A Difficult Time

A Difficult Time

The coronavirus has brought stress to everyone. We are wisely sheltered. People are working from home. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed or available for pick-up or delivery only. Many have lost their jobs. Those who returned from abroad in many cases are quarantined. 

Long lines exist to enter many stores to buy groceries. Senior hours were created and those mean long lines and lengthy waiting periods. Staying six feet apart from each other means walking in the street if someone is on the sidewalk where you are. Finding desirable foods or paper goods is not easy. The doctors, nurses and support staff are exhausted at the hospitals. Supplies are not available to them. Too many are contracting the virus. And many do not return to their homes because they are afraid of contaminating their families.

I suspect I have missed something. But I know you are garnering the essence of what we are going through.

Most people adjusted to being at home together. Work areas were designated. Shopping times were determined. When and how to get outside for a walk or a bike ride was decided. Parents helped with schoolwork, for those students who received it. Teachers did the best they could to arrange for their own children when they did Zoom with their students. Video games became more popular. Netflix boomed. For a while we focused on adjusting.

One woman told me she and her husband of 27 years are now working at home. She has always done the cooking and shopping, happily so. When she was going to the store one day, her husband questioned her and encouraged her to arrange for delivery. She never doubted that he was motivated by care, but the fact that she was challenged irritated her. She has always made her own decisions and not accounted to anyone. She needed to get out of the house, and hands on shopping is her priority still.

We are anxious. Many may be afraid of contracting the virus. Washing hands, wearing gloves, maintaining distance have become a way of life. We are concerned about the economy. We see our own business decreasing, our stocks lowering, and our neighborhood businesses closing.

How long will this last? No school for the remainder of the school year. What will it mean in September? How much room is there in the hospitals if we get sick? How severe will the virus be if we get it? How will we be able to help family members or friends who may contract the virus? What do I do with myself after my house is clean and I am caught up in work?

We will get through this. It is ominous to not know how much longer we need to be contained and afraid. But all of us have evidence in our lives that we are able to get through the unexpected, the scare, and the lack of certainly in life.

Please reach out and ask for help if you need it. There are very willing people available. I am doing therapy over the phone. Do take care of yourself.


Dr. Natalie Gelman is an Alameda-based therapist. Submit questions to drnataliegelman@gmail.com or through her website, www.drnataliegelman.com.