Toni Aswegan answers all our doubts and feelings about the COVID-19 breakout and its impact on our Mental Health.
The world is in a very sensitive and anxious place at the moment.
There's a lot of panic, lots of doubts and even more questions that we all need answers to.
Therefore, with the help of Ms. Toni Aswegan, a renowned mental health counsellor, we decided to conduct our first-ever 'Ask Me Anything' session to get some insights on how the world is feeling, and how normal is pandemic normal.
Our users asked her a wide variety of questions that ranged from some heavy-duty thoughts like “How do I cope with this sense of impending doom?” to something as routine as, “How do I go grocery shopping?”
These responses aren’t just for the users who asked them, but for every one of us who feel this sense of helplessness and anxiety because of this unfamiliar situation, we have been pushed into.
Here is what I learnt from this session:
1. On Validating Your Feelings
We are in the middle of a worldwide trauma. You’re not wrong for feeling how you’re feeling, and you are definitely not alone.
2. On having a support system
Reaching out to one's support system–via Skype dates, online games, texting etc. can prove beneficial, rather crucial in this isolating and confusing time.
3. On Battling Depression
Keep a routine–wake up, shower, get dressed, make the bed, etc. Keep yourself engaged in activities (reading, walking, engaging with friends/family). Move your body. Depression LOVES for us to be still and do nothing because that’s when it starts to take hold strongest. Keep moving. Be kind to yourself.
4. On Disruption of Routines
We will have to adjust a bit and perhaps find alternatives or substitutes, but whatever you can do to approximate your routine will be helpful.
5. On the Little Anxieties
Take deep breaths and focus on what you need. It’s okay to do whatever you need to manage anxiety!
You’re not alone. So many routines are disrupted right now, there's a high level of uncertainty, and that can lead to increased levels of anxiety, even in general.
6. TW: Abuse, On being in environments we don't want to
If you are still dependent, do what you need to do to get your basic needs met. If you’re an adult and out of the house, it is time for boundaries.
These might be spoken, “I can’t continue this conversation if you continue to speak to me like that” or unspoken, like calling/visiting less often or speaking your mind even when your caregivers don’t respond well.
This is a tricky situation, and it is highly recommended that a therapist's help is sought after.
7. On Avoiding Social Gatherings
When we avoid things that generate anxiety, it tends to increase anxiety, so if it feels tolerably stress-inducing, Toni encourages engaging socially anyway (virtually, obviously!)
8. On that Impending sense of doom
Seeking purpose and meaning helps.
It might be something like taking care of your pets, or making delicious food for yourself or learning new things. Whatever it is, find what you value and engage in that. This is one of the biggest things that can help that sense of doom.
It was a new and interesting experience for our community to interact with a counsellor with their queries.
If you like this concept or have more suggestions for us, then do write to us here!
Read the actual AMA here.
If you have any thoughts, feelings, or inhibitions of your own during this time of crisis, don’t hesitate to just talk about it on Now&Me!
All of us are in this together, and the best way to go about it is to be there for each through our joint struggles.
Understand that you are alone.
You’ve got this; we’ve all got this!
Toni Aswegan is a licensed mental health counsellor and majorly focuses on areas of depression, anxiety, trauma, adjustment and life transitions.