I’ve seen many fun posts during this odd shelter-in-place season. Family dance and karaoke sessions, baking creations, board games, cleaning sprees, appropriately-distanced walks and bike rides. They might accurately portray your time at home, or you might be choosing a few highlights to share and keeping the rest behind closed doors.
For many, there is much more going on behind the doors.
I’ve seen many posts about the home being the safest place, and that might be true in reference to COVID-19 and the impact staying home ripples through the community. But home is not a safe place for many people. There is abuse, physical and emotional. Add stresses such as job lay-offs, cancelled medical and counseling appointments, etc., and situations escalate quickly.
The most common and sometimes manageable mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety, begin to spiral. People’s routines have changed and stresses increased, which creates significant shifts in coping strategies and access to support.
For those who teeter on the edge of depending on alcohol to soothe themselves, the opportunity to sit behind closed doors and sip throughout the day might become a slippery slope that is difficult to manage once a familiar routine resumes. People might not feel the effects of the alcohol in themselves or people in their home because the regular sipping might seem preferred over occasional drunkenness. The continual numbing might be easy to mask and feel controllable, but it will have a lasting impact, especially for those who tend toward any sort of reliance on something to soothe them or a need to control.
Pornography is another area easy to hide behind close doors, occupy time, make someone temporarily feel better yet deepen an addiction or distortion of health. It will begin to erode relationships and feed selfishness.
You might not know exactly what is going on in people’s lives—people you love, people who live close to you, acquaintances across town or across the country. While you can’t physically get behind their doors, you can stay connected with people. You can invest in them by listening for clues they might be struggling. You probably already know many of your closest people’s struggles. Know this is a particularly vulnerable time.
And if you are hiding something behind closed doors, reach out. It can be someone you know or a hotline. You will not be able to completely fix a problem in the next few days, but you can crack the door just enough to invite some accountability for the coming days, weeks, and months.