Social isolation, day 4 (well, day 3 for me, because I provided office coverage on Monday). How nobody was expecting to spend 2020, right?
One thing I’ve noticed since working as a sexual assault counselor is that people’s emotions are quite affected by environmental changes. It’s fascinating to see my clients, most of whom do not know each other, respond similarly to what’s going on in their world. Around every March everyone is sick of winter and is ready for spring. There’s a weird tension that arrives in August—maybe because it’s going to get colder soon or back to school? And the holiday season, from November to December, is a really hard time for many of my clients—even harder because to them, it seems like they are alone while everyone else is celebrating.
So here we are in unprecedented times, and yet my clients are feeling so similar right now. It hasn’t been too cold and our steady mild temperatures should mean that spring is here, but I don’t know anybody celebrating right now. Birds are chirping right outside the window, but it just doesn’t feel right. I wish people were seeing that hopefulness of spring right now, but it’s hard to see when everything just feels so wrong.
There’s a lot of bewilderment right now. A lot of my clients are torn between wanting to continue life as normal and being terrified to leave their homes. Most feel out of control and feel forced to react instead of act. These are common survivor feelings, but now even our environment is saying, “No, you don’t.” It’s overwhelming and frustrating to say the least.
If empowerment is key to my clients, why isn’t that something we can try now? I challenge everyone I know—clients and otherwise—to do SOMETHING. What is it you always wanted to learn to do? What do you need to do around your house? Is there a new meal you’d like to cook? It doesn’t even have to be a learned skill; it could be a new show you want to watch on Netflix, a new trail you’d like to hike, or even a different daily routine. Think of the last time you said, “I don’t have time.” You just might have some time now. Reclaim it. It’s yours.
This post was contributed by Alicia Rathosky, SARCC Schuylkill Sexual Assault Counselor.