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As we help people cope with chaos and uncertainty, therapists are struggling too
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Americans are facing uncertainty, and it's starting to seem as if uncertainty is the norm. Over the past eight months we have battled the never ending war with COVID, started, stopped and restarted virtual school, and witnessed the reanimation of a civil rights movement. We've watched daily as news outlets recount death tolls and survival numbers for the pandemic, all while trying to give our family a semblance of normalcy, but nothing about this is normal and the helpers we are used to turning to are burning the wicks at both ends.

In today's climate, therapists are battling the same battles as our patients. Once upon a time before COVID, our stressors would occasionally overlap, but in recent months the stressors are exactly the same as the majority of our clients. Therapists are encouraging our clients to do the very basics to keep from spiraling into a depression, all while we struggle to change out of our pajama bottoms for virtual sessions. At times it's difficult to put aside your own personal struggles to focus on the needs of our clients, but we still show up.

We keep showing up ready to hold space even though our own cups are empty, but the fear of the election outcome is a different level of connectedness that we as therapists were not prepared for. The fear around elections is not new, of course; we navigated this in 2016. But with the very palpable division in our country, our clients are scared. They're scared of either outcome, and so are we.


Communities of color are turning to therapists to help them not only navigate the continued shootings of unarmed Black and brown men by police, but to also have a safe place to express their fears and anxieties around the election. The state of the country is shaky, to put it mildly, for our minority communities. This includes increased depression and anxiety rates in LGBTQ+ communities as well. It seems as if therapists have noticed a collective holding of breath, and yet we also sit not breathing, waiting for the shoe to drop.

Therapists are not immune from current events. In fact, it's in many of our codes of ethics to be updated and actively advocating for things that are or will negatively affect our clients. Our clients are seeing news reports of the lines wrapped around sporting goods stores to purchase ammo and calls for a civil war should the election swing the pendulum toward the other direction. We sit in uncomfortable fear while our clients pour their hearts out, expecting us to have the answer. But we weren't trained for pandemic counseling in a tumultuous election year while the country is literally on fire. There was not a class for that.

We are sitting across from clients via screen or in person empathizing with their fear while experiencing the same gut-punching terror. We are getting hung up on what coping skills to suggest because we've tried them and they're not working for us, so we hesitate to suggest them to you. Of course, a brave face is put on display and we walk through mindfulness exercises to help ground you to the present moment, but in reality, the present moment is filled with uncertainty and doubt. When the only way out is through, we have to give our clients the tools to push through.

Therapy still works, even if at times your therapist may look haggard. We want you in our office, physical or virtually. This state that we're in is hard for everyone. It's important to know you're not alone and to develop the tools you need to push through to the other side of this election and beyond.

It's natural to have fear when nothing seems certain. We've been living in a heightened sense of survival for an extended period of time, and our brains are just not equipped to thrive in fight or flight for that long. So rest, talk to someone, and give yourself permission to feel whatever you're feeling. Even your therapist needs to do that right now.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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