Grace and Our Mental Health Crisis

This morning the sun is shining. It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve seen sunshine, even though I know that’s not true. It was raining yesterday, and yesterday seemed to last about three months. It was a long hard day. Last night our schools announced that they would be staying closed at least through April 24th. Even though I knew that was going to happen, hearing the announcement on the phone felt like a door that I had held cracked open in hope, had been slammed shut in my face. Well shoot. I really AM stuck with figuring out how to school my kids for the next month. 

 

Right now, I am mostly worried about the mental health crisis that has hit our family. I have several children receiving mental health services. I have been receiving mental health services. As life has gotten more overwhelming, my personal doctor offered for me to see their in-house psychologist and we started meeting. It has been helpful to have someone I can talk to in confidence about the challenges I’m facing and who can ask pertinent questions to help me figure out how to proceed. 

 

This week she called me on the phone and said that we would need to do our sessions on the phone for a while. I agreed. Yes. That makes sense. But, it’s sad. I don’t do well talking on the phone. I’m not an auditory person and I find it a bit of a challenge to have phone conversations with anyone except the closest friends and family. I also know that having a private conversation in my home will be next to impossible. And, I know that being able to see someone face-to-face speaks to my soul in a way that phone conversations don’t. 

 

I’m not the only one in the family that is being moved to TeleHealth.  And I know that expecting a child to be able to get anything out of a video conference is ridiculous. It’s not going to be effective. And that is overwhelming to me.

 

At this time, when life has turned upside down, we need these services more, not less. 

 

It’s not anyone’s fault. I understand. Seeing patients face-to-face is putting both patient and provider at risk for exposure to the virus. I understand. 

 

I know that our family isn’t the only one in this boat. This pandemic we are in the middle of is stressful for all members of society. But I think the foster kids and foster parents are being especially hard hit. Strict routine is one of the most valuable tools in the toolbox for helping kids who are processing trauma and hard transitions. It’s also a giant tool for kids who have special needs. There are a lot of families out there whose kids simply can’t handle wearing PJs all day and just doing whatever seems like fun. It just doesn’t work. 

 

As a parent in this situation, I am feeling the urgency to establish a good routine for the house to help give ALL the kids a sense of security. But at the same time, I am so stressed out that I am having a hard time establishing that routine. Are these stay-at-home orders going to affect my husband’s job? (Not yet, thank you Lord.) Are my parents ok? What about my husband’s grandpa in the nursing home? Did my oldest daughter sort out her health insurance? What if she gets sick? Our court case involving our foster kids got delayed because the courts shut down. What is this going to mean for our situation? I heard that covid-19 has reached Haiti. What is this going to mean for our friends and family still there? What will it mean for that country? My friend who lives in Bush Alaska and works in the hospital there told me they only have 7 respirators. What is this going to mean for the town where I graduated high school? What if they get hard-hit? I’m in the process of bringing my son home early from his out-of-state school. How do we get our plane tickets refunded? 

 

All of this is going through my head, and then it’s raining outside, and the kids are fighting with each other, and I feel like I am the last person in the world to be able to handle this situation well. 

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

I guess this is going to have to be my go-to verse. I’m not feeling it. I’m not feeling God’s power. I’m not feeling super-spiritual. All I can see is my weakness and my need right now. My family’s need. So, it becomes an act of faith. I will keep taking one step at a time, exert my tiny bit of strength, and trust that God is going to magnify that effort and turn it into Enough. 

 

My prayers for all of you today as we push through this crazy time, one day at a time. 

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