Emotional Wellness During Difficult Times: A Message From Doug Eschbach, Executive Director
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back and working on a newsletter article! Three ER visits, several days in the hospital, eight days of inpatient therapy at Rockhill, a bunch of appointments at Penn and with local doctors gathering second and third opinions… and still no one has any diagnosis for the neurological “event” that happened to me in January.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve heard a bunch of rumors that I’m glad to dispel. The most shocking that I’ve heard is that I’m dying of a brain tumor. Nope. Not true. I’m afraid you’re stuck with me. And the rumor that I’ve gotten the biggest kick out of is that I have syphilis. Again, nope. Not true. Yes, it’s good to be back, even if the cause for all of this is never really known. I still walk like my balance is bad (it is) but so much has gotten better and I’m really grateful.
Over the course of my time away, I had a lot of time to think. Much of what I thought about was pleasant and productive. I had time to think about the Center, about our team of employees, and about all of you. But a lot of what I thought about was emotionally hard. What happened? Would I get better? Would I ever be able to return to work? Could I live alone? Would I ever be, again, the person I was before?
With so many things to be grateful for, I almost felt guilty for entertaining those darker thoughts. But they came at quiet times, and they came unbidden. And they were frightening. They were frightening because I didn’t know, and didn’t have much control of what lay ahead. Those worried thoughts were just as real for me as any of my physical symptoms.
It’s not lost on me that many of us have those kinds of thoughts right now. During this time of quarantine; during this time when so many of us are alone; during this time of crazy uncertainty when the things that we depend on (like each other) are denied us; we (all) can struggle with our worries and with dark thoughts.
And so, that is why we have chosen to focus this issue of our email newsletter on the importance of emotional health. Our first issue was about the importance of continuing exercise (which can also help with emotional wellness), but this issue takes hold of the demons that crowd our minds and turn patience into despair.
We at Generations are eager to reach out to you and say that in these days, all of us face some level of despair. No one is immune to that. But we want to encourage you, too, that this time of isolation from others will come to an end! There really are better days that follow this hardship. We really will open again and be a place where you love to come and see your friends! Maybe not yet, but it really will happen!
And I, for one, hardly can wait. I hardly can wait to see you walk through those doors again. I look forward to the time when we can talk and laugh together again; when our lives can return to so many things we valued. We’re committed to doing that in a safe way as we wait for the time when getting together again is healthy for all of us and not a danger. It WILL come!
Staying at home is causing most of us to feel a lack of control. No matter how many times we hear, "we're all in this together," it doesn't seem to help with the feelings of isolation or the inability to get motivated to carry on with business "as usual." Below are some tips and links that may be helpful to you in taking care of yourself emotionally during this time. Keep in mind, though, that self-care is unique to you. These are just suggestions. If these ideas don't feel right to you, try adding something else to your routine that fits into the general category.
Meditation can be beneficial for mental health during this time. Take time to create space to check in with how you're feeling, and recognize any stress or worry you have. Click here for a 20 minute meditation for a clear mind. YouTube links contain ads that are not affiliated with Generations. You can usually "skip the ad" by clicking the button on the bottom right after a few seconds.
Do something you'll be glad you did later , whether it's making a meal for a friend, paying your bills, having a good laugh, or cleaning out your closet.
Focus on the positive. Turning away from negative thoughts will boost your mood and enhance your emotional awareness and well being. Being emotionally aware doesn't mean that you lack frustrations, "mental issues," or stress in your life; it just means that you can cope with these things more easily.