The pandemic: Psychologists advise moving from coping to acceptance

Therapist offers advice as more people show signs of anxiety, depression
Posted at 11:48 AM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 14:48:04-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - It's been a year under pandemic restrictions, facing loss, and coping with closing doors.

Psychologists like Dr. Michelle Carcel are seeing a shift in how people are handling stress.

"So, for people who haven't had this experience before, who are noticing really this isolation and early onset of depression it's taking more of a toll and they are reaching out more at this time," she said, acknowledging more people are seeking mental healthcare.

Up until this point, Carcel and other psychologists taught us how to cope, now she says we've hit a turning point and need to focus on acceptance.

"When we talk about acceptance it doesn't mean we have to be happy about it. I want to be very clear," Carcel said, adding it's more about being adaptable.

She said people who are adaptable and realize certain things are temporary are happier, according to studies.

Another issue taking hold is depression and anxiety related to isolation. Dr. Carcel says part of the issue is embedded in our history: We're pack animals and isolation makes you feel vulnerable.

"A lot of people that are coming into my office that miss that connection, it really is just so hard because walking across the street or just having someone walk away from you can feel like rejection and can trigger so much stuff inside of us so try to keep that in mind when you cross somebody at that 6 foot distance or more, that we can smile under the mask," Carcel says.

She adds that a greeting goes a long way and also suggests if you're having social anxiety to be kind and supportive of yourself and consider taking small steps, like a physically-distanced picnic outdoors with a friend.