Natasha is a mental health therapist licensed in the state of Maryland. She currently works under Choice Clinical Services, a women-led mental health practice with two locations in College Park and one in Greenbelt.

As a therapist, a lot of clients think you have everything together, and it’s so not true—like, nobody does. I’ve never met one person who has everything in every part of their life together.

Content warning for brief mention of past emotionally abusive relationship (3:10-5:15). The specific timestamps are indicated in the full transcript.

NOTE: This interview was conducted May 2, 2020. The protests Natasha refers to at 23:00 are the protests against COVID-19 regulations, such as the stay-at-home orders and the use of masks.

Interview highlights:

On the transition from in-person therapy to teletherapy:
“I’ve had clients drop out of therapy when [social isolation became enforced] because of issues with confidentiality, and that really does suck. Like, telehealth is really important, and I think it can be a really useful tool, but there’s also big downsides to it toofor both client and therapist.”

On how Natasha is able to access support for herself:
“I am with my family right now—I’m living at home. So, using them as a support, it’s really great. Talking to my friends who are also therapists, and understand all of this, like, very well. And even my friends who are not therapists at all, or nowhere near that—it’s really nice having them, too, because you can kind of unplug with them? You know, you don’t have to have that ‘therapy talk’ with them. So, using that.

“My cats, too, that like to interrupt me during sessions, is actually a blessing, because it’s like my emotional support animal while we’re all talking about really hard things. And I have my own therapist, too, that I reached back out to when all this started. So, I’ve been doing that. Yeah. And I think just trying—trying to stay busy, trying to stick to a schedule and a routine, because that’s what this pandemic really took away from all of us. So, trying to stick as much to “normal,” as we can—in air quotes, since everyone’s listening. [Natasha and interviewer laugh]

“And just like trying—trying to do things that make me happy. Like, being creative. Painting, I like to paint. And going outside when it’s sunny out. So, lots of little things. The little things are what keeps us sane.”

Full transcript:

Interviewer: So, Natasha, what do you do for a living?

Natasha: So, I’m a mental health therapist. I work at Choice Clinical Services. That’s actually right outside of UMD’s [University of Maryland, College Park] campus.

Interviewer: Mm. And tell me more about your background in mental health.

Natasha: So, I have my—I actually have my bachelor’s degree in psychology from UMD. And then, I went to Towson University for my master’s in Counseling Psychology. So, I’m pretty new to the field. I just graduated May 2019—so about a year ago now. When I had internships, it was like our second year of grad school, and we had the internship for a whole year, so, been in the field for like kind of two years—more with supervision in the past, but like, actually in the field now.

Interviewer: And why—I guess that I wanted to know more about why this work is important for you.

Natasha: Yeah. So, I think what initially got me interested in it was just, like, learning about psychology in high school. But I always felt like, “What can I do with a degree in psychology?” I just felt like you could only go the path of a therapist or a teacher.

And I kind of felt like that wasn’t for me at all. I was like, I don’t really want to sit around and listen to people’s problems all day. And ironically, I’m here. And it’s like, throughout school, once I started taking more psych classes in undergrad, I realized it’s so much more than listening to people’s problems. There is a lot of…just like, so many underlying things that can happen, and just even in the therapeutic space. Like, for a lot of people, just going somewhere—getting out of their situation, having a place that they can go to and rely on week by week, or however often that they come in, makes a huge difference. Having someone who will listen to them, and not like—a lot of people in our life tend to just give advice. And it’s like, “I didn’t really ask for advice on those. I just wanted someone to listen to me.”

So having the power to be able to do that, and learning about all the different ways that therapy works, and how it can mean different things for different people, really got me into it. Also, just, like, helping in general, which I feel like is the obvious answer here. I always wanted to help people. And I never really—like, growing up, I never really knew how. I also felt like, “Oh, you had to be a doctor, or a nurse,” or something like that in the medical field to be able to actually help someone.

So just throughout, like, my own experiences with people that I know going through mental illness, and just life experiences in general—because you don’t have to have a mental illness to be in therapy. It can benefit anybody. It helps with communication in general, learning about yourself, self-awareness, all those kinds of things. So, seeing how just even learning more in psychology has helped me, and how I could apply so many of those different things to my own life, I wanted to, like, help other people do the same thing too.

Interviewer (3:10): And, if you’re comfortable elaborating more, I kind of wanted to know more about, like, your personal experiences with mental health, and how that ties in with your profession.

Natasha: Yeah. So, um…wow, that got really personal. 

[Natasha and interviewer laugh]

Natasha: No, I think that’s a really good question, too, because I feel like as a therapist, a lot of clients think you have everything together, and it’s so not true. Like, nobody does. I’ve never met one person who has everything in every part of their life together. So that is really, really humbling in and of itself: knowing that you can go through things and help other people.

Actually, I think when I first started taking psych classes, it was actually my junior year of undergrad, and I was—I started off as a biology major. And then, when I was in my first two years, I was actually in an emotionally abusive relationship.

And I didn’t realize that until after I got out, and I was taking these psych classes, that I realized all of what was going on. And so it was—’cause it’s just so subtle, and everyone only really talks about, like, physically abusive relationships. And that’s pretty obvious to tell when you’re in one of those. But just, like, the manipulation and even the power—I think it’s called the cycle of abuse, yeah.

And just, the power struggle in that—learning about all of that just helped me realize and understand my own experience, and then also helped me understand other people’s experiences, too. ‘Cause I think there’s a lot of value in being able to understand yourself before you can understand other people, if that makes any sense. It sounds really weird, but it also reminds me of that quote of “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” So, like, you can’t really help other people without helping yourself first. And that applies in that area, too.

Interviewer (5:15): Yeah. I’ve definitely wondered about—just generally that—that quote that you mentioned was actually exactly what I was thinking because… The reason why I was very interested in learning about your personal experiences is because I sometimes wonder if, like, that’s what sometimes motivates people to join the therapy field because they’ve already experienced that validating power, whether it’s through education, being able to see something laid out in front of you or if they’ve already been in that space, in that therapeutic space, and being able to have someone echo back, reframe your thoughts, and then, you know, sort of like passing on the baton.

Natasha: Yeah, I think there is some truth to that, right? I mean, you can see it and look in the news when you hear about somebody going through some kind of illness, and their team of doctors—and then they’re inspired by their doctors taking care of them to then go into the healthcare field, too. And I think it’s the same thing, like, understanding yourself in that very intimate way, because we don’t really do that on a daily basis, or most people don’t do that outside of therapy as much as you do in therapy.

And then, even other people who have been in therapy before—that inspires them to become a therapist. I think there is truth in passing that baton on too: I’ve been really helped through this experience, [cat making sounds in the background] so now I want to do the same thing for other people. Yeah.

Interviewer: And then, speaking to that, working in the profession—And you did mention that there are all these different ways to access therapy, and all these different ways to practice therapy…[pauses as Natasha walks to open door for her cat]

Natasha: Sorry. [laughs].

Interviewer: No problem.

Natasha: My cat wanted to leave the room. Yes, you were saying, all the different ways to access therapy.

Interviewer: And also, just to practice therapy. So, I was just wondering more of, like, what is your approach to therapy when you’re conducting it?

Natasha: Yeah. So, there is a bunch of different theories that you can work out of. I’d like to say that I’m pretty eclectic. I take from a bunch of different theories, depending on who’s sitting in front of me at the time and what they’re going through, what their needs are. I meet my clients where they’re at, and I’m really open to their feedback. Like, I want to know—this is, this is their time, you know? So, I want to make the most of it. Whatever you need, I can try and do that for you.

But one of my main approaches that I go by is, you could say, psychodynamic-informed CBT. So, I think that there’s a lot of value to understanding kind of what Freud said. Your first relationships, your first experiences with people, and how that can shape a lot of what your current life is looking like, or what your current situation can be like too, because—you think about it, when we’re kids, everything—We’re constantly learning. We’re like sponges. And so, basically, you tend to mimic what you’re first learning. And then when you get older, that’s when you can question things and decide, like, this is what I want to be. This is not who I want to be. You can kind of differentiate from there. But, it’s also a lot more ingrained than some of the things that you’re actively or consciously thinking about.

So then, that’s where the CBT comes in. So, that’s cognitive behavioral therapy, and it’s based on the idea that—So they’re in similar schools of thought, but they’re also very opposite, where psychodynamic says, “Yes, your past and your history makes a huge difference.” And for CBT, it’s like, “We don’t really care about all that stuff. We just want to know what’s going on right now, and how we can fix that.”

So I think that you need both. You need to know how the past has influenced you currently, what’s going on right now, and then how we can go in and fix that. So, a lot of what goes on there is determining some of the thoughts that you have out of habit, some of the thoughts that are more ingrained in you, where some of them came from—if they’re your own or from society or from a parent or other people in your life growing up.

And then being able to challenge or balance those thoughts, because we all tend to have these cognitive distortions. Some really common ones are catastrophizing, where it’s like everything feels like, “Oh, now it’s the end of the world, like, this is all going to suck. I’m gonna fail this assignment. And that means I’m gonna, like, completely fail the semester.” And everybody has thoughts like that. But when they’re more intense and happen more often, that’s when they become problematic. So, CBT really helps get at the root of those, and challenge those thoughts, and help us change them—and sometimes replace them, too, with more positive ones.

Interviewer: Speaking of catastrophizing—[both Natasha and interviewer laugh]—with this whole pandemic, how has it been like for, I guess, your interactions with your clients? How has that been, just generally?

Natasha: Yeah, honestly, it’s been hard. It’s been a lot harder. I really miss going into the office and working with people face-to-face. I mean, a prime example is—well, first I wanna say, I’m very grateful that I can work from home, and I’m very grateful that I can still see a lot of the people that I’ve been working with, and they can still get this help, because I find that they go one opposite or the other.

It’s either like, “You know, my anxiety has been pretty bad and this whole situation made it even worse. So, now I definitely need to be in therapy more, now than ever.” And other people, who are kind of like, “Well, you know, school is my biggest stress, and school is not really much of a thing anymore. So, I’m good right now.”

But what I was saying before, how it’s been difficult is—like a really good example: my cat coming in and out. And she will cry at the door, and then I have to go open the door. And let her in, let her out, and things like that. And it’s the same thing on the other end for my clients—clients who now take care of their kids 24/7 have to be able to find the time that works for them, or, you know, still have interruptions with kids. With my clients who are kids, it’s really hard to keep their attention. They can run off the camera, and there’s nothing I can do about it because—[laughs]—I’m here.

I feel like it’s harder to stay focused. I remember the first few weeks of just switching completely over to telehealth. I was getting these headaches. My eyes were hurting, like, “What is going on? This must be stress.” No, it’s just from staring at the screen all day long. Like, little things like that, that you never even really think about, that aren’t really issues that come with the job, are suddenly issues that come with the job now. So, readjusting in that way, trying to find ways to still get to reach people through the screen, to make it still feel like it’s personal—because I think adding a screen in front of things depersonalizes it a little bit. So yeah, there’s a bunch of ways that it [therapy with clients] definitely changed.

And I think one of the biggest ones is just—there’s not that same energy. When you’re talking to a screen, you’re not getting that energy from that person as much. And I’ve noticed that even too within some of my clients, where it’s just they’re kinda like, neither here nor there. Some people keep up the same energy. And I feel like we can feed off of it, and keep each other energized. And for other people, you know, it’s just somewhere in the middle. And then I end up being somewhere in the middle, too. And I’m trying my hardest to try and keep up positive energy. And so, it’s difficult, but I think we’re just trying to get really creative with how to make it work.

Interviewer: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about the intimacy that sometimes can be lost within the screen. I was kind of thinking about teletherapy could, like—how that’s sort of influencing it [the intimacy] more. I guess, I just kind of want to hear more about that: like, what your thoughts are about intimacy, and being able to be more somewhat personable in person. Just having, like, this sort of personalized experience with your clients.

Natasha: Yeah. So, I think it [teletherapy] works as a cost and a benefit too. One of the other things that comes with it is being in someone else’s personal space. You see a lot more of what’s going on. Like, you can get context to some of their issues. One of my clients that I mentioned that’s a kid—seeing the kind of environment that she’s living in, some of it is like, “Oh, that’s interesting. Some of that makes sense. No wonder you’re having a hard time staying focused.” Like, that kind of thing.

But it also works, obviously, as a barrier if you’re not able to stay focused in your own—because when people are more comfortable in their own home, it’s not a neutral setting. They may be more inclined to, like, not give as much or not—you kind of get comfortable where you’re at, and you’re not doing work. ‘Cause that’s what therapy is, is doing work. You’re doing work on yourself. And so, when you’re really kinda chilling in bed and all comfortable, you’re not really inclined to do as much work. So that definitely not so much speaks to the intimacy, but just speaks to that space, of having a therapeutic space, having a neutral setting and a place where you actually have to go to. When you go somewhere, you’re on the way there, you’re kind of changing your mindset, like, “Okay, I’m on the way to therapy now,” rather than transitioning from being in school in bed to being in a therapy session in bed.

And then, also to your point of the intimacy, I think, too, is like…We utilize silence sometimes as a therapeutic intervention. So, trying to allow people that space or time to think about things. And that’s harder to do not in person, because, again, being in that personal space, you can get distracted. Like, the phone’s right there. You can be on your phone, and someone not really notice. I mean, you can kinda tell, but—[laughs]—it’s different compared to someone just uses their phone in the middle of a therapy session at the office. Like, that’s obvious.

So it’s harder to utilize that silence. It’s harder to try and make that in-person connection. It’s really hard to explain. It’s something that I think all of us know from the lack of it now, just how different it is. Like, even talking to your friends over the phone, or over Zoom, instead of being in person. And even though being—having a therapeutic relationship is different from other relationships, ’cause you aren’t like touching your clients, you’re not hugging them or anything like that, they’re still just that sense of “There’s someone here with me, sitting with me with my problems. And I’m not alone in this.”

Interviewer: Yeah, definitely. What I’m sort of hearing—like, the immediacy is sort of lost from not being able to be in that physical space. Yeah…yeah…And I guess—there’s so many things that are coming to my head but, yeah, I think that that’s all very important to definitely bring up. And I’m sort of—you’ve mentioned, like one of your clients as an example, but I’m just sort of wondering that what sort of issues are you finding with a lot of your clients or with some of your clients that are just sort of being brought up due to this pandemic, or due to some social isolation, things like that? You did mentioned some before, but…

Natasha: Yeah. So, I mean, to state the obvious, the pandemic is one that almost always comes up. Sometimes, it’s like one week they’re okay with it. They’re dealing with other stuff in their personal life. But then the next week it shifts, which tends to happen in therapy regardless. But with something this big and that touches every aspect of your life, a lot of people are going, I notice, like going back and forth. One week, they’re talking about whatever they initially came in with. The next week, they’re talking about how the pandemic is affecting them. The next week, they’re back to their original stuff. The next week, again, they’re back to the pandemic. So, it’s, it’s a little—I don’t want to say, “all over the place?” Because everything is all over the place right now? [laughs] That’s kind of the normal now.

But there is a lot of that back and forth. And I think it can be hard on a client just to constantly have those thoughts and feelings bouncing around within you. And I think it can be hard on a therapist, too, because it’s like, if you go in with a plan of, “So this is what we worked on last time. Like, here’s what we can do based on that this week.” And if they’re like, “Well, actually, I want to talk about something else,” then you have to come up with something else in the moment, which I think the longer that I’ve been doing this for, the easier it is. But still having that time to plan ahead is really helpful. So you lose some of that.

And also some other clients, too—a lot of what they come in with is just like—thinking about depression, for example. Isolation is one of the symptoms, right? One of the things that can make your depression worse. One of the things that is a sign of depression. So that’s what we’re all doing: we’re all isolating ourselves from other people for good reason, but that can make it so much worse for somebody who’s already depressed, and needs that social interaction and needs to have those connections. So trying to think of ways to get creative with, “Can we set up like weekly calls with friends or family members or something like that,” which is still, you know, back to what we were just talking about: that lack of intimacy. And that’s a big portion of what helps with that isolation.

So, it’s really difficult for a lot of clients in that way, too. And even some of my clients—actually, I don’t think anyone that I’m working with, that I know of, has been going through anything like this. But I know there are clients of other therapists at other agencies, different places, just in general—like if you’re in an abusive situation, you can’t get out of that. Or if you’re in a toxic family environment, you can’t leave the house. So even trying to get creative in those ways with working with those clients, like, “Can you go sit outside when it’s really nice for a while? Can you take a drive, or can you sit in the car?”.

Even with some of my clients that I do work with—confidentiality, too, right? When you’re in the office, you don’t really have to worry about that. But when they’re in their house with other people and they don’t want anyone to hear, and for some people, talking about those other people that are in the house—they end up not doing that. And I’ve had clients drop out of therapy when all this happened because of issues with confidentiality. And that really does suck. Like, telehealth is really important, and I think it can be a really, really useful tool. But there’s also big downsides to it, too, for both client and therapist.

Interviewer: And I think that—something that comes to mind is just the fact that, um—when scrolling through social media, and when I read people talking about the pandemic, some people mention that it’s inciting some sort of trauma, because of things that are being lost, and things that are being changed around. And I was wondering, I just wanted to hear your perspective of it [the pandemic] being described as something traumatic.

Natasha: Yeah, yeah, it definitely is. I mean, if you’re thinking in the more direct sense of people who are on the front lines and seeing lots of people die, or seeing people get to the brink of dying and coming back, and just the trauma of having to go into that environment every day. Definitely.

But then, for the rest of us who aren’t on the front lines, even just like the fear, the fear response—very similar to a traumatic event. The uncertainty, not knowing what’s going to happen next—that’s very typical of trauma too. Like thinking of if you’re in an active traumatic situation—we can even use a natural disaster for an example—like, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if your house is going to be hit by this storm or not. You don’t know if your family members are safe.

That’s—that’s exactly what’s going on right now, too. And then, even just like the complete uproot of our lives, how many things have changed in so many different aspects of our life? That’s all part of what trauma is, and what makes the definition of trauma. So, that’s a really accurate description. And there’s a whole bunch of different responses to trauma. And I think numbing is one of the common ones: you’re just trying to go through the day. You’re like on autopilot. You just gotta get the things done that you gotta get done. You can’t think about it, and you can’t feel whatever it is that you might be feeling, because that’s going to get in the way of things.

Or there’s people who are on the opposite and feeling everything, and are really scared and are just, like, kind of falling apart, right? And you see that. You see that in so many different ways. And I think even with some of the protests and the protesters we’ve seen which…you know. I won’t say too much about that. [Note: Interview was conducted May 2, 2020. Natasha is referring to the protests against COVID-19 regulations, such as the stay-at-home orders and the wearing of masks.]

[laughs] But even with them, I think that can even be a numbing response to a trauma, like not wanting to believe it. Being in denial. And I think that’s…Someone else that I had spoken to described it that way of, you know, like you don’t want to accept this reality, and you’re just thinking of the ways that it’s affecting you. And it’s like, “What can I do?” That loss of control: trying to think of the ways that you can still provide for yourself or your family, and still take care of the things that, normally you wouldn’t think too much about.

And I think that’s—’cause a lot of people are upset about the people who are going out and protesting. You know, I am, too. But if you’re trying to understand them from that kind of perspective, I think they’re going through a trauma just like the rest of us. And that’s kind of their response to it in some way that’s different from the rest of us. And I think that can help us understand their perspective a little bit.

Interviewer: Mm. Yeah, different ways of trying to cope with things, different strategies. So then, as someone that is providing support for people within this situation, I was sort of wondering where you’re getting support, if at all, and how you’re just basically being able to access support.

Natasha: Yeah. So, I am with my family right now—I’m living at home. So, using them as a support, it’s really great. Talking to my friends who are also therapists, and understand all of this very well. And even my friends who are not therapists at all, or nowhere near that—it’s really nice having them, too, because you can kind of unplug with them? You know, you don’t have to have that ‘therapy talk’ with them. So, using that.

My cats, too, that like to interrupt me during sessions, is actually a blessing, because it’s like my emotional support animal while we’re all talking about really hard things. And I have my own therapist, too, that I reach back out to when all this started. So, I’ve been doing that. Yeah. And I think just trying—trying to stay busy, trying to stick to a schedule and a routine, because that’s what this pandemic really took away from all of us. So, trying to stick as much to “normal,” as we can—in air quotes, since everyone’s listening. [Natasha and interviewer laugh].

And just like trying—trying to do things that make me happy. Like, being creative. Painting, I like to paint. And going outside when it’s sunny out. So, lots of little things. The little things are what keeps us sane.

Interviewer: There’s been a lot of talk of, quote-unquote “normal,” and whether or not we’ll return to it and what normal even looks like. And I’m wondering, like if people—if it’s a way to cope? I don’t know, sometimes, I wonder if the idea of “normal”—how much of that would be a means of hope, and how much of that might be quote-unquote “denial” in a sense. I don’t know. What are your thoughts on that?

Natasha: Yeah, I think it depends. I think it depends, because you can have normal of, “Yeah, I’m just going to run out to the grocery store whenever I need things.” One, in this setting that’s not really safe. That’s not as okay or “normal”—again, in quotes—as it was before. So, like, that might be a little bit more of denial. People who are still, might be just going out and doing things as per usual.

But, what is more of coping, and trying to keep things to a normal routine, is like trying to get up at the same time of day that you usually get up at. Trying to stick to your same morning routine, minus that commute, of course. Scheduling out time to be productive, scheduling out time to eat your meals, and then having that free time at the end of the night. Even with with a lot of my clients who are  students, I’m talking about trying to stick with a similar school schedule. So, like, if you have your classes two days a week, maybe do work for that class on those same days that you tend to go to those classes, so that it’s somewhat similar to what things were like before all of this happened. And I think that trying to adapt what was normal into our routines now is more of coping, whereas denial is more like trying to stick, like just sticking straight to normal, not really considering anything else.

Interviewer: Are there any more sort of skills that you equip your clients—that you’re trying to equip your clients with?

Natasha: Yeah, yeah. So sticking to a routine and a schedule, of course, being one of them. Also telling people to not give up on that social connection with others, because that’s what’s really going to help with a lot of this, too. I know it’s not the same, and it’s not…Sometimes it can make you really frustrated and upset. I’ve been there before, too, but trying to push through that and still make those phone calls, still set up those Zoom dates or Google Hangouts or FaceTimes or whatever it is, trying to get really creative in that.

Like, my sister actually will do like her—put up her workout video on the computer and then have one of my cousins on FaceTime on her phone. And they’ll work out together. Like, getting really creative that way to stay in touch with people, ’cause that’s really important.

Getting enough sleep. Getting enough sleep, which is hard when you’re anxious, but trying your best to get enough sleep. Making sure you eat. Taking care of those really basic needs. Because when you’re in a trauma situation, and you’re responding to that, a lot of that basic stuff goes out the window, and you forget about them. You’d be surprised how many times people go through the day and are like, “Yeah. I didn’t even realize I didn’t eat all day, because I’ve been so stressed out—my mind is on other places.”

So, taking care of those basic needs. Trying to practice mindfulness in whatever way that works for you. For some people, it might be prayer; some people, it’s meditation. Trying to get those mindfulness apps or those YouTube videos that have the guided meditations are really helpful. And even just like….going back to the basics of paying attention to your breath, your breathing. Paying attention to what it feels like in your body, and feel, feel whatever it is that you’re feeling. Don’t try and ignore it. Don’t try and push it away. Don’t try and be like, “Oh, let’s, you know, let’s just be really positive about this. Everything is going to get back to normal. We’re gonna be okay.”

If you’re feeling sad, cry about it. If you’re upset, like, I mean, scream in a pillow or scream out loud if you’re living alone and don’t have neighbors in your apartment to get it out in whatever way that you can, because we all know bottling things up never gets us very far. So just allowing yourself to go through those ups and downs, and have that good day, or have that bad day, and trying to just keep taking things a day at a time, or at most a week at a time, because none of us knows what things are going to look like even tomorrow. So, trying to plan too far ahead can make you really anxious, too. So those are a lot of like the basic skills or ways to think about things that I try and equip all my clients with, and even friends and family too.

Interviewer: And that brings me to my last question. When I was reading your bio on Choice Clinical Services, you mentioned that your goal in therapy is to help clients reach their authentic self. And I was just wondering what you feel that authenticity looks like within this time of crisis.

Natasha: Yeah, it’s a little bit harder to reach that, because a lot of people try and come in with—even with people with social anxiety, trying to get to that authentic self of like, “I want to interact with people, but it’s hard right now, working through that.”

But then, in a time where none of us are interacting with other people, trying to find that authentic self looks very different. And that’s just one example of it. So I think what it comes back down to is a lot of self-reflection and a lot of self-awareness. So right now, it’s actually a really good time to work on that, because you don’t have a car to go, you don’t have a whole lot to do. So spending that time with yourself, getting to know yourself: the things that you like, the things that you don’t like, how you want to be as a person—all of that stuff. Getting in touch with who you really are, your likes, your interests, your hobbies. And like, using this time to figure all of that out, which normally, on a regular basis, we don’t always have time for, or we don’t make time for it. So, and that, you can do that in a bunch of different ways, like through—I think for a lot of people—through some kind of creative outlet, they can figure that out. Just learning a little bit more about their past or themselves through therapy, like we talked about. Journaling is a really good one, too. There’s a bunch different ways that you can try and figure out who you are and who you want to be.

And I think, one of the biggest things about everything we’re going through right now—one of the blessings in disguise, I guess you could say, is…this is telling you something about yourself. You’re figuring out who you are in the midst of chaos and tragedy, and just like everybody in the world having a terrible time.

I think we’ve all talked about how we’re all in this together—which we are in some way, but also not, because a lot of people have access to different things. Some people have more. Some people have less. So we are all going through it, but we are going through it very differently. So learning about who you are in a time like this, I think, says a lot about us.

Natasha sitting a her desk, which has her laptop, candles, and framed pictures and prints.
Natasha in her new workspace at home.

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