By: Nancy Passantino, pictured left
Don’t believe anyone who tells you that Covid did not affect their mental health. They may not have the language to describe what they are going through as those of us with mental illness have but, like us, they have been on a scary uncharted course unlike anything they may have ever experienced before.
As a member of the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse for the past seven years, I believe I had been able to get all the help and guidance needed to maintain a normal lifestyle with only a few bumps in the road. Getting to the Clubhouse a few times a week and participating in the work ordered day gave me a place to socialize and ground myself. That was before this unimaginable world pothole appeared and we all fell in.
I have been suffering with a triple whammy these past few years. Diagnosed with bipolar depression in my early 20’s, now a senior adult and one having underlying medical conditions, I seemed to check all the boxes. Is it any wonder that for quite a while I was not really living, only surviving? A famous quote by a German philosopher says that if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger; but a famous comedian also once commented that unless you’re eating ice cream, you’re suffering.
As for becoming stronger I believe the truth in that, and I’ve even read that some people can experience post traumatic growth (PTG) during these times which can result in having a renewed appreciation for life and adopting a new world view with new possibilities for us. Today I am a work in progress, using my mindfulness practices and keeping all my mental health tools in hand to keep me afloat and give me strength. I have slowly, if baby steps count, been able to reintroduce myself back into society and back to the Clubhouse that is awaiting me. Such a wonderful feeling.
Of course, just in case, I always keep a supply of ice cream in my freezer.