The Maggie Blog
First Entry: 02/28/2020
My path from independent self-employment to public service worker and ultimately, rehabilitation counselor and mental health counselor, has been a journey of learning and growth. In the midst of parenthood, I also found myself a public education activist and intersected with activists supporting children and education in a multitude of ways with inclusivity concerns for children based on special ed or advanced placement status, language, culture, race, poverty and LGBTQ status. I met the most wonderful, creative, intelligent and forward thinking people in that circle of advocates and then continued to seek out people and places that add value to community.
Rehabilitation Counseling is a relatively unknown field, 100 years old this year and began due to a need to help soldiers returning from World War I to rehabilitate their lives and futures with whatever barrier they might be facing. In our work we help people rebuild their lives even when barriers from mental illness to physical debilitation are in the way. Here is an article discussing the history from the American Counseling Association:
And Now the Covid-19 Upends Our World: 03/15/2020
Our communities are in upheaval right now as everyone grapples with decisions to follow health directives, to get enough supplies put up in case of a need to quarantine, to do protective isolation, to understand what the symptoms of concern might be. The economy is already suffering, jobs might be in the balance. We don't know what is going to happen next as we watch events through this public health crisis sweeping the world. Many people are feeling anxious and depressed and a bit confused. We need each other but we need to maintain social distancing. Suddenly many people are developing skills for working at home and for staying in contact with friends, family and colleagues without being able to see them in person. We hope things will return to normal but some things might not swing back into place after this.
I'm seeing people reaching out to help each other, setting up Facebook accounts for neighborhood helpers and people in need. I have seen people in the crush of near panic at the grocery store people smiling and making way for others and showing kindness in a stressful time. People are setting up GoFundMe projects to help those who's industry has just come to a screeching halt, others are thinking of ways to retool theirs to serve the needs of the public in this changing economy.
Now is a good time to get used to communicating by video calls as we struggle to remain in community and continue to do our work. It is exciting to see so many companies and organizations making resources available to families and children during this time of sequestration (example: https://digitallearningday.org/online-resources/ , https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/earlylearning/families.html , https://mymodernmet.com/free-online-art-resources/ ) Reach out, contact your circle and enjoy your quiet time away from the bustle of the world.
Uncertainty in the time of Covid-19
As we watch the slow roll of a national disaster with city after city and state after state declaring emergencies and hospitals and medical workers crying out for supplies to keep themself safe, we are staying home and away from anyone or thing that could get us infected with the virus. Suddenly families are together 24/7, working at home if they can and children studying at home if they can. We worry about the family member who must continue to go to work in the midst of this, especially if they are health care workers. Anyone could bring the virus home with them. We are beginning to hear about friends who have fallen ill.
We are hearing lots of cheerful messages about new events, educational resources and entertainment that is newly available free online. People suddenly learning to communicate in the virtual world. We are adapting our work and family and social time with such speed we are surprising ourselves. And we are hearing horror stories of overwhelmed hospitals and people dying waiting for care.
A great many of us have just been laid off or even terminated due to the crisis. Although there are new resources made available to workers, they are not in place yet and no one really knows if they qualify or how long it might take to get relief in any direction. The politicians squabble over whether the workers or the wealthy should get help and how soon and with what oversite. We have this strange new awareness that the whole world with all of its cultures and differences are all experiencing this crisis together.
The bills will come due. The unemployment will rise, some new jobs are available, but not enough of them for everyone. The world is definitely shifting under our feet. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, some estimates stretch out to a year or a year and a half.
This is where we need all the creativity and vision we can muster and to find our inner resilience. Others are sharing what is working for them, enhancing social connections virtually and by phone, looking for ways to help others, reaching out for help themselves. The following is an excellent resource for “Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty”.