What I Do When Everything Feels Out of Control

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I haven’t experienced anything like this national period of concern before. It really snuck up on me, though some people said they heard about it in the news and saw it coming. I hope next time, one of them can tell me so I can prepare a little better. Surprisingly I stocked up on groceries, toilet paper, diapers, and wipes unknowingly before anything went down.

Being pregnant and having a toddler has made me extra emotional and worried on the whole, wanting to make sure my babies are safe and that my husband and I can provide for them by holding onto our jobs and livelihood. For a while, I have been feeling overwhelmed and stressed, unable to sleep well (not that I had been sleeping well anyway because of pregnancy insomnia and my toddler’s teething.)

Things seem dark and I cry sometimes. I try to be present with those emotions so I can experience them and let them out. I had some people telling me that I don’t need to get upset, but I realize that it is ok to allow yourself to have emotions because it’s not healthy to internalize and push them away. It’s ok to have emotions and it’s natural to feel lost when everything feels out of control.

I think in this particular situation since we have been told to practice social distancing, some good options include talking to family and friends or finding an online therapist. I use web chatting to talk to others about how things are going and to get support. I check in with my fellow moms and share what’s going on with me because I know they are feeling the same way and they’ll understand.

One thing that feels like it is helping is to make a list of the blessings that I have. I started writing them out and realized that they are mostly the same as before. I believe that around the corner, things will change just as quickly as they did with the sudden onset of this national problem. I have to trust the authorities and believe that if I’m following what reputable sources tell me to do (the CDC, WHO, etc.) then I will mitigate my risk.

I consider that I finally have an opportunity to focus on my family and bond in a unique way. We can go explore nature or find silly ways to play and dance inside. I can teach my daughter more about language and build some new skills with her. We can get the house ready for our planned upcoming move and then not have to try and get things together further along in my pregnancy. My husband and I have had more time to talk and connect. We even narrowed down our choices of baby names! I have had a chance to call my grandma and relatives who live far away so I can catch up and tell them how much I care.

I look at the situation through my daughter’s eyes as well. She still sees everything as fun and ok. We hear a plane and she gets so excited. The train goes by and she says, “Choo, choo!” Getting on the wagon and going around the block is just as enjoyable as always. The spring flowers started popping up and soon will bloom. Birds have come back from being in the south all winter. We marvel at them together as a family. The world is telling me that it will be ok if I only try to refocus and change my perspective. Just because everything isn’t going my way doesn’t mean it’s a “disaster”. Soon we will be back to normal. Maybe it won’t be exactly the way it was before, but it won’t be this particular way forever.

If I focus on the negative things that are going on and how everything feels out of control, I’ll miss all the beautiful and loving things that are happening. Like the way neighbors help each other and how businesses have stepped up to help young children who need food and lunches. People go out of their way to check on elderly neighbors who might feel forgotten. Our community is brainstorming ways to use school buses and other community resources to deliver supplies to people in need. Teachers give of their time to help students with lessons via webcam.

She says, "Get in, I'm driving!"What other ways are you finding the good in this uncertain time? Please share with us your thoughts on how you keep your chin up and handle life when everything feels out of control. We’re in this together!

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Kristen Scharf
Kristen Scharf is originally from Dayton and attended the University of Dayton for her Bachelor's and Master's degrees (Go Flyers!). She came to Columbus after she got married in 2015. As a native Daytonian, her inspiration for writing for the Columbus Moms Blog comes from Erma Bombeck. She is a licensed school counselor and Certified Orton-Gillingham Practitioner (CALP) who is currently at home with her toddler and doing literacy tutoring in the evenings. She is proud to be an Army wife. She enjoys taking her family out around Columbus so her daughter can play with eating utensils in the wild and eat all the varieties of mac n cheese in Columbus. Her current Mom Fantasy is for her daughter to consistently call her "Mama" instead of "Elmo" or "Dada".

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