Guest column: Mental health supports are in place for those struggling during pandemic
We know that the carrot is an illusion, like a mirage in a dessert, but we keep going forward anyways.
Social media has not helped, perpetuating our insecurities and wildly misportraying what is normal.
For hundreds of years we have been a society driven by morality and religion, right and wrong, while pleasures involving instant gratification were taboo.
Within the past century we have shifted away from this, towards a vanity for instant gratification.
As a society, we were in desperate need for a shift. One that recalibrates our internal “happiness-metre” to search for a sense of contentment over a lust for euphoria.
However, not all was lost. Newton’s Law teaches us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Within that lies the paradox of COVID.
With our freedom restricted, we find ourselves somewhat liberated. There is less commerce, but more savings and more time. Fewer cars on the road, but more people walking the neighborhood. Less desire for vacation and more longing for family gatherings.
We are witnessing that societal shift in perspective that we desperately needed before our eyes.
On the flip side of this paradox is the fallout from COVID — as this lesson comes with significant cost.
We have lost loved ones, stretched our resources thin and the prospect of sudden economic peril is lurking. COVID has not treated everyone fairly. With these circumstances, struggles with mental health will undoubtedly continue.
To add salt to the wound, COVID has kept us from the natural protective measures that help people with mental illness. Socialization is thwarted, recreation is cancelled, even a warming hug or a handshake is taboo, both by law and social stigma.
You may hear a voice through a phone, instead of face-to-face interaction, but we are still here. We may have masks, gowns and gloves, but we are listening.
The medical community overall has once again demonstrated its dedication and selflessness during this plight. Not only clinicians, but all who are involved. From administration, to secretaries, to custodians, and beyond.
Kudos to the local restaurants, grocers, businesses and philanthropists, who have not received enough credit. The list goes on. We have weathered what we know of the storm for now and as we progress towards each phase of re-opening, we step forward with tentative excitement.
However, our recent history has flung many unexpected obstacles in our way. If you are struggling, you are not weak, you are human — and you are not alone. Your mental health professionals, your medical community, your community, we are here.
We have always been here and always will be.
Dr. Pat Montaleone is a psychiatrist who works at Hotel-Dieu Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital.