To say that there's a lot going on in the world right now would be a big understatement. We are all trying to figure out our "new normal" as we come to terms with what life looks like for us now and in the near future due to coronavirus. We are all trying to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy. I knew, as someone who struggles with anxiety, that it was just as important for me to stay on top of my mental health during this time as it was to make sure I was physically healthy. For me, this means finding a routine that works, taking my meds each day, and being sure to stick to my appointments with my wonderful therapist. These days, those appointments take place online using tele-health.
I'll admit that I had some reservations about online therapy appointments. What if it wasn't as helpful because I wasn't actually in the same room with her? Would I still feel a sense of connection looking at a computer screen instead of a person? And speaking of connection - would I have to download a bunch of stuff onto my computer in order to have a safe and secure connection for my session?
Guess what? It was awesome, easy to use, and so very helpful. Here's a brief outline of my experience for those who are a little unsure of how the process might go:
Before my appointment, I received an email with a consent form. Pretty short and to the point- do I agree to receive online services using a secure tele-health platform? I signed it, took a picture, and sent it back to the counseling agency. An email followed with the link to connect to my therapist during my scheduled appointment time the next day.
A few minutes before my appointment, I grabbed my computer, a bottle of water, and found a quiet place in the house. I didn't have to download anything special. I was able to connect with her using a secure website just seconds after clicking the link. While I was worried that the lack of actual face-to-face contact would make the session less helpful, my appointment was just like any of the other appointments I have had with her - except I happened to be in my own home! I found it so helpful to be able to voice some of my anxiety, frustration, and discomfort with the current state of the world, and It was so helpful to find that time to connect with someone outside of my family, my friend circle, or colleagues.
This world we are in is a little surreal right now. There are a lot things changing, but I know that taking care of myself is one thing that needs to stay the same. While the way I connected with my therapist looked a little different, it was still the same comforting, thought-provoking, and stress-relieving kind of connection I needed (and will continue to need) during these times. I encourage everyone to maintain connections with their their trusted counselors and therapists. If you haven't seen a therapist before, but find yourself struggling with anxiety or other mental health concerns during this time, please reach out. There is no time like the present to take care of yourself and your mental health. There are even a few mental health professionals in our community accepting new clients for tele-health appointments. For more information, please reach out to MHA- we are happy to help connect you!
Be well, stay safe at home, and reach out if you need to. Wishing health and happiness to all of you!