I am personally enjoying having my husband working from home and my son being a remote college student.

When the quarantine first occurred, my daughters left their home in the Upstate and came and stayed with us. We had a wonderful little quarantine camp! We played board games, had family dinners, laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company. Of course, we talked about world issues and what affects our lives. But what I most enjoyed was discussing our futures and our dreams.

We did not let the outside despairs destroy our dreams!

Those talks were a few weeks ago, and I am still working toward my dreams! My wish for you, the reader, is that you do not allow current world events to distract you from your dreams.

I also mention dreams because I believe dreaming is a great way to encourage positive thoughts for those who might have difficulty with circumstances equated with the coronavirus. Sickness and death were hard to cope with before we heard of the evil known as COVID-19, and now that these life events have escalated, it is more of a challenge. Grieving has become brief and mourning is minimal. There seems to be a void in emotions, and people no longer know how to feel.

People might now be searching for escape from current realities. I suggest we all take some time to dream a little dream.

Think about those things that help us feel good. Think about the dream vacation you want to take when this pandemic is over. Or relish the thought of the shopping you will do when the stores are done with social distancing. Or think about the many places you can volunteer when it is safe to return to everyday movement in society again. Or even while you are still quarantining (that might not officially be a word), find a focus to occupy your mind that can also bring joy. Learn a new language, virtually volunteer for an agency or organization, or write cards/letters of encouragement to friends.

The goal is to help someone who is struggling with reality right now. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I acknowledge there are many people who might feel like no one understands how they may be feeling. And not to sound culture cliche’, but we are all in this together. People who were previously struggling with mental disorders might need extra care. For those who might not know they are mentally or emotionally struggling, it is important to share mental wellness resources and information.

According to NAMI (nami.org), you are not alone:

19.1% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.

4.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2018 (11.4 million people). This represents 1 in 25 adults.

16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people).

3.7% of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2018 (9.2 million people).

These numbers might rise as a result of COVID-19. If you feel like you are depressed or even suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Jennifer Robinson is a wife and mother who loves to travel and meet new people. While in quarantine she has found an interest in reading biographies and has renewed her love for mental health advocacy. She is the director of Empowered to Heal, a nonprofit in Florence.

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