The Real Meaning Behind — Be Gentle With Yourself

One day in March of 2020 I experienced my first of many panic attacks. I had run out to pick up my meds at the nearby pharmacy. I returned home when I finally lost control and broke down. I couldn’t hide the tears anymore as they stung my eyes and rolled down my face.

I would describe the four months which followed as ‘the crisis stage.’ At that time, I was barely able to do anything for myself and needed the constant help of a network of people around me. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and was prescribed medication to help with this.

That was over 18 months ago and, since then, I’ve managed to like myself enough to reinvent myself. Though I still feel as if I’m only at the start of a long journey, I’ve started to change.


This is the story of the steps I happened upon which helped me along the way.

Live in the Moment

Much of my time has been spent in reflection trying to learn lessons about my past. But all I was doing was reliving so much guilt from the things I did wrong. When I tried to look forward and plan, fear tended to pin me down. My critical self constantly reminded me that I was neither capable nor worthy of anything too successful.

As much the lesser of the evils as anything else, I started to realize that there was not too much to hate about myself if I simply contemplated the person I was in the present. That was the first spark of light in the darkness.

While a lot of people have told me different techniques to use when having a panic attack unfortunately what they don’t understand is what it is like being in one and not being able to have any control.

Although I have found some techniques I have worked on keeping my stress and anxiety to a minimum unfortunately the thing with anxiety or panic attacks are sometimes you don’t know the source that is causing you to be stressed.

I can remember having an argument with my mother. And before I knew it my heart rate was up, my breathing was fast and shallow, it was very difficult for me to focus on anything other than the object in front of me. Then I felt my body go on auto pilot where I was no longer in the driver seat. Oh I felt my body starts to rock back and forth very slowly and subtle at first but gradually and very quickly mind you my momentum and speed of my rocking picked up faster and faster.

Of course I understand it’s never as easy as just deciding you want to live in the present. medical conditions such as addictions or psychological conditions like PTSD can make that simply impossible without some professional help. What I do know, however, is that living in the present between my first step to achieving some self compassion.

You Are Enough

I quickly return to an old familiar friend, reading. I was late returning after a long journey finally returning home to something you know and feel comfortable with it finally gave me up a safe place to go to.

As I started to read I had a heartbreaking moment of self-awareness: I realized how much self-hate I’ve been nurturing myself with over the years. It broke my heart knowing that every time I had it to the opportunity I have slammed the door in my own face, telling myself I did not deserve it.

Realizing this finally helped me Sees something that I’ve been missing. There is no “better” me and equally, there’s no need for one. I don’t need to be richer, lighter, more successful, or better dressed. I need to work with the forgetful disorganized woman reflected in the mirror. That is the same woman with the imagination, the dream, and the thirst to have her own business.

Before I could start to fully except the bad and the good in myself, hi need to learn to forgive myself for mistakes of my past. For example like chameleons changing their color to blend in with their surroundings y’all tend to adapt our behavior to the situation we are in. The person I am around my family is not the same person I am when I’m sitting home by myself.

It was time for me to stop in myself up for the bad habits that never seem to change and except that I would never be perfect. So what if I slept late in the mornings, for example? It wasn’t actually laziness; it was because I also stayed up late at night. As long as I put in the hours it didn’t matter when the work day started and when it ended.

Life became much brighter when I realized I had to work with the bad as well as it did. All of me was all I had and that was more than enough.

Find the Treasure Within

Becoming aware that I needed to forgive myself for my bad traits opened my mind to consider what was that about me. People around me seem to notice that I tend to light up like a Christmas tree when I talk about things I’m passionate about, and when I feel like I feel useful.

I was blessed with a very odd side of skills that I am truly happy that I have. However at the same time it makes trying to find a job difficult because I’m so knowledgeable but I don’t have a degree to deal with it. That is why I have done about starting my own business because it is something I truly enjoy and that I am good at and passionate about.

It brings me tremendous joy when my family calls me for a tech question or asked me for advice on something that I am very good about. As a first step, however, you should definitely open your mind to contemplate your positive side.

Moving On

As I’ve been working through this I have been able to recognize the voice of my critical self and to argue with it. I had to challenge are those limiting beliefs and rationalize what I wanted to do.

There are three big steps that I have taken and continuously have to work to get to a point where I can believe in myself and enjoy the world around me.

  • Live in the moment
  • Realize that you are more than good enough, warts and all.
  • Good to know the treasure that is within you that you can share with the world.

For sure these are big steps, and possibly some of the hardest ones you may ever have to take. They may not be for everyone. There are countless ways to get back up on your feet when you’ve been knocked down. By taking these, however, I tend to know who I am, then to love and finally to be that person.

Thoughts on My Grandfather’s Passing A Year Later

It is hard to believe that today marks one whole year since my grandfather’s passing.

I won’t lie it has been a very hard year for me with the pandemic, the onset of my panic attacks, the passing of my grandfather really hit me hard, and unable to say farewell, with a wake and funeral didn’t help matters.

Over the past year I’ve really had some time to think about my grandfather who he was as a man and this one makes me laugh the most. Whenever he would watch a New York Yankees game he would start yelling at the TV like the players could hear him like he was the manager.

To help me cope with his loss I’ve started watching the New York Yankees more than I ever have this season and I laugh every time I do because I find myself yelling at the TV just like he would. I find that it has helped me with missing him because when I do that I feel as though he is sitting there on the couch with me watching the game yelling at it with me.

My grandfather and I as a baby.

What is the most difficult for me in this past year is I still miss him very dearly and I would give anything to have one more hug from him (his hugs were the BEST, and to hear him call me squirt one more time.

I still have so many questions for him that will never be answered, I miss hearing stories about the old Troy days, even if he changed the names.

I will forever miss him but I do know that he’s no longer suffering as hard as it is I know that he is in a better place and he will always be with me.

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since he passed I still remember that day like it was yesterday and I always will because my bond with my grandfather is hard to explain but we were very close.

Shortly after his passing about a week later a cardinal showed up in my Rhododendron bush In my backyard and I see him there every single day staring directly at my house. They say that cardinals are representative of a spirit that has passed on and I do believe that.

I believe that he is still with me and always will be. I will always be his squirt, always and forever. Happy Anniversary on getting your wings Poppa, if anyone deserved their wings it would be him.

What Happens When Americans Can Finally Exhale

About this time a year ago, the United States Seemed stuck on a COVID-19 plateau. Although 1,300 Americans were dying from the disease every single day, the states began to reopen in a patchwork fashion, and an anxious nation was looking ahead to an uncertain summer. Twelve months later, the situation is very different. Cases are falling quickly. About half as many people are dying every day. Several vaccines were developed faster than experts had dared to predict, and proved to be more effective than they are dared to hope. Despite a shaky start, the vaccination campaign has been successful, and almost half of the country has received at least one shot, including 85% of people older than 65. As the pandemic rages on elsewhere in the world, the US Is eyeing a summer of reconnection and rejuvenation.

But there is another crucial difference between May 2020 and May 2021: people have now lived through 14 months of pandemic life. Millions have endured a year of grief, anxiety, isolation, and rolling trauma. Some will recover uneventfully, but for others the quiet moments after adrenaline fades and normalcy returns may be unexpectedly punishing. When they finally get a chance to exhale, the breath may emerge as sighs. “People put their heads down and do what they have to do, but suddenly, when there’s an opening, all these feelings come up,” says Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, the founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute. Lipsky has spent decades helping people navigate the consequences of natural disasters, mass shootings, and other crises. “As hard as the initial trauma is,” she said, “it’s the aftermath that destroys people.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a singular disaster — Every turn series of traumatic events that have eroded the very social trust and connections that allow communication to recover from catastrophes. Even now, with COVID-19 cases in the US falling and vaccinations rising, many people whom Lipsky works with are struggling. Things are getting better, so why don’t they feel better? “A lot of them are really confused by it, because they feel like they made it through and 10 see a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

If you’ve been swimming furiously for a year, you don’t expect to finally reach dry land and feel like you’re drowning.

A brief note on the word trauma: psychologists and psychiatrists still debate its definition. Some feel the word is used to loosely. Others argue that the official definition — Which requires actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence — Inappropriately it excludes serious life events such as divorce, unemployment, or some chronic illnesses. Some argue that you cannot be traumatized by watching news coverage of disasters, and others say you can. Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist at the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, thinks in terms of “big-7 trauma” (the officially defined term) and “little -t trauma” (its colloquial cousin). Both meaningfully affect one’s mental health. “We can be too nitpicky about where something ends and something else begins,” she said. “If someone feels bad and it affects their day-to-day life, it’s a mental health problem, and I don’t really care what you call it.”

Even in the more restrictive big-T sense, The pandemic has produced trauma at an enormous scale. Millions of COVID-19 long haulers spent months with debilitating symptoms, and many are still sick. And one study, 30% of people with lab confirmed COVID-19, most of whom have not been hospitalized, We’re still experiencing symptoms after an average of six months. Many are struggling with the boys in town world of disability benefits and long-term diagnoses such as myalgic encephalomyelitis. Many Americans who were hospitalized with COVID-19 will still be affected too. At the height of the winter surge, 132,000 people filled US emergency rooms. Based on evidence from Italy and from the past coronavirus epidemic’s about a third of those people — And the hundreds of thousands more who are hospitalized before and after that moment — will develop PTSD.

At least 580,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and this official tally probably omits hundreds of thousands of Unaccounted deaths. Because each the leaves in average of nine close relatives bereaved, roughly 5,000,000 Americans have been grieving parents, children, siblings, spouses, or grandparents at a time when funerals, bedside goodbyes, and other rituals of mourning and loss have been disrupted. Some may feel guilty about surviving, as the New Yorkers who narrowly missed the 9/11 attacks, Or gay men who were “spared at random” by HIV during the 1980s. Some grievers may not heal for a long time. In normal circumstances about 10% of bereaved people develop prolonged grief, but coming in capacitated by interns all consuming grief that persists for more than a year and flattens their life. About half 1 million Americans will likely feel this way — Which is roughly the population of Atlanta. Grief will germinate across the Sims for sale cracks that the pandemic exploded and widened: indigenous, pacific islanders, Latino and black Americans were men were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans, And are therefore more likely to have lost loved ones to the disease.

Medical traumas were compounded by social stressors including unemployment, isolation, the rigors of full-time parenting Without childcare, and a year of lost opportunities. Against the trauma backdrop, other tragedies unfolded: the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many other Black people by police officers; a record wildfire season; the insurrection at the US Capitol; The Texas power of crisis; and machines in Atlanta and elsewhere. “There’s has been in the ongoing set of test stating collective traumas that Have really not abated,” says UC Irvine’s Roxane Cohen Silver, A psychologist who has studied trauma for decades.

The pandemic itself has not fully abated, either. Even as Americans ponder “post pandemic” life, 600 people are still dying from COVID-19 every day. Do you spite the historic success of the vaccination campaign, the rate of vaccinations is slowing, and is the lowest among the most socially vulnerable communities. COVID-19 is burning with renewed ferocity through India, much of South America, and other countries. Globally the pandemic is set to kill more people in 2021 than in 2020.

A sweeping and continuous process produces to almost paradoxical phenomena. First, people become inured and apathetic from suffering at a mass scale, experience with psychologist Paul Slovic, of the University of Oregon has called psychic numbing. But people are also becoming sensitized to further traumas in their own life. Silver has repeatedly found this pattern among people who experience successive disasters, such as 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, and the Boston Marathon bombings. Many didn’t habituate: each new blow brought more stress, not less. “Around the one-year anniversary of COVID, a number of journalist asked me, ‘It’s been a year; why are we adjusted to this?'” Silver said. “I found that question very unusual.”

The pandemic hasn’t been a one off disaster but “a slow, recurrent onslaught of worsening things,” adds Tamar Rodney, From the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, who studies trauma. “We can’t expect people to go through that and for everyone to come out the other side being fine. People have suffered in between, and those affects must be addressed, even if we’re walking around maskless.”


In 1969, the psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote that people with terminal illnesses go through five emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. This influential model H did self into the public consciousness and has been applied to every flavor of grief and loss, including that of COVID-19. But it is deeply misleading, and always has been. Grief is unpredictable. It doesn’t involve clearly defined stages. It doesn’t unfold linearly. It doesn’t necessarily and an acceptance. And grief takes long meandering and varied paths that popular myths do little to prepare us for.

People who endure long bouts of stress often collapse when they get a chance to be calm. Soldiers who returned to the every day world “describe it as boring, which gives him more time to think about what happened in the theater of war,” Steven Taylor, a psychiatrist at the University of British Columbia said. Similarly he predicts that in the quiet moments after COVID-19 infections Wayne, healthcare workers may remember the patients they lost, or the Morley challenging decisions I had to made about appropriating care. That if they did quiet moments between dealing with surgeries that were rescheduled during surges and patients who are coming in sick or than usual because they deferred care. “You’re just frayed but you have to do everything that didn’t get done,” Saskia Popescu, an infection preventionist at George Mason University, said last summer. “You don’t get a mental break.”

Even Americans who were spared the big-T traumas of the emergency room still experienced a year of fear, uncertainty, and disruption. They too might experience during moments of unexpected reflection, even as the national outlook begins to brighten. “When you get a chance to realize that your safety or your family safety is no longer at rest, you think, What was that experience like for me?” Said gold, the Washington University psychiatrist. “Your answer could be I haven’t slept in months, or I feel miserable, or My kid is really angry and upset all the time. I think the curve [of mental health problems] is likely to go up exponentially once people have time to even realize that mental health is part of the equation.”

Such problems can be especially disquieting at times when people are expecting to feel renewed. Lipsky, the trauma specialist, said she has worked with many people who are “struggling with the struggle.” They might be nurses, doctors, judges, activists, or parents — hypercompetent individuals who are used to handling a constant baseline of stress, and you act as bad rocks and caregivers for their teams, communities, and families. The added burdens of the pandemic to overwhelmed them, and rocked their identities. “People don’t recognize themselves,” Lipsky said. “They say, ‘Are used to be the person who dealt with really hard things.’ I had parents questioning whether they were even meant to be a parent.”

Not everyone will feel this way perhaps most Americans won’t. In past work, Silver, the UC Irvine psychologist found that even communities that go through extreme traumas, such as Years of daily rotted fire, can show low levels of PTSD. Three factors seem to protect them: confidence in authorities, isn’t a belonging, and community solidarity. In the US, the pandemic wrote it all three. It reduce trust in institutions, separated people from their loved ones, And why didn’t political divisions. It was something of a self reinforcing disaster, exacerbated by the conditions that make recovery harder.

“I don’t feel that we’re doomed,” Silver said. “I do still believe that we will get through this.” She and other experts I’ve heard speak noted that people are resilient, and often more so than they realize. But they also agree that the rhetoric of individual resilience can often do you use to plaster over institutional failures: the shortage of mental health care providers, the labyrinth of insurance system, The lack of support from employers, the stigma around seeking care at all, and the societal tendency to bottle up grief. “I don’t know anyone who looks to the US as a model for grieving and mourning,” Lipsky said. “We don’t talk about loss. By and large, it’s all about consumption to help numb you out.”


Lori Peek, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said that recovery from disasters is usually gaged in terms of dollars regained, jobs restored, and infrastructure rebuilt. Mental health is harder to measure, and so easier to ignore. She is worried that the understandable societal desire to move past the pandemic will further alienate people who are still dealing with grief or symptoms. “What if someone is truly suffering and reaches out for help six months from now, and is told, ‘What are you talking about? The pandemic was ages ago?'” Peek said.

Loss can linger longer than expected. The time frame for recovering from disasters “is measured not in months, but in years or decades,” Peek said. In many cases last been on the lifespan of human compassion. In late 2005, the people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina initially found an outpouring of support, including meals, clothes, furniture, money, and music. But by early 2006, goodwill Dave way to watch disaster relief workers called Katrina fatigue and what the evacuees just called discrimination. “People were like, ‘Aren’t these people going home?'” Peek said. “And they had no homes.”

Similar tendencies are a parent now, as commentators wonder why many Americans are still anxious and risk averse, even as the US begins to wake from its pandemic nightmare. “I think some people believe we pressed ‘pause,’ and we’ll go back to the way things were before, as if we didn’t have all the intervening experiences, as if 2020 didn’t happen, as if getting a vaccine erases your memory,” Gold said.

Consider the latest phase of the ceaseless discourse around masks. The SARS-CoV-2 Virus spreads primarily through shared indoor air, the vaccines are extremely effective, and breakthrough infections among vaccinated people are rare. It’s reasonable, then, for the CDC to advise fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outdoors. (The agency’s surprising move to extend those guidelines indoors is more debatable.)

But it is also reasonable for people to want to continue wearing masks, to feel anxious that others might now decide not to, or be dubious that strangers will be honest about their vaccination status. People don’t make decisions about the present in a temporal vacuum. They integrate across their past experiences. They learn. Some have learned that the CDC can be slow in its assessment of evidence, or confusing and it’s proclamations. They watch their fellow citizens rail against steps that would protect one another from infection study time in the US had already weather deadlines of a road in social trust. They internalize the lessons of a year in which they had to fend for them selves, absent support from a government that repeatedly downplayed a crisis that was evidently unfolding. “We had no other protections all year,” gold said. “We had masks. No one else protected us. It’s understandable that the people would be hesitant about taking them off.”

For some people, taking of a masterful mean just exposing the bottom half of their face. But for others, it signifies that they must reevaluate their understanding of versed in danger yet again, with fewer emotional reserves at hand. “I feel more cleaning towards the routines I’ve established,” Whitney Robinson, a social epidemiologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said. “Summer feels like an unknown, and kind of exhausting. [It means]’s navigating new situations, reestablishing relationships, and deciding on COVID norms. It feels tiring.”


Nicolette Louissaint, Is the executive director of Healthcare Ready, and non-for profit that works to prepare for disasters by strengthening medical supply chains. She and her team started working full tilt in January 2020, well before most of the US to COVID-19 seriously. The world has taken a toll, and isn’t over. “Our personal lives are stabilizing, but there is still this fatigue from our professional lives,” she said. “And we are less than a month from hurricane and wildfire season.”

Those who work in emergency preparedness talk about panic neglect cycles, where people and politicians lose interest in a crisis once it abates, With drawing attention and resources that are needed to prevent the next one. Louissaint Where is that the US is set to go through that cycle again. “There is a sense the political world and energy is now there, and might not be in a year,” she said. “At some point, no one’s going to want to hear about this anymore, so will be fighting for infrastructure and investment, and we’ll be right back here to where we are. Even now, when we do our normal trainings to get communities prepared for natural disasters, the feed that we often get is ‘Oh my God, I can’t even think about that right now,'” Louissaint said. “So what happens when we have to face it?”

Louissaint was asked what she says to people who have just had enough, who feel they’ve maxed out on their quota of catastrophe, who just want to move on from the pandemic, or who equate tired of preparedness with fearmongering. “I think there’s a difference between sitting around fearing that the worst will come and actually understanding the things we must be prepared for,” she said. “If we are more prepared, we wouldn’t have to worry as much.”

“If you don’t want to have this conversation anymore, I understand. I don’t either,” she added. “My challenge is: how do we get to a position where we can afford not to?”