May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout the month, RESOLVE shared insights from our therapists to increase awareness of the link between mental health and domestic violence, as well as provide support and resources for all during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oftentimes, there’s a cultural misconception that abusive behavior is a symptom from an anger management problem, a bipolar diagnosis, or a similar mental health disorder. This can justify abuse, lead to the assumption that treating an underlying condition will make abuse disappear, and ultimately perpetuate the cycle of violence. Regardless of mental health diagnoses, abuse is always a choice.
As COVID-19 continues to affect almost every aspect of day to day life, it’s normal to be feeling a mix of emotions – sadness, gratitude, anger, relief, fear, and more. Whatever you’re feeling right now, it’s understandable and it’s valid.
Many survivors who experience violence (whether financial, emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, etc) within intimate relationships struggle with complex trauma. If it feels like you’re living in a war zone, you’re not alone. We’re here, we see you, and we can help.
It can be hard to know where to start if you or a loved one are feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Checking in with yourself and others is a simple gesture that can make a big difference. Here are some questions to reflect on from our RESOLVE therapist, Amy L.
- Are you carving out space to try to allow yourself to get at least 8 hours each night? Are you trying to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time each day?
- Are you drinking enough water?
- Are you getting at least a variety of nutrition?
- Are you moving your body? (getting your heart rate up a little bit at least a few times a week?
- Are you maintaining some social connections in some shape or form? (are you connecting with the people who fill you back up on a regular basis?)
Your emotions and reactions to the current situation are valid, normal, and okay. There isn’t a ‘right’ way to experience collective trauma and loss, there is only your way. These times are tough, but so are you.
Taking care of yourself and others is especially important during this time. Offer support when you can, and offer resources when things may be more than you can handle. Take time for your own self care and encourage your loved ones to do the same. You may be apart, but you are not alone.
Here are some tips from our RESOLVE therapist, Amy L:
- Normalize that this experience is a big deal for everyone, and that everyone is having emotional reactions right now. Be authentic and consider sharing some of your own feelings.
- Pay attention to your own signals of overwhelm. Practice and model self-care and seeking out support.
- Bring in the village – share resources like podcasts, books, websites, virtual classes, or even therapists and other professionals. Remind yourself that you can’t be solely responsible for the other person’s well-being.
- Supporting others while you are also experiencing your own emotional reactions can be exhausting. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to take a break, get extra sleep or boost other forms of self-care.