Social anxiety news and stories round-up

“Taking LSD granted me a temporary lift off my anxiety, which, unfortunately, was chemically induced. I hoped that I would somehow be able to take those benefits into sober life by being in that anxiety-less state as often as I could manage to do so. I also noticed a great increase in my openness and creativity. I was enjoying music like I never had before and drew for hours on end. But it didn’t take long for the negative side effects of my consumption to manifest themselves.”

An insightful and inspiring interview with Vietnamese American mental health activist and travel blogger, Meggie Tran: “My organization, a travel and mental health blog called Mindful Meggie, normalizes the discussion about mental health and its illnesses. Being open about them is the antidote to the negative stigma. I hope that people will be encouraged to acknowledge their mental health struggles, seek help from a medical professional when necessary, and open up to supportive family and friends.

The travel aspect is there to liven up the discussion with fun and relatable content. (After all, lots of people love to travel, or at least, read travel stories). Many of my nonfiction narratives discuss both mental health and travel. I also have practical resources for travelers with a mental health condition, which equalizes the opportunity to travel.

I strive to make my Vietnamese American voice heard. That way, I can invite and empower fellow Asians in the travel and mental health fields, both of which are still not quite there yet in terms of racial and cultural inclusivity.”

On work commitments and health: “Here’s the thing – there are positives to where I work. I work part-time and mostly from home; I set my own schedule; I can take time off for illness or family emergencies whenever I need too without feeling any guilt; and I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck or micromanaging everything I do. It’s these things that make me stay. It’s about balance and what it important to me at this stage of my life. With my anxieties and health and family issues, the work environment and flexibility are more important to me than not being able to do my job the way I know it should be done. All I can do is do the best I can with what I am given, and of course keep good notes on the side. I don’t think I could handle a fulltime corporate job anymore, especially since it would pay less for more work.”

Reflecting on anger and emotional self-control: “One of the ways I’m still growing is in regard to my anger. It’s better than it was but it is still there, bubbling away just beneath the surface, raging into a fire when I’m not doing well. Sometimes, it flares so strongly that I become violent – not toward other people or living things, but still violent.”

News articles

“Social anxiety and depression symptoms were positively associated with participants’ extent of dating app use, and symptoms of psychopathology and gender interacted to predict various dating app use motivations.

Symptoms of social anxiety and depression predicted a lower likelihood of initiating contact with a dating app match among men but not women.”

“For the study, researchers from The Ohio State University and the University of Oregon set out to learn whether identifying with a fictional character is connected with the brain activity that occurs when a person thinks about themselves.”

“Individuals have conveyed that this trait identification allowed them to experience a greater level of self-confidence and self-compassion,” says Dr. Magavi. “For example, I evaluated a young man who identified with [“Game of Thrones” character] Samwell Tarly, as he similarly felt ostracized by society and his family. When Samwell Tarly found his calling and helped his friends, he was so touched that he found the courage to apply for a job, despite his debilitating social anxiety.”

“Stress hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine flood your body, which can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and the blood flow to the muscles in your arms and legs. All of these can cause you to start shaking.”

“By strategic experiment I mean doing something to test your assumptions about how others react to you. Your goal in conducting an experiment is to obtain new facts, data, information about how others see you to begin constructing a new, more realistic image of yourself – – NOW – – to counteract the old, negative self-impression stored in your memory from THEN.”

“A study out of China published in April found that 10.8% of people met the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning to work. Following personal protective measures, like wearing face masks, reduced psychiatric symptoms and made people feel more confident. It also helped when workplaces listened to employees concerns and increased workplace hygiene.”

“Curb the urge to seek reassurance from others that you are doing the right thing,” Shannon wrote. “Getting reassurance reinforces the belief that if we do everything right, we will avoid criticism. True confidence comes from allowing for mistakes and accepting that we cannot please everyone.”

“I began smiling at strangers when I went out in public and noticed how relaxed I was when I got home. In my mind, I was smiling as a way to tell people I was non-threatening, kind, maybe even a cool person to know. Lo and behold, seeing their smile in return eased my own mind; quelling my anxiety. I became confident going places solo. I could smile at a stranger at the grocery store and the incessant buzzing in my head would quiet down. I started traveling to different countries on both solo and group trips. Smiling at strangers made me more confident and safe. It was every kind of reassurance I needed.”

Research

“Results suggest that distractor stimuli that are either threatening or faces impair performance of high SA participants. Results demonstrate a hypervigilance for threatening faces in SA but indicate that this happens primarily when cognitive resources are available, that is, under low perceptual load.”

  • From scanners to cell-phones: Neural and real-world responses to social evaluation in adolescent girls Stefanie L. Sequeira, Jennifer S. Silk, Elizabeth A. Edershile, Neil P. Jones, Jamie L. Hanson, Erika E. Forbes, Cecile D. Ladouceur – Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Oxford University Press https://watermark.silverchair.com/nsab038.pdf

“As hypothesized, associations were found between reactivity to perceived social threat in daily life and neural activity in threat-related brain regions, including the left amygdala and bilateral insula, to peer rejection relative to a control condition. Daily life reactivity to perceived social threat was also related to functional connectivity between the left amygdala and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex during rejection feedback. Unexpectedly, daily life social threat reactivity was also related to heightened amygdala and insula activation to peer acceptance relative to a control condition. Findings may inform key brain-behavior associations supporting sensitivity to social evaluation in adolescence.”

A 2015 publication considering role of obesity, body esteem and social anxiety: “The structural equation modelling displayed that obese individuals with sedentary behaviour and poor body esteem were more likely to show social anxiety. Body esteem partially mediated between sedentary behaviour and social anxiety. Our results highlight the role of sedentary behaviour and body esteem as promising avenues for reducing social anxiety in obese individuals.”

2016 study: “These findings indicate that single dose testosterone administration can alleviate gaze avoidance in SAD. They support theories on the dominance enhancing effects of testosterone and extend those by showing that effects are particularly strong in individuals featured by socially submissive behavior. The finding that this core characteristic of SAD can be directly influenced by single dose testosterone administration calls for future inquiry into the clinical utility of testosterone in the treatment of SAD.”

“Results confirmed that self-reported emotional tendencies of social anxiety and psychopathy Factor I (interpersonal-affective deficit) correlated negatively, but self-reported behavioral tendencies (social avoidance and psychopathy Factor II [impulsive behavior]) correlated positively. Furthermore, Structural Equation Modelling demonstrated that participants with higher social anxiety and higher cortisol levels showed an avoidance tendency towards happy faces, while participants with higher psychopathic traits showed an approach tendency towards angry faces. In sum, the notion that social anxiety and psychopathic traits are opposing ends of one dimension was supported only in terms of self-reported emotional experiences, but a comparable relationship with regard to behavioral and endocrinological aspects is debatable. The current findings stress the necessity to study emotional, endocrinological and behavioral factors in unison in order to better understand the shared and distinctive mechanisms of social anxiety and psychopathic traits.

  • Cognitive therapy compared with CBT for social anxiety disorder in adolescents: a feasibility study Cathy Creswell, Eleanor Leigh, Michael Larkin, Gareth Stephens, Mara Violato, Emma Brooks, Samantha Pearcey, Lucy Taylor, Paul Stallard, Polly Waite, Shirley Reynolds, Gordon Taylor, Emma Warnock-Parkes, David M Clark, Health Technol Assess 2021 Mar;25(20):1-94 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33759742/

“Objectives: To train child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) therapists to deliver cognitive therapy for SAD in adolescents (CT-SAD-A) and assess therapist competence. To estimate the costs to the NHS of training therapists to deliver CT-SAD-A and the mean cost per adolescent treated. To examine the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to compare CT-SAD-A with the general form of cognitive-behavioural therapy that is more commonly used.”

“If empathy is impaired in socially anxious individuals, appropriate emotional reaction to and interpretation of social cues is hampered. This in turn, might negatively impact social interactions thus reinforcing the socially anxious individual’s fear of acting inappropriately. An alternative line of reasoning might be that being unable to correctly infer the other persons’ emotional state provokes uncertainty and anxiety in social interactions (Hezel & McNally, 2014), thus fostering fear in and avoidance of social interactions. Altered empathic functioning might thus play a role in both the development and maintenance of SAD.”

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Social anxiety news and stories round-up

Blogs

Introspective piece questioning the causes of feeling less desirous of being in love and more content with being single: “You’d think this lack of interest would be a comfort to me, considering how much I use to agonize over my loneliness. Yet, even though this new state doesn’t necessarily cause me pain, it’s still a cause for concern. How can it be that in the span of just a few years I can feel so completely different about something that was once so vitally important to me? If I could be certain these were an accurate reflection of inner growth and independence, I might not mind. However, there is part of me that wonders if this isn’t somehow a result of so many years on anti-depressants. Paxil has helped me in a lot of ways, and I am grateful for that. But now I’m beginning to question if I’m even still the same person I was before. Which version of myself would I ultimately prefer? Can I even trust the way I think and feel now?”

A perspective of a loving relationship: “I feel like love is everything. It’s the good, it’s the bad, it’s the glue that holds life together. Whether that’s in a romantic or platonic way, whether it’s between you and family, or you and your favourite song; love is the glue.”

A writer managing relationships with those who have caused them emotional harm in the past: “so, while i’m working on myself and my relationships, i’m going to let myself feel angry. i’m going to let myself feel bitter. i’m going to remind myself that all of these feelings are valid. healing from trauma is a nonlinear process that takes time, and i’m going to give myself that time.”

On the complex relationship we might have with mental health difficulties: “As much as I wish my coping mechanisms were healthy and productive, I can’t deny my anorexia didn’t serve me a temporary kind of protection, however much this point will overshoot the rational brain. It’s almost like hugging a cactus, expecting the delights of a teddy bear.”

An interesting perspective on the issue of courtship between genders with the backdrop of media attention on the sexual violence against women: “But in reality men are told from almost birth its their job to make the first move to ask women out, to initiate contact,. men have chat up lines, not usually women. I worked in a company for 20 year and never had a female try to befriend me in a romantic type of way ever. The odd hello is not the same as chatting someone up but I had plenty of people especially women think me weird for being quiet. As I said once before hearing girls say “he wont do anything at a bus stop!” as I did not chat their friend up Well if the world is equal then why didn’t she do something?”

A fascinating account of the pressures placed on workers by a grocery chain: “I don’t do this job to impress people. I do what I’m supposed to do, which is to deliver the groceries to customers. 97% of the time, customers drive away content or thrilled. Sure, we have hiccups. We do get bad reviews. Mistakes are made. Do you think that stops customers from using the online grocery pickup service? Not in a million years. We’re being asked to push these surveys as if the very existence and justification of a digital grocery department is in jeopardy. And it’s really not. Grocery pickup from online orders is here to stay. This is life now. No bad review is going to shut it down.”

On poor posture as a symptom of anxiety and fear: “I’ve carried heavy books in backpacks for years, but I don’t think they’ve weighed me down quite like fear and submission. My entire life, I’ve learned to shut up, cocoon myself, break off from the others, and shrink into myself whenever life became uncomfortable. Again, to stand up with a good posture is to face everything. My body follows how I feel on the inside. Therefore, slouching was always a subconscious norm. I adapted to fear and submission so easily that my physical reaction was just built-in.”

Research

“Results indicate no between-group differences in heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate (HR) at baseline. When starting the working memory task, the control group decreased significantly in HRV and the anxious group did not differ substantially in their change pattern from baseline to the start of the stressor. Finally, during the recovery phase of the working memory task, the clinically anxious and control individuals did not differ in their HFV or HR response compared to baseline.

From a clinical perspective, the results suggest that screening for the presence of anxiety disorders may help to identify patients with impaired HRV and HR functioning and to intervene on these important patient characteristics early in the treatment process.”

  • Recalling autobiographical self-efficacy episodes boosts reappraisal-effects on negative emotional memories – Christina Paersch, Ava Schulz, Frank H Wilhelm, Adam D Brown, Birgit Kleim. Emotion Feb 25, 2021 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33630625/ (Abstract)

“Self-efficacy is a key construct in behavioral science with significant impact on mental health and wellbeing. A growing body of work has shown that perceptions of self-efficacy can be increased through recall of autobiographical episodes (AEs) of mastery (“self-efficacy memories”) in experimental settings. Doing so contributes to improvements in clinically relevant processes, such as emotion regulation and problem solving. Here we examine whether the recall of self-efficacy AEs contributes to more adaptive appraisals for personally experienced negative memories.

These findings suggest that recalling self-efficacy episodes may promote adaptive self-appraisals for negative memories, which in turn may contribute to recovery from stressful events and, with further research, may prove to be a useful adjunctive strategy for treatments such as CBT.”

  • Crosstalk between Existential Phenomenological Psychotherapy and Neurological Science in Mood and Anxiety Disorders – Lehel Balogh, Masaru Tanaka, Nóra Török, László Vécsei, Shigeru Taguchi https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202012.0625/v2 (This version is not peer-reviewed)

“Existential phenomenological psychotherapy (EPP) has been in the forefront of meaning-centered counseling for almost a century. The phenomenological approach in psychotherapy originated in the works of Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Binswanger, Medard Boss and Viktor Frankl, and it has been committed to account for the existential possibilities and limitations of one’s life. EPP provides philosophically rich interpretations and empowers counseling techniques to assist mentally suffering individuals by finding meaning and purpose of life. The approach has proven to be effective in treating mood and anxiety disorders. This narrative review article demonstrates the development of EPP, the therapeutic methodology, evidence-based accounts of its curative techniques, current understanding of mood and anxiety disorders in neurological science, and a possible converging path to translate and integrate meaning-centered psychotherapy and neurological science, concluding that the existential phenomenological psychotherapy potently plays a synergistic role with the currently prevailing medication-based approaches for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.”

“These exploratory results indicate that anxiety, but not regulation tendency, predicts how individuals regulate emotion in the laboratory. These findings suggest that how individuals report regulating in the real world does not map on to how they regulate in the laboratory. Taken together, this underscores the importance of developing emotion-regulation interventions and paradigms that more closely align to and predict real-world outcomes.”

“Social anxiety impairs the balance performance of older women, particularly in those most affected by the evaluator, and during more dynamic modified gait tasks that challenge balance while walking. However, co-performing balance tasks with a partner reduced the effects of social anxiety, suggesting that social support may help to mitigate some of the potential ‘white coat’ effects experienced during clinical balance assessments.”

News

“Mental health experts said this fraction of the population found the quarantine protective, a permission slip to glide into more predictable spaces, schedules, routines and relationships. And the experts warn that while quarantine has blessed the “avoidance” of social situations, the circumstances are poised to change.”

Coronavirus-related xenophobia overlooks the full story

satoshi_x_daisuke_by_annvanes_deviantart
Satoshi x Daisuke by Anna Vanes (c)

Speculation that the coronavirus, COVID-19, was genetically engineered by China, or anyone else, has been challenged by scientific research which “firmly” suggested that the virus evolved naturally from an existing virus. Bats are thought to be the original hosts of the virus (though this is as yet unproven) and, as bat-human virus transmission is rare, scientists favour the theory that an intermediary host existed between bats and humans.

Possible candidate for the host species is the pangolin, sold in the Wuhan wet market, despite a national ban, which is the location strongly linked with the outbreak. The civet cat, also sold at times in such markets, is thought to have been the intermediary host of the earlier SARS-COVID 1, which was detected in 2002, in Guangdong, southern China. However, the earliest known case of the current coronavirus, SARS-COVID 2, was found, on November 17 2019, in someone who had no contact with the Wuhan wet market and has lead some to consider whether coronavirus transmission passed through livestock, such as pigs, before reaching workers at the wet market.

The intensification of farming in China has not only created industrial farming reliant on high concentrations of livestock but driven smallholding farmers out of the livestock industry and towards “wild” species to make a living. They have also physically been pushed out to uncultivated zones, such as forest, where contact with bats becomes more likely. This encroachment of human farming into these ecosystems have lead to other zoonoses – human to animal transmissions – including Ebola and HIV.

Nonetheless, it should come as little surprise that the fear and suspicion naturally engendered by the SARS-COVID 2 or the coronavirus, as it is popularly known, is engendering xenophobic feeling and being exploited by demagogues. They create narratives, long preceding the coronavirus, which use selective marshaling of facts to depict others as threats and inferior.

Chinese tech companies have been treated with suspicion about their possible role in espionage on behalf of the authoritarian Chinese government. Whilst such suspicion may have grounds, that Britain and its allies routinely work with tech firms for surveillance purposes, including, demanding that “backdoors” be created in encrypted software to provide them access to user information is less widely discussed. Britain has promoted tech firms, , including Chinese firms, whose surveillance products are sold and utilised by human rights abusing regimes and, itself, has licensed the sale of such products to regimes directly such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The selective avoidance of aspects Britain and its allies’ records also applies to treatment of animals in the food production process. Whilst contact between wild animals and humans is better regulated, conditions for livestock in Britain’s US-style mega-farms have been described by NGO, Compassion in World Farming, as “often barren, overcrowded and frequently filthy.” The RSPCA says of British farming generally: “The law alone is not always strong or detailed enough to ensure that they all have a good quality of life, and are transported and slaughtered humanely.” In a 2012 report, the government’s independent advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Committee, found that: “The prevalence of many endemic diseases in farm animals is too high and shows little sign of reduction over time.” Past reports suggest that there are thousands of major violations of animal welfare laws in British abattoirs every year.

Britain has experienced serious outbreaks of the deadly brain disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, which can be transmitted to humans through consumption of contaminated meat, and the foot and mouth disease, notably in 2001, both suspected to be linked to infected meat and bone feed given to cattle and pigs respectively. It is thought that the infected feed was imported from abroad, though the origins are not known. Cattle are now required to be fed vegan meals only, though BSE still occurs sporadically, with a recent case in 2018, in Scotland. The foot and mouth outbreak of 2001, which lead to the culling of some 6.5 million livestock, exposed cruelty and poor hygiene at the Northumberland pig fattening farm where the outbreak was traced to. The farmer was found guilty of unnecessary harm to pigs, not disposing of animal by-products and suspected by the district judge, though not charged, of feeding pigs untreated waste.

A wider examination of Britain’s role in damaging the environment could include its role, currently and historically, in fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions and climate destruction, in its large scale export of hazardous electronic waste to less developed nations, most of which ends up in landfill, its role in development of military weapons which are either used directly or sold on the international market. A spike in cancers, including child cancers, and congenital birth defects in the Iraq have been linked by researchers with the use of certain munitions by US and UK forces, including toxic chemicals such as depleted uranium and white phosphate, but experts suggest further research is required to establish the cause.

The origins of the coronavirus pandemic are still being investigated and, as the detailed blog post by Varun Vasunarayanan, linked below, discusses, China did seek to obstruct public disclosure of the outbreak in Wuhan initially. Grave errors by Chinese officials also included the enabling of a 5 million person exodus from Wuhan, enabling the spread throughout the country, downplaying infection figures and early contradictory information about the possibility of person-to-person transmission.

Nonetheless, as well as halting the rise of the virus in its own country (with authoritarian powers of force and surveillance used) it has, as the Vasunarayanan discusses in his blog, taken steps to assist the world in understanding and defending against the virus: “The virus was identified by January 3; a week later, China shared the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus with WHO. It is because China released the DNA that immediate scientific work took place across the planet to find a vaccine; there are now 43 vaccine candidates, four in very early testing.”

A selective narrative of the story of the pandemic enables xenophobia and fear, strengthening the support for those who present themselves as national guardians against outsider threat. As the coronavirus outbreak epicentre has moved to the West, Westerners risk becoming the target of xenophobic rhetoric abroad.

A singular focus on the behaviour of some American consumers in, for example, Wisconsin, where staying at home to reduce transmission of the virus is advised through a “safer at home” order, might appear to confirm their responsibility for the rapid spread of the disease in the US. A food store worker in Wisconsin, writes on her blog, despairingly: “Yes, people need groceries and essential supplies and that’s why my store with all its groceries and essential supplies is considered an “essential business” that needs to stay open. What people don’t need is to bring extra people with them to shop during a pandemic as an excuse to get out of the house and temporarily cure themselves of boredom…You probably shouldn’t be bringing in a fresh newborn baby to the big box retail store at any time let alone a viral outbreak. What part of “stay at home” don’t these people get?”

Such complacency should not detract from the culpability of US leaders. The failures are extreme, from Donald Trump dismissing the virus as not being a great threat, despite warnings from US intelligence agencies, the US State Department shipping much needed coronavirus medical supplies to China in February – to the Georgia governor, Brian Kemp, reflecting on ‘game changer’ information, on 1 April, that the virus can be spread by asymptomatic individuals – when this had been discussed since January by public health experts. A ‘shelter in place’ order in Georgia was finally issued on 1 April. Some of the biggest failings are common to both Republicans and Corporate Democrats, such as the incoherent and disastrous privatised health system and the staunch opposition to single-payer healthcare, which presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, also opposes.

Whilst keeping an open mind, given that the precise origins of the coronavirus disease are still not fully understood and, in fact, its method of transmission is still being debated amongst experts, a narrow and selective approach to the facts will be misleading – precisely why it is being promoted by some.

Image created by Anna Vanes (c)

To read the blog post by Varun Vasunarayanan, ‘Growing Xenophobia Against China in the Midst of Corona Shock,” click below.

The Reader's Digest Guide to Intimate Relations

On March 25, the foreign ministers of the G7 states failed to release a statement. The United States—the president of the G7 at this time—had the responsibility for drafting the statement, which was seen to be unacceptable by several other members. In the draft, the United States used the phrase “Wuhan Virus” and asserted that the global pandemic was the responsibility of the Chinese government. Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump had used the phrase “Chinese Virus” (which he said he would stop using) and a member of his staff was reportedly heard using the slur “Kung Flu.” On Fox News, anchor Jesse Watters explained in his unfiltered racist way “why [the virus] started in China. Because they have these markets where they eat raw bats and snakes.” Violent attacks against Asians in the United States has spiked as a consequence of the stigma driven by the Trump administration.

Quite correctly…

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The Coronavirus Lockdown – Opportunity & Anxiety

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Akashi Seijuro by Anna Vanes (c)

As many are noting, including the blogger, Laury Jenneret, who writes with thoughtfulness about the experience in Britain, there have been some positive, potentially, transformational, aspects to the partial societal and economic lockdown in the UK. For those fortunate to have basic needs met, from food to health care – and to not be stuck with an abuser – and with Internet access available, the pause in lives and unfolding of tragedy has also enabled personal reflection and, often with the help of technology, re-connection with people and communities. Laury Jenneret writes, “…I have had so many more conversations, both with friends and people I don’t actually know, that it has made me wonder if social distancing wasn’t what we were all doing before the coronavirus.”

Many individuals, such as those experiencing social anxiety symptoms, may feel excluded from this silver lining in the tragedy – personal renewal and deeper connection – with their greater isolation potentially reinforcing damaging behaviours, as psychologist, Karin Klassen, warns: “Interacting with other people is one of the things that makes us get dressed in the morning, put our face on . . . Without that interaction we might stop doing some of those things that are basic self-respect things. Then because our behaviour changes we start to feel in a way that supports that negative behaviour. We start to feel icky.”

Technology is being put to meaningful use by some at this time, historian, Robin Reich, writes on her blog, expressing hope that the will for communication persists beyond lockdowns. Writer, Catherine Hume, cites the example of Chinese residents who used their lockdown to develop foreign language and other skills, to recommend individuals struggling in their workplaces to investigate online courses to “retrain into a job you can turn into a business. Be self employed. Be a success and be a success without any hassle from co workers.”

Remote interaction does not, however, enable the physical contact, movement and full range of social cues that can make real interaction so fulfilling. Whilst practically beneficial, therapists have expressed concern about some of the challenges that come with remote interaction with clients, including a concern about the emotional detachment it might enable.

Content on the Internet is so diverse and vast, varying in credibility and accessibility, that its sheer volume and range of options can be a challenge for individuals to navigate without a clear idea of their purpose in its use. This can equally apply to online educational and job opportunities as it can for entertainment.

The current transformational opportunity – and, perhaps, imperative – for job-seekers and job-changers is clearly evident and can place a great pressure on individuals, especially, the most marginalised, burdened and isolated. Without public pressure, it is unlikely that government and their agencies, post-coronavirus, will dramatically change their underfunded service support for disabled and/or jobless groups, despite what should be better awareness of the challenges of being housebound.

There is no general answer to how to improve, train and prepare oneself for the uncertain future – on top of caring for one’s health and dealing with the threat of the virus and its societal and economic consequences.  A psychotherapist, Annie Wright, writing especially for trauma sufferers dealing with the pandemic crisis says, in what feels like a universal truism for people currently dealing with serious health difficulties: “(b)ut for now, our only job – your only job – is to take care of yourself as best you can, to weather this storm, to live with your ghosts but to not let them overwhelm you.” For parents and carers and others, an addition must be made for dependents but self-care and attention will be a necessary starting point for all. Social and professional support may be needed by many.

Image designed by Anna Vanes (c)

To read the full blog-post, ‘Gradually, then suddenly,’ by Laury Jenneret, click the link below.

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, “Two ways,” Mike said, “Gradually and then suddenly.” I’ve thought about that a lot over the past week, as I, like the rest of the world, have looked on in stunned silence as society as we knew it has ground to a halt. We first heard about COVID-19 at the end of last year, and to be honest it just rumbled in the background on our news agenda. We all broadly knew what it was, that it was a virus believed to have originated from a wet-market in Wuhan, some people had heard that it might have something to do with bats, but everyone was pretty vague on the details, because it felt abstract. It felt like it didn’t have anything to do with us. Not really.

When I took my daughter to…

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