The Columbia press. (Astoria, Or.) 1949-current, May 22, 2020, Page 7, Image 7

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    May 22, 2020
T he C olumbia P ress
In My Opinion
by Amy Baker, Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare
with Emma Edwards
Flags will help us remember
Warrenton Memorial Day
festivities, as many have
lamented, just won’t be the
same this year as in years
Memorial Day services at
Fort Steven’s National Cem-
etery will be accomplished
quietly by a few veterans
when the small flags are
put in place. Meanwhile,
the flag-changing service at
the post office also will be
achieved quietly.
The United States flag will
be lowered to half-staff at
sunset on Sunday, honoring
our fallen heroes who gave
their lives fighting for a com-
mon cause, America! The
flag will be raised and then
lowered along with all five of
the flags to be replaced about
noon on Monday.
When I asked about the
flag-changing service, I was
told that every year the five
flags are taken down and re-
placed with five new flags.
Our ocean storms and high
winds make that necessary.
An interesting side note
veteran Bert Little shared
with me recently is that VFW
members remove the grom-
mets from all the flags, polish
them up and give them to the
Cub Scouts. They become a
project for the Cub Scouts in
which they are turned into
key chains, bracelets and the
like and eventually given to
honored veterans.
In 1968, Congress passed
the Uniform Holidays Bill,
which moved Memorial Day,
Veterans Day and Washing-
ton’s Birthday so that they
conveniently create three-
day weekends.
Some good things about
our pandemic experiences
include spending more time
on social media. And we are
making more phone calls. It’s
fun to hear voices again after
a few years of “talking” via
text and email. Another bo-
nus of talking on the phone
is that we don’t have to spell
I meet with a seniors group
from my church at 9:45 a.m.
Thursdays via Zoom on my
iPad while at home. It is kind
of like Skype.
We get into Bible precepts
and concepts, but it isn’t re-
ally a Bible study per se. It’s
more a time when we can
gather and catch up. It’s fun
being able to safely see each
other and share with a group
that I’ve been part of on and
off for more than 25 years.
We do lots of laughing and
sharing and end up with a
brief round of prayer, too.
Sure helps alleviate the isola-
tion feelings!
Even before the pandem-
ic, many of us had been in-
troduced to a real doctor by
video or been in a conference
call via phone.
One senior lady told me of
her experience with the doc-
tor on her iPhone when she
couldn’t get into her doctor’s
office. Upon connecting, she
was told to open her mouth
and say “Ahhh” and the med-
ical professional on the other
end of the line looked at her
throat. And right away a pre-
scription was phoned in for
It might be good to contact
your insurance company and
inquire about medical cover-
age on such a program. And,
of course, see what’s avail-
able through your own doc-
tor’s office.
Practicing wellness in a pandemic
Living through the coro-
navirus era has forced many
of us to confront what we
thought we knew about emo-
tions and prolonged stress.
The pandemic has come in
like a perfect storm, flood-
ing our lives with uncertain-
ty while robbing us of many
of our usual coping mecha-
nisms. In the past couple of
weeks, I’ve seen the strain
settle in.
Unchecked emotions have
fueled spats on social media,
tensions within personal re-
lationships, unease in work-
places around our commu-
nity, and increased alcohol
It can be easy to miss the
psychological effects of living
in a pandemic when most of
our thoughts are focused on
basic survival, such as food,
income, and physical health.
But with so much of our at-
tention focused on practical
needs, how does one know
when their mental wellness
Special columns in
The Columbia Press
Every week: Senior
Moments with Emma
Week 1: History in the
Week 2: Financial Fo-
cus with Adam Miller
Week 3: Off the Shelf
by Kelly Knudsen
Final week: Mayor’s
Message by Henry Bal-
ensifer III
is struggling?
Have you found yourself ir-
ritable and squabbling with
others? Yelling at your kids?
Have life’s disappointments
turned into catastrophic
events? Do you have feelings
of dread or hopelessness?
Well, you’re not alone in
this experience and it may be
time to pay attention to what
lies underneath.
There are behaviors we can
adopt to attend to our emo-
tional well-being. Perhaps the
most important first step is to
give yourself permission to
feel. You won’t fall apart.
It’s not a permanent state.
Give yourself permission to
identify and feel your actual
Unhealthy coping devices
like alcohol can change your
mental state, but it doesn’t
cause the feelings to go away
and often makes them worse.
If you want to feel the good
stuff, you have to feel the bad
stuff too.
If this seems impossible
to do on your own, call Clat-
sop Behavioral Healthcare
at 503-325-5722. It doesn’t
mean you’re weak and it
doesn’t mean there’s some-
thing wrong with you.
We can all use a hand from
time to time. We’re here for
Amy Baker is executive di-
rector of Clatsop Behavioral
Healthcare in Warrenton.
CBH is dedicated to improv-
ing life for those affected by
mental health issues, addic-
tions, and developmental