CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — The pandemic and its restrictions have a side effect that is affecting the mental health of thousands.
Like many others, Cera Flynn of Chagrin Falls, understands mental health issues personally.
“Experienced trauma at an early age and because of that struggled with depression and anxiety from a very young age and as I got older it became more anxiety based,” she says.
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Then the pandemic hit and her job, as an instructional coach for entry level teachers, was altered. Her twin eight-year-old boys were virtually learning at home, and then her husband got diagnosed.
“When a family member has COVID we're in quarantine, nobody can come in and help us,” Cera said.
She says friends and family did the best they could by dropping off food and supplies, but like so many others, Cera still felt isolated.
“My story is not unique in any way of the impact it's had on our family it's been difficult for everybody,” she said.
As if all this wasn’t bad enough, the “pandemic puppy” the family adopted came down with a fatal illness and Cera had to deal with that too.
But her personal experience taught her coping skills that could benefit others. First, she had virtual therapy visits with her Cleveland Clinic psychiatrist or just simple phone calls and she stayed connected to friends and family.
“Having that person, that safe person to talk to about what you're thinking and you're feeling is so important,” she said.
She knows how a deep breath can make a difference and practices breathing and meditation using an app called Calm.
“I have been doing my meditation app every night because I need it,” she said.
She also says it’s OK to let those other emotions work their way through too.
“It's taken so much from all of us and so you're allowed to have those moments where you're feeling angry and frustrated about this and even that felt good,” Cera said.