A prominent theme in the second 4x4@4 “Talking It Through” conversation–noted by Colleen Holmes, President/CEO of 18 Degrees–was fragility.” Anxiety and depression associated with the pandemic meet the fragility of families already suffering chronic stress, the fragility of marginal youth tenuously tethered to sources of help, and the fragility of children trying to hold on to hard-won developmental achievements. In many cases, this fragility was already there–a pre-existing condition–but now it is exposed for all to see.
For nearly two months the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we relate to each other. Work life and social life have changed. We are farther apart and have to find new ways to be together. In that process, emotional challenges and stresses face everyone, and take their toll on the more vulnerable. The 4X4@4 “Talking It Through” series creates an online forum on select Monday afternoons for panelists and members of the general public to explore the psychological impact of what we’re going through and to make new connections, both with each other and in our understanding of these challenges.
Right now, the physical health and well-being of the country depend on our adherence to the recent and ongoing implementation of social distancing (SD) in communities across the globe to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). However, the current scale of SD is unprecedented and may lead to significant and lasting negative psychological effects.
The face of a two-year-old Honduran girl, dwarfed by the adults who only appear as legs in the photo, communicates undeniable anguish. Used to represent the horror of children separated from their parents at the US-Mexican border, the photo became a lightning rod for controversy when it turned out that this particular child was not actually separated from her mother.
The second blog in a six-part series, exploring borderline personality disorder, with M. Gerard Fromm, PhD, ABPP, a senior consultant to the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center.
Erik Erikson famously wrote about identity. He indicated that a central negotiation required developing an increasing congruence between your views of yourself and the views others have of you. Learning to ‘see yourself as others see you’, as the poet Robert Burns put it, is a major developmental achievement not easily accomplished. A recognizable and accepted identity allows us to live more freely in the social world.