Mental Health Monday – Re-opening Stress

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​I’ve kind of put this off for most of the day. I didn’t intentionally procrastinate. I did need to get groceries, and I suppose I could have not bribed my son to come with my by promising him a trip to the bagel shop and Starbucks for a frappechino, but I did. And while I do really need to sit down and finish my lesson plan for RCIA next Sunday and contact the printer for the handouts (that need to be mailed since we’re meeting by Zoom), I still really did not intentionally put this off. There were also people WRONG ON THE INTERNET that I needed to take care of.

It is true that this Mental Health Monday comes at the beginning of the last week for us in New York for NY Pause. While the entire state won’t be opening up, and the emergency orders are still in effect, the formal Pause expires on Friday, and I honestly don’t know how I feel about that. It gives me stress just thinking about it. That is partly because I will continue to isolate at home, as will my family; I will continue to wear a mask when I go out, and I will stay six feet away from you, and I will expect you to stay six feet away from me. Being cautious doesn’t make me paranoid. After all, sometimes they really are out to get you.

Seriously though, the stress associated with opening up the states is almost as viscerally debilitating as closing them down was in the first place.

My main advice to you is the same that I’m giving myself: Take it slow. If you’re not ready to go to the store when everyone else is there, don’t go. I can tell you that there is food on the shelves. Today when we went they didn’t have everything I wanted but I just picked alternatives, like in pasta – cavatappi instead of penne, thin spaghetti instead of angel hair. They didn’t have Bertolli’s pasta sauce but they did have Prego. Meats were all on sale and we got everything we came for. The only thing we didn’t get that was on our long list was Alfredo sauce. 

My church is still livestreaming on Facebook Live four times a week. If they came back on Sunday, I would still not attend. If you’re not comfortable, there is no reason for you to go to the building for your worship service. There are appropriate alternatives.

If you’re working from home, see if you can extend that. 

If you’re in a house, get outside once a day. You don’t have to go anywhere – just breathe in the fresh air. Of course, if it’s snowing, like it was here in New York on Saturday, maybe avoid that. If you’re in an apartment, go for a drive. I will take a drive at least once a week (and not go through a drive through) just for a change of pace.

Go to bed earlier than usual. Turn off the electronics, get away from the internet and social media, take a quiet half an hour before sleeping. I may have mentioned that I’ve been sleeping with an eye mask. The light pressure of it has a way of calming me down for sleep, which surprised me, but it seems to work for me; maybe it will work for you.

Share some of your coping and stress relievers in the comments so we can all benefit from each other. We are all in this together.

Domestic Violence and Abuse

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Nine years ago today, my friend was murdered by her ex. Up until that point, I was mostly unaware of the enormous domestic violence problem we have in this country.

I was unawware that 1 in 3 people are abused in their relationships.

I was unaware that women go to jail more for defending themselves against their partners than their partners do for abusing them.

I was unaware that I was part of the problem by not believing my friend when she did talk about her experiences in our mutual friend circles.

I was unaware.

We can no longer live in the darkness of ignorance; of platitudes; of living in our own bubbles.

If you know someone who is being abused, reach out. They may not accept your overtures, but they’ll know that you will be there when they are ready.

If you are being abused, there is help.

Contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-700-7233 or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

or online at The Hotline

In New York State, there are new options available related to an uptick (30% higher in this past April than in April 2019) in the domestic abuse incidents and reports since our pandemic related isolation began.

Coronavirus and Domestic Violence (NY Times)

New Yorkers in Need of Help or Assistance Can Text 844-997-2121 

or Can Go to the New Confidential Online Site to Reach a Professional on http://www.opdv.ny.gov

Office of Prevention of Domestic Violence in NY

Mental Health Monday – Mental Health Awareness Month

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Each Monday from now until the second week in June will be the Mental Health Monday series with suggestions, resources, and coping tools. I would love for you to share what works for you in the comments, and I can gather them together for a future post for others.
It is more important than ever to be aware of our mental health, what triggers we face, and how to cope and overcome some of the difficulties.

Awareness is especially relevant in today’s world while we struggle through this unprecedented global pandemic with new surprises popping up every day in all aspects of our lives.

Today, instead of working on a more detailed first post, I was taking care of my own mental health, enjoying Star Wars with my family, eating comfort food (Kraft Macaroni & Cheese), praying the rosary, seeing my son for the first time in a long time, and most importantly, ignoring Twitter. Sometimes you just need to know when to stop and step away, and for me, that was today.

I have three resources to offer you today:

NAMI – National Association of Mental Illness

My own COVID-19 Mental Health and Crisis Information During the Pandemic Post
Wil Wheaton – he is very open about his depression and anxiety and many of his personal essays are helpful, even if only for knowing that you are not alone.

Not So Free Comic Book Day

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​The first Free Comic Book Day took place in 2002, and has been held on the first Saturday in May since then. We’ve gone every year, once being the first in line at our comic store. We’ve sometimes driven to several comic stores in one day, not just for the free aspect of the comic book day, but visiting other small business comic stores to offer our support. We’ve seen the Batmobile, we’ve met artists (John Hebert) and writers, we’ve had our photos taken with superheroes! 

In 2002, we had one child, and he was five. He is now the oldest of three, and just turned twenty-three. We are all sad that this year’s event is indefinite. Unfortunately, 2020’s celebration has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic amid global isolation requirements.

While we can’t celebrate in person at our favorite comic stores, we can still find some time to sit down with our favorite freebies from last year or the year before. During these uncertain times, we’ve still “visited” our local comic store weekly for curbside service to pick up bagging and boarding supplies, older comic books that we’ve missed, and simply saying hi and supporting our local, small business. The owner is equally happy to see us as we are to see him. It also gives some semblance of “normal” for our son, who, while he inherited his comic love from his father, is the biggest collector in our house and really looks forward to his weekly comics.

We’ve been told that new comics will be shipping to receive in store on Wednesday, May 20th. We will see what our local guidelines are for re-opening, but if not open, we will still be able to get our new comics curbside.

The FCBD website promises downloadable color sheets in the future so check there now and then until they’re available. 

In the meantime, take a blank sheet of paper of tear a lined page out of a spiral notebook, and write, illustrate, decorate your own comic book cover. Enjoy the reading, and add your name to their e-mailing list so you’re the first to find out when Free Comic Book Day will be held this year!

Can’t wait to see you, hopefully soon!

Masks, Take 2 (Updated 4/29/20)

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ETA:  What’s it Like to Be Deaf when Everyone is Wearing Face Masks?

Wearing Eyeglasses with a Face Mask
I will also updating the two mask posts into one post next week so it’s all in one space. I will also include a photo of my newly made face mask.

I discovered that instead of folding my bandana into halves twice that folding it into halves and then thirds made the mask less bulky and it fit better. It also doesn’t sit as high up under my glasses and caused less fogging. The CDC has directions (the bandana directions are at the bottom of the link), but the gist of it is the same as the original that I posted, which can be found here.

Photo below cut:

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