Life at the Clubhouse changed drastically 3 weeks ago.   Today we are living in a time of uncertainty, social distancing and sheltering in place.  Thank God I have been able to stay connected to the Clubhouse community virtually and remotely.  I still get to participate in the work and work side by side with other members and staff. It seemed strange the first week but we hit the ground running and haven’t looked back.  We’ve ramped up our connectivity so that when we can physically return to the Clubhouse we will be stronger than ever.

I was seriously concerned with how I was going to fill my days while stuck in the house isolating with my parents.   I can’t even go to the grocery store anymore because they are both over the age of 70. This puts them at great risk as they are considered more vulnerable to the Coronavirus.  Happily, we are all doing well.  

That being said, life is harder than ever right now.   To be frank with y’all, my anxiety had been extremely high because I was afraid my depression would worsen knowing I couldn’t go to the Clubhouse.  Regularly I would volunteer 3-4 days a week and frequently, all day. Thankfully, I have found that I’m keeping that same schedule remotely and virtually.  I was really concerned about having enough things to do but my days are packed! My morning starts with the 9:30 check in and I wrap things up around 4:30pm.  The most important aspect is keeping connectivity. I’ve spent some of my time calling members with staff. We’ve all worked hard! In the last 3 weeks we have made 560 calls) just checking in to see how folks are doing and giving them the information they need to stay connected.  I’ve been on virtual wellness walks, put together the Poetry portion of the Spring Newsletter, contacted donors thanking them for donating during Amplify Austin, data entry and more. I’ve also been able to attend daily meetings. Today via Zoom, a group of people met virtually with a group of folks from a clubhouse in Maine.  Being on Zoom meant we could all see each other’s faces! Boy have I missed seeing faces! Today I also attended the Ambassador Meeting (via Zoom), and our topic of discussion was the Texas Summit that some attended virtually last week. I’ve had very full days. Full days of laughter, work and progress. It’s been an exciting week!  You’ve got to join us so you can see Luke and John-Michael! You wouldn’t recognize them! They shaved their beards off! You can imagine that conversation around the dinner table has been filled with the stories from my day.

The best part of my day is the connection.  I don’t feel so alone. All of us are experiencing the same things living in such tough times.  I am feeling less anxious because I keep my therapy appointments and stay busy with the Clubhouse.  I wrap things up with the Clubhouse at 4:30 and then it’s me time. I treat the day like I’m back at work.   I hope you will join me. I promise you are missed and there is much work to be done. You are valued and we want you with us!  Let’s keep each other company during this surreal time. We all make a difference in each other’s lives.

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