmogrifier, and most importantly of all, escaped loneliness by befriending a stuffed tiger who Calvin knew was actually real. A tiger who listened to him, who challenged him, and who ultimately loved him.

“Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Calvin went to school, had a loving family, but even still, he felt alone. And his imagination gave him a way not to feel that anymore.

“In lockdown, we’re all Calvin.”

Seriously, click here to read this article at Polygon in its entirety.