Self-Care for You and Yours: CONNECT

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Barbara G. Melamed, PhD, ABPP

We are never alone… but we must pay greater attention to the people we love… and even those around us who don’t look like us, pray like us, or speak like us… they too deserve tolerance and gratitude. Watch the ZEN pig with your children or grandkids.  Maybe it is we grown-ups that have a lesson to learn.  It’s not about wealth.  It is about how we spend our time… not our $$$.

GRATITUDE and TOLERANCE. Remember we all bleed red blood.  No more wars.  The message of the VIRUS is to be Virtue US… work at being united instead of declaring and fearing our differences. Embrace them instead.  We must build a new foundation… Let us all remember that we need to CONNECT. Yes, some of us are ready to give our lives to help others survive.  But we are all of value and we need to remember that sleep, exercise, prayer, even helping wash the dishes…will pay off in dividends.

So, there is a scientific literature as psychologists we all need to espouse.  Poor health and potential PTSD is related to our anxiety, stress, and loneliness.1 Therefore, the best way to help ourselves is to help others and stay Connected3 whether through Facetime, iPads or Jitterbug phones.  Help our kupuna (elders in Hawaiian) live through the storms. No one deserves to die by themselves.  The New York Times (Sunday, May 17, 2020) quoted Dr. Mark Rosenberg:” There is a wave of depression, letdown, true PTSD and a feeling of not caring anymore that is coming.”  Psychologists, let us step up and prove him wrong.

Camus wrote in “The Plague” (1947), describing how pandemic quarantine felt like people were ”sleepwalkers” … who find heightened emotions of the first weeks devolving into despondency and detachment …a shared sense of isolation vying with a sense of injustice… as the poor, Black, Hispanic and other minorities without access to good health care are dying in greater numbers.

Get out 3 pictures… not virtually, if you still had a camera, smell it, view her/him/them and say three things you will always remember about the people and the event.  Remember too the solidarity we saw in the aftermath of 9/11[4] Those individuals at risk for depression and trauma-related memories at Mercy College, a Hispanic Serving University, who reported a positive active coping strategy following the Twin Towers devastation, were more likely two years later to go on with their education, jobs and family.

Thomas Di Grazia, sees COVID-19 as an opportunity for reflection and more focused mindfulness—issues such as economic inequality among people, addressing the climate crisis, fashioning a more environmentally sensitive world, gender inequality, our nation’s slave past and present lingering racism, gun violence, immigration justice and correctional reform, homelessness, medical health (insurance) insecurity, and existentially for us humans…our inability to realize and become Un Solo Popolo, or All One People–connected together in time and apace, as we zoom through our Universe with our rendezvous with  destiny. …the hallmark of human survival through the eons—human connection and reciprocal kindness… We Shall Overcome—together.    Connect.

1  Miller, M.W., Wolf, E.J. and Keane, T.M. (2014). Posttraumatic stress disorder in DSM-5:  New criteria and controversies. Clinical Psychology:  Science and Practice, 21, 208-220.

2 Lee, I.C. (2019). Connect:  How to Find Clarity and Expand Your Consciousness with Pineal Gland Meditation. Best Life Media.

3 Melamed, B. (2017) Chapter 13. Violence in our own backyard:  September 11th revisited.  In R. G. Stevenson & G.R. Cox (Eds.) Perspectives on Violence and Violent Death (pp. 203-220). Taylor & Francis Group.