Monday, June 14, 2021

Gratitude To Our Amazing COVID-19 Health Care Workers

As a practising clinical psychologist and senior citizen, I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to all the health care workers who have worked so hard to keep us safe.In particular, I want to express my thanks to our pharmacists,who have demonstrated compassion, professionalism,and calmness in dealing with the recent demand for CoVID-19 vaccinations. Recently I became eligible for my second dose of vaccine. Efforts to access the provincial booking line proved frustrating and futile.This is where the pharmacists stepped into the abyss and saved the day. In my particular case,I was able to obtain my second dose at my local pharamacy, 48 hours after my initial contact.Subsequently I have received numerous offers of vaccines from other pharamacys in the area. Thank you to all the pharmacists who have done double duty during this pandemic.In the language of my forefathers, you have performed a real "mitzvah'(blessing) and society owes you a great deal of gratitude and thanks. Dr.David Nozick

Friday, December 4, 2020

DECEMBER5/2020-MY 75th Birthday

What does it mean to me to turn 75,three quarters of a century old,late stage of the fourth quarter of my life?  
First thought and emotion, I am glad to be alive,to have been blessed to reach this stage of life.
 SHEHECHEYANU 
"Praise to you,Adonai our G-d,Sovereign of the universe,for giving us life,sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this season." 
My paternal DNA is saturated with heart disease, leading to a shortened lifespan to most males in my father's family. My maternal DNA, on the other,despite physical and emotional challenges,has possibilities, as my mother lived well into her late 80's
 Having made it to 75,I am well aware of my blessings of apparent  good health,the mental and physical capacity to continue practicing my craft,a multitude of family and friends who give a damn about me, and interests and passions that allow me to grow. Above else it is the relationships with my significant other, family and friends that propel me forward.
 At this stage of life,hopefully you have acquired a set of values,that bring you a perspective on life,and dare I say it "wisdom".Wisdom means experiencing inner peace and knowing one's priorities.No longer do I seek out materialistic gains but rather spiritual and emotional connections.Knowing one's priorities makes life simpler 
I no longer need to impress others or seek their approval.My life ,at this stage, is mine and whom I chose to share it, is my decision Roles no longer exist for me,I chose to follow my own beat of the drums and pursue life as I see fit.
 Having this perspective on life allows me to be a mentor to the younger generation,whether it be my clients,colleagues or grandchildren.I do this through personal interactions,my blogs,lectures or just plain frank conversation. 
My 6 adorable grandchildren have allowed me to be a part of their lives,which I am extremely grateful.My children tell me that as I age I have lost my filter.I prefer to look at as talking from the heart with no BS. 
In my latter stage of life, I have no patience for individuals who manipulate or dictate but seek others who talk from the heart, are compassionate, non-judgmental and listen.
 Time is short. I intend to grow,to offer wisdom to the next generation,and to try to live my life in a meaningful manner. 
 David
 

Monday, September 7, 2020

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF COVID-19

 What happens to all of us when there is a pandemic that is making our families and friends sick and dying? Psychologically we do not feel in control of our lives.We feel sad, stressed,confused,anxious, scared and worried.  

Each of us,whether we admit it or not,have our own psychological vulnerability.For some it is to worry or feel anxious, for others it is to be aggressive or angry, still others somatize or become hyperviligant of their surroundings.The pandemic has the power to prey on all of us, causing an exacerbation of our symptoms. 

 There is absolutely no question that COVID-19 has had an effect on our mental health.   

A Deloitte study estimates that emergency room visits for stress and anxiety related disorders will increase 1-3% from pre-pandemic rates.Another study ,based on data from SARS, predicts 11 million Canadians will experience high levels of stress. 

The majority of COVID-19 survivors suffer at least one mental disorder, one month post treatment The Journal of Brain,Behaviour, and Immunity screened 400 adult survivors, 55% had a clinical score for

 at least one mental disorder: 

Anxiety-42%

 Insomnia-40% 

Depression-31%

 PTSD-28% 

Obsessive compulsive symptoms-20%

 COVId-19 has now become a long,long haul. There is no quick fix.We 

all  have to learn to cope better.Pandemic exhaustion is catching up to all of us.We are tired,cranky,and want to resume our normal activities.Common feelings include:

 - a sense of being socially excluded

 -lose of belonging to a community 

-worry about our grandchildren going back to school

- fear of getting sick or making others sick

 -fear of being apart from loved ones

 -helplessness,boredom,loneliness,and depression 

HOW TO COPE WITH CO-VID 19

 CO-VID19  is showing no signs of abating.Indeed ,many of us are worried about a second wave this fall.The following remarks about coping are meant for those of you who are experiencing a mild to moderate degree of worry ,anxiety,isolation or feelings of lack of control. 

For those of you whose symptoms are more severe,I have listed local resources at the end of the article and urge you to contact your family Doctor or other health professional.

 All of us have a certain degree of stress in our daily lives.The pandemic has served to magnify those concerns. 

1) Anxiety

 Anxiety is an early warning to the body that we are under threat.Certainty CO-VID19 qualifies as  a threat to all of us..Typically people respond in a flight or fight manner.However, if we attempt to reflect, it is possible to gain a better understanding of the real issues that are concerning us.Yoga,mediation, breathing exercise, and physical  exercise are all good ways to cope with anxiety.

 2)Connect,connect,connect 

 Make social connections a priority.It is essential to stay in touch with friends,family and neighbours. Use the phone,text,Email, Zoom or Face Time. People need to hear your voice and know you are OK 

3)Practice Self-compassion

 Care for others but also be gentle and care for yourself. 

Activities help build self-care.The key is develop activities that  you enjoy and our passionate about.Incorporate them into your daily or weekly routine. 

Write in a journal,volunteer for a meaningful cause,make a gratitude list,meditate or visualize,take a nap, have a nice meal,listen to music,,take up  a  new hobby,write a blog,read a book,go for a drive,exercise,practice good nutrition,turn off electronic devices,dance,garden,get creative :draw,paint,write or cook a new meal, 

 4)Stay Active 

Rejoin AJA,take a course or exercise.Keeping your body fit and your mind active is great for your mental health. 

 5)Relaxation,yoga,mediation and deep breathing are all wonderful ways of reducing stress.

 6)Establish  a new structure or routine.

 7)Get a good night sleep that recharges the body and allows you to start the day with 100% energy 

8) Reduce intake of news.

 Limit coverage of the news to 1or2 brief exposure to a credible source.Stop watching the news at night. 


9) The pandemic is an opportunity to develop our inner resources,take stock of our lives,change our priorities so that we spend our lives in a more rewarding and  meaningful way."What can I change in my life to have a more interesting and meaningful experience?"  


 Based on Israel studies of how people cope with trauma, Professor Lahad,founder and president of Community,Stress Prevention Centre suggests the following coping strategies.

 A) We need to realize that this too shall pass.

 B)Go with the emotional ups and downs.

 C)Establish a new routine.

 D)Acknowledge and celebrate your small successes and joys. 

 

REFERRAL SOURCES

 For those of you in a crisis or who are experiencing symptoms of severe anxiety ,depression,PTSD or suicidal thoughts, I would strongly recommend being seen by your family physician  or healthcare provider . If you are in an extreme emergency or suicide risk go immediately to the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital.  

LOCAL RESOURCES

 1) Your family physician

 2)The Ottawa Academy of Psychology 613-235-2529

 3)Ottawa Distress Centre-613-238-3311 

4)Mental Health Crisis Line-613-722-6914

 5)Ottawa Public Health- 613-580-6744 

^6) 911 for emergency or suicide risk

 Be Safe. 

 David


  


 




Sunday, April 19, 2020

DEFENSIVE WALKING --- SOCIAL DISTANCING

April/2020 has brought to the world the pandemic COVID-19.In Canada, as the incidents and deaths due to COVID-19 soars,the governments,(both federal and provincial), have enacted emergency legislation to slow down the spread of the disease. The purpose of this legislation is to prevent the health care system collapsing.
 One of these measures is social distancing.keeping at least 2 meters(6 feet), away from others.Recently our local counselor,had the foresight  to make us safer by closing down one of the local roads to vehicle traffic.
 Despite these best intentions, social distancing is a foreign concept to most individuals, who seek and need others.Thus I find myself walking on a local street , constantly on the lookout for others who either through ignorance or rebelliousness breach my safety zone of 6 feet.
 I zigzag down the street, much like a drunken sailor to avoid the bikers,walkers and runners who neglect to watch for others in their attempt to maintain their exercise routine.I am tempted to carry a 6 foot walking pole on other side of my body to protect myself. I saw on YouTube one creative individual who wore a 6 foot hula hoop attached to his body.
Yesterday while walking, I encountered a mother and her 2 teenage daughters walking down the middle of the road showing total negligence of social distancing.When I politely ask them to move over, the look I got was unmistakably hostile.A few days earlier I experienced the total opposite reaction.A young mother with her 2 preschool children, upon seeing me approach them,waited at a safe distance as I crossed the street
 Survey data indicates 70% of Canadians are practicing social distancing.This is not good enough.If you are not worried about getting COVID-19 yourself please think of your elderly grandparents and others with compromised immune systems who are dying from this disease
 We all need to do better to help our vulnerable neighbours and to listen and obey the rules issued by our public health officials.This is our generation's  WORLD WAR 111, and how we respond will determine the world we leave our children and our children's children.
As a practicing clinical psychologist if you need help coping don't hesitate to reach out to those of us in the mental health field.I can be reached at 613-228-9394.
 Be well, be safe and together we can get through these difficult times.