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Extraordinary Times

Not everyone will get Coronavirus, but everyone will be experiencing heightened anxiety and stress. Birmingham Maple Clinic is fully devoted to helping our patients and our community survive during these Extraordinary Times with tips for managing our mental health and helping those we love. When this is over, we will emerge with lots of questions, different fears and concerns, and hopefully, with energy and motivation to live a healthier, more meaningful life. It is our hope that this video service will help you navigate your way through the quarantine and then back into the world.

Extraordinary Times 33: Why Will Psychological Problems Get Worse as We Resume Our Lives?

During the first few months of the quarantine, most people were on “auto-pilot” and making every preparation to take care of their basic needs.  While anxiety and panic were obvious, we did not prioritize our psychological state because there were “more important” needs to attend to immediately; food, shelter, income, and more.  This is normal and not unhealthy.

As we resume our lives and return to work, leave the house more often and safely, find ways to properly interact with other people, our focus on the basic needs relaxes and our psychological needs become more obvious as we may become more symptomatic.  These feelings and experiences are normal and it is imperative that we acknowledge and accept the intense level of emotionality with which we have been living.

If you are unable to cope with your emotions as they surface, give yourself the advantage of consulting a mental health specialist to talk, to process, understand, and learn more about how this crisis has impacted you and learn healthy ways to cope with and resolve your overwhelming emotions.

Extraordinary Times 32: Re-opening May Create More Anxiety Than Quarantine

While we complained and panicked at the thought and reality of lockdown, we found we felt safe in our protected, controlled “bubble.”  As we re-enter, many are experiencing more anxiety than ever before. You are not alone! Many are experiencing more fear, worry, mistrust, anxiety and panic as we are able to gradually move around in the world.

  • These fears are real and sensible, since we have no ability to control how others behave in public.  
  • We have different opinions about re-entry from others in our family, which may cause increased familial conflict.  
  • Kids may overhear and sense their parents’ anxiety about re-entry and may become more symptomatic themselves.

Families need to compromise and address re-entry issues collaboratively in a way that attempts to meet each person’s needs without putting anyone into a totally uncomfortable position.  If you are unable to find a way to reduce anxiety to re-enter the world, you may want to consult a professional mental health care provider.

We are stronger when we move ahead together; on the same page, rather than in conflict and further upsetting the others around you.

Extraordinary Times 31: Isolation as an Opportunity

Isolation is most-often associated with depression and suicidality.  Let’s try to re-frame isolation to see how it may be an opportunity for growth.

  • Try something new
  • Learn to be patient with yourself
  • Give yourself extra room to dream and prioritize
  • Isolation as an opportunity for growth, reflection, development
  • Reframe as peaceful time


Extraordinary Times 30: Siblings Getting Along Better During Quarantine

We might expect sibling rivalry and conflict to intensify during the pandemic, but many families are seeing just the opposite; siblings are getting along better!

There are several reasons for this phenomenon, and we can see this as one of the “silver linings” of coronavirus.

  • Parents are more available and kids are competing for parents’ time that used to be more limited.
  • Kids don’t have friends to play with and siblings have become playmates.

Parents can help reduce rivalry by:

  • Give each child time alone with the parent.
  • More hands-on teaching about the benefits of sharing, taking turns, and valuing each other.
  • Give each child a turn to be “in charge” of the others.
  • Reflect on the nice things the kids did together each day.

Extraordinary Times 29: How Do I Know I Need Therapy?

It is natural and normal to experience anxiety and depression during a time like this. When faced with stressors as we are now, anxiety can help motivate us to problem-solve and seek solutions, while worry and fear about our health and our futures are normal.

Like everything, the question of when to seek therapy, relies upon the degree of our symptoms. It is time to seek help if you find that you are:

  • Unable to perform daily life responsibilities 
  • Abusing or over-using substances 
  • Having thoughts of hopelessness and that life is no longer worth living
  • Decreased appetite and inability/excessive sleep 

Free, on-line screeners to assess your symptoms will help determine whether to pursue therapy at this time. https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools

Extraordinary Times 28: When Will We Return to the Office for Therapy?

We cannot set a specific date for our return to face-to-face therapy yet.  It is still not recommended to meet in an enclosed space for as much time as a therapy session requires.  

Therapists and patients must feel safe to meet in person and if there is any doubt at all, we can always continue using telehealth services

Once we return to the office, all of the recommended safety and health precautions must be met in order to attend in-person sessions.  Birmingham Maple Clinic will provide all of our recommended safety precautions to you well in advance of returning to the clinic and we will do everything to provide a safe, healthy environment for your comfort and security.