April 14, 2020

Dealing with Mental Health during a Pandemic

Dealing with Mental Health during a Pandemic

Heather Eslien is a LMHC (licensed mental health counselor) with a private practice in downtown Sarasota, Florida.  Her primary focus is on the LGBTQIA+ community and she is particularly passionate about her specialization in working with transgender and gender-expansive pre-teens to adult folx.  In addition, she facilitates two support groups for the community: one for trans masculine individuals ages 16 and up and the other for the loved ones of trans folks (cisgender parents, partners, adult children and other family members).  She is often called upon to speak at churches, schools and other organizations to provide psychoeducation around the many barriers and inequities this vulnerable population faces as well as to break down the myths and incorrect assumptions surrounding this beautiful and dynamic community.  She believes trans and gender-expansive people are a key to our societal liberation.

Introduction

Two words that sum up COVID-19: toilet paper. Although that may sound ridiculous (it is), understanding why this mass hysteria occurred plays a big “roll” in the complex emotions and feelings we are experiencing during this pandemic. From work to social interactions, COVID-19 affected the entire world and our normal daily activities. That is why it is essential to make sense of what is going on before the virus infects us with fear. 

 

Meet Heather Eslien (she/her/hers)  

 

A licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) with a private practice in downtown Sarasota, Florida. Heather focuses on the LGBTQIA+ community and specializes working in the transgender and gender-expansive community. She facilitates two support groups for the community, one for trans masculine individuals ages 16 and up and the other for the loved ones of trans folxs (cisgender parents, partners, adult children and other family members). Heather is also a speaker that provides psychoeducation around the many barriers and inequities this vulnerable population faces as well as to break down the myths and incorrect assumptions surrounding this beautiful and dynamic community. 

 

Podcast Episode

In this episode we talk about:

-        COVID-19 impact on mental health

-        Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle  

-        Virtual therapy

-        Self-care practices during COVID-19

-        COVID-19 impact on the transgender community

 

Quotables

“We [mental health workers] may not be on the front lines physically, but emotionally we are carrying the [emotional] labor of so many people right now.” – Heather Eslien

 

“You saw hoarding of bathroom tissues, and hoarding of medical supplies, and PPE, and hand sanitizers in an attempt to get control around a totally uncontrollable situation.” – Heather Eslien

 

“[Virtual therapy] is different. I feel like I’m just talking to my computer, although I see her on the other side, there’s a lack of connection for me.” – Kayden Taylor

 

“We’re forced to stop the business of life and go internal. We’re forced to distill everything down to its simplest essence.” – Heather Eslien 

 

“We have to think about what we can control and what we can’t control.” – Heather Eslien 

 

“Why is it that we have such a hard time treating ourselves like we would treat our best friend? Or our loved one? Or our partner?” – Heather Eslien

 

“It’s not social distancing, it’s physical distancing… we need to be connecting to each other as much as possible, and in many ways as we can.” – Heather Eslien

 

Resources

Psychology Today: Heather D. Eslien

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/heather-d-eslien-sarasota-fl/160333

 

Heather D. Eslien Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/SarasotaGenderSpecialist/

 

Man’s Search for Meaning

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4069.Man_s_Search_for_Meaning