MOM NEEDS US
We’ve often heard that “being a mom is hard.” It’s especially difficult during a pandemic. And if you’re a woman of color with children? Even more punishing.
While much is being asked right now of so many moms, so little is available to them, including outlets for needed social interaction due to COVID-19 restrictions. With shortages of well-paying jobs and affordable child care, as well as disrupted school schedules this fall, it’s no wonder we’re seeing increasing numbers of minority women reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depressive disorders are treatable, but only a small percent of those affected receive treatment. And although the pandemic is increasing the number of people suffering from depression and anxiety, it’s also limiting the resources available to those who need them.
Treating depression or anxiety can only happen if it’s identified. Warning signs for these conditions include avoiding things you previously enjoyed, ranging from activities to certain foods. Other possible signs for anxiety include shakiness, increased heart rate, tightness in your chest or rapid breathing or feeling like your thoughts are racing. You could be suffering from depression if you’re isolating yourself, having negative thoughts or regularly feeling sad.
It’s important to ask for help if you need it. Picking up the phone to talk to a friend or relative can do a lot to help work through conflicting thoughts or feelings. They can also help identify changes in your behavior that may not be apparent to you – and help you to identify resources for what you are experiencing.
Thoughtful breathing also can be helpful, particularly something called the “square breathing technique,” which involves taking a deep breath in for a few seconds, holding the deep breath and slowly exhaling and then holding for another period before repeating. The effort should help move the focus toward breathing and away from a stressful event or episode.
Take a step back and acknowledge your feelings and identify the thing or things that are still in your control. This is a time for small goals, for sure. Being able to identify small, specific goals to help get you to where you want to go or how you want to feel is a big part of the journey to get to those places. Failing to acknowledge your changing emotions or even attaching a negative connotation to a difficult situation just means you’re avoiding it and that will add anxiety.
It’s particularly important for parents to take steps toward acknowledging and beginning to address their anxiety and depression because these are things that don’t just stay with them. Children can experience their parents’ anxiety and even withdrawal, possibly burdening them with the feeling that they have to do more or work harder to make their parents feel better.
If you, a friend or a relative is experiencing a mental health crisis that cannot wait, don’t wait. The expert team at Willow Creek Behavioral Health is a phone call away, 24/7. Call (888) 464-1498, or toll free at (844) 308-5050, to be connected with a mental health professional who can help to determine the next steps – including setting up an in-person assessment the same day.
We’ll get through this together!