By Richard G. Wirtz, PsyD
The COVID-19 pandemic has had many profound effects on us already and we are likely to experience more as time goes on. Social distancing and closures of nonessential businesses have put a huge strain on our way of life but they are being used as tools to dampen the impact of the virus on our health, the health care system and all the aides, nurses, and doctors who provide care to the sick.
Our staff has seen how these measures have raised the anxiety of many people and left many feeling isolated and alone. We know that facing a challenge alone can often make us feel overwhelmed more quickly, and less able to put our talents and resources to work in constructive ways. We also know that the emotional emptiness can lead to feeling sad, depressed, and frightened.
So while we need to heed these new ways of life for our health and well being, that does not mean that we have to cut ourselves off from the world around us. Although we sometimes complain about our hyper-connected electronic world, it is this very same technology that gives us incredible opportunities to stay connected.
Today we began meeting with our clients over a video conferencing platform and the telephone. I also heard from several people about using video conferencing (e.g. Zoom or GoToMeeting ) for virtual 12-Step meetings, writer's groups, and book clubs. This past weekend some of my children got to have a video chat with their 86-year-old grandmother via laptop computers. We can and should use apps like Facetime, and resort to good old-fashioned telephone calls in order to hear the live, vibrant tones of the human voice that has so much power to soothe and cheer us.
We are not alone, and it is in our best interest not to behave as if we are. Call a friend. Skype a family member. Create a Zoom meeting of all your friends. Talk to the neighbor across the street. Connect yourself!