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A Mental Health Attorney’s Reflections on 2020

Processing loneliness, economic pain, illness and death, and finding hope.

Source: Fizkes/Shutterstock

In these last days of 2020, it’s worth reflecting on all that’s transpired during this tragic and unprecedented year. The loneliness, economic pain, fear, illness and death have been very difficult for people to take in. It requires processing, especially with COVID surging. We still don’t have a clear picture of what we’ve been through and when it will end.

Many people I know, including myself, have felt a lasting emotional toll. The avalanche of bad news has affected our well-being, as have the realities of social distancing and isolation. And there’s been little time to truly and thoroughly consider the impact.

It has been helpful knowing that my work is essential. My legal practice has long provided urgently needed help to families whose loved ones have serious mental illness and related mental health concerns. Counseling them has always brought me tremendous fulfillment, and 2020 was no exception, even when it became difficult to bear witness to their suffering. It broke my heart to hear the extent of their stress and anxiety, amplified by COVID.

Yet they inspired me. Faced with overwhelming circumstances, they made the best immediate decisions before them, going step by step one day at a time. They did their best, like so many of us, trying to stay safe and protect the ones most dear to them. Though there is no vaccine for mental illness, there remains recovery and stability.

Thinking about their strength and courage helps me feel hopeful for 2021: New year. New administration. New chapter of the pandemic. New perspective that will hopefully usher in a more just and compassionate society. It allows for a sense of optimism.

I hope others share this positive sentiment, understanding how difficult it can be to feel hopeful when inundated by tragedy, misinformation, division, and adversity. But we can work together, and we will bring about change from that.

For those struggling, please seek help where you can find it. For those hopeful, please nurture your hope. I thank you for reading my posts and wish you all the joy of the holidays now and into our future.

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