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    Columbus Monthly: How to Deal With Powerlessness During COVID-19: Tips From Recovery, Mental Health Experts

    Via Columbus Monthly
    By Laurie Allen

    Bianca and Jeff Anastasia say accepting life on life’s terms has helped them through many challenges, particularly in the last two years, when they experienced the fears and frustrations of trying to raise a family and work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Acceptance is honestly what’s kept us going,” Bianca says. “We try to instill it in our kids. It’s a tool for recovery, but it’s also a tool for everyday life.”

    The Anastasias are both in recovery; thus, they were well aware of how it feels to be powerless. Not everyone has their experience, though, and the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people with a feeling of powerlessness.

    “COVID is one of the most real-world examples of unpredictable stresses, exposing our deepest vulnerabilities,” says Stephanie Gorka, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State University College of Medicine and Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. “At the core, lack of power creates an automatic reaction of anxiety. We feel as if we must get control, to be prepared.”

    For those in recovery, the first step in a 12-step program is a public admission that we are powerless, which can relieve some of the pressure that comes with fighting an unbeatable foe, says Gorka.

    Certainly, people feel powerless over countless things: the traffic, the weather, the state of the nation and the state of their families. The concepts of accepting, living with and even embracing powerlessness extend well beyond the rooms of recovery and apply to anyone, particularly in times of unrest and uncertainty, experts say.