life during the pandemic

Day 3589: Hideaway

I’ve been spending many hours thinking about how to remodel our upstairs shower, because I want that to be a hideaway.

I don’t want to hide away why that’s so important to me: When I was a child spending too much time alone in the hospital, the private bathroom with a tub, at the end of the long hallway, was really my only hideaway. The rest of the time, I was under the eyes of doctors and nurses, hooked up to a cardiac monitor that beeped out my unusual heartbeat, day and night.

Years ago in therapy, I gave myself the healing assignment of drawing a floor plan of that Children’s Hospital cardiac unit, and the room with the tub stood out as a precious and safe hideaway.

I’m also thinking of how Jerry Seinfeld described the shower as a hideaway:


Do you see any hideaways in my images for today?

It’s such an amazing coincidence that I’m writing about hideaways on National Hermit Day!

Here’s “Hideaway” by the incredible Jacob Collier:

I can’t hide away my gratitude for all who help me share these daily posts, including YOU.

Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3439: Freaking Adorable

I think the Daily Bitch is freaking adorable and that’s why I share that calendar with freaking adorable people.

Today I’m going to attend a Zoom conference with some fellow freaking adorable group therapists. Tonight, for the first time since the start of the freaking pandemic, I’m going to attend an in-person party for the freaking adorable Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy. I’m not freaking out about that because the party is mostly outside and I’ll wear this freaking adorable mask whenever I’m inside:

After all we’ve been through, we’re probably not as freaking adorable as we used to be, but I think we’re freaking adorable enough.

I hope you enjoy my other freaking adorable images for today.

It’s freaking adorable that the National Day Calendar sends you a puppy when you ask about a National Day that doesn’t exist (like National Fred Day or National Ann Day).

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “freaking adorable.”



I think this comment about that video is freaking adorable:


By the way, I’m very close to 30,000 freaking adorable followers on Twitter and I’ll be sharing this video when I hit that freaking amazing number.

I look forward to your freaking adorable comments, below.

Thanks to everyone who is freaking adorable, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 3406: Harmonies

Last night, after a two-year COVID delay, I finally got to experience, in person, the incredible musicianship, energy, and harmonies of Jacob Collier in concert. This is how Wikipedia begins the entry on Jacob Collier:

The atmosphere at Boston’s House of Blues last night was filled with harmonies, with the audience in rapt attention, Jacob and his band and crew creating otherworldly harmonies, and no restrictions on photographs or videos! At one point, I did try to capture the exquisite harmonies of a Jacob Collier concert with this video:

I just searched YouTube for “Jacob Collier live audience harmonies” and immediately found this.

The teenage boys behind me in line seemed to know everything about Jacob’s harmonies and they were very impressed when I told them I had seen Miles Davis in Boston in 1969. The guy sitting next to me at the concert, who used to play guitar with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and who sang some great harmonies with me, told me he had seen Jacob twice before and that it was “life changing.” Jacob had so much fun creating harmonies with his amazing band and with us that I got home very late, but I’m ready to create harmonies with the world and at work as soon as I finish the harmonies in this blog post.

I look forward to the harmonies you create in the comments section below and thanks to all who help me create harmonies in this blog every day, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3382: Anger

Decades ago, I learned that anger was the natural human reaction to not getting one’s needs met.

Because so many people disown, stuff, and fear their own anger, I once gave people at a psychiatric day treatment program the assignment of making a badge that said “I ❤️ my anger.”

In therapy groups, I sometimes ask people who their role models are for expressing anger, and often they can’t name anybody.

Obviously, a lot of us still have work to do regarding anger.

Do you see anger in my images for today?

I wonder if there’s going to be any anger because there are (1) so many National days today or (2) no pictures of Joan in this blog.

One of those issues I can fix.

Here’s an interesting TED talk about anger:

Feel free to express anger or any other feelings in the comments section below.

Thanks to all who do their best to deal with anger, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3381: Mixed feelings

I have mixed feelings about many things, including returning today to work at the hospital one day a week in person (and the remainder of the week remotely).

I have mixed feelings about many things because life is complicated and I am a feeling kind of a person.

Do you see mixed feelings in my images for today?

I plan to celebrate National Walk Around Day by walking around the hospital with mixed feelings.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “mixed feelings.”

To express mixed or unmixed feelings, please leave a comment below.

I’m feeling gratitude now for all who help me translate my mixed feelings into these daily blogs, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3355: National Get Over It Day

As a therapist, I try to help people get over it, where “it” is

  • loss,
  • old patterns of behaviors or thoughts that interfere with their moving forward,
  • past traumas, and/or
  • a belief in their own worthlessness.

However, I have never, ever said to anybody, “Get over it” because that never, ever helps.

So I wasn’t sure how to observe National Get Over It Day, especially in a world where people aren’t getting the opportunity to get over it, where “it” is

  • injustice,
  • war,
  • terrible people in power, and
  • COVID.

On National Get Over It Day, it also occurs to me that people in my nation (the USA) need to get over our unhealthy and self-centered nationalism.

Personally, I’ve been making progress on getting over it, where “it” is

  • a fear of machines breaking (because I’ve been dependent on cardiac pacemakers to stay alive since I was 10),
  • fears about doing or saying the wrong thing,
  • worries about putting myself out there on social media, and
  • an inaccurate sense of my own importance.

It’s time to get over myself and to move on to my images for National Get Over It Day.


Do you see anything about getting over it in my other images for today?

I can’t get over the fact that in all the hundreds of Daily Bitch Calendar entries I’ve seen over the years, this is the first one where she isn’t bitchy.

Here’s “Get Over It” by OK Go …

and “Get Over It” by the Eagles.

If you want to leave a comment, get over to the comments section, below.

I never, ever get over my gratitude for all those who help me blog every day, including you.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3351: The healing power of groups

Periodically, I give a talk about the healing power of groups. Here’s an excerpt from my latest one:

My first piece of wisdom to share is that human beings are built to need connections with other people. We all yearn to be understood by others, to be seen and heard, to realize we are not alone in our thoughts and feelings, and to feel safe enough to show all the different parts of ourselves. And the reality is that many of our patients are isolated, alone, unable to get enough of those connections, with the isolation only growing during COVID. So it’s even more critical and important to make groups accessible to people during a pandemic.


Last night, on Twitter, as I was thinking about the healing power of groups, I asked this question:

When I posted that question, I was thinking that I would want to join a group that could do SOMETHING productive about the horrible situation unfolding in Ukraine. Several people who responded on Twitter reflected my feelings about that, so I didn’t feel alone.

Some people responded to that question with the old Groucho Marx saying — “I wouldn’t want to join any club that would have me as a member” — and other people responded that they weren’t joiners and didn’t like groups.

Personally, I belong to the group that believes that most people need to feel connected to others in order to heal and to feel empowered. I was about to write “but that’s just me,” when I realized that it’s NOT just me. Which, again, I find healing.

Are there any healing powers in the group of images I’m presenting in today’s blog?

From the National Day website:

National Multiple Personality Day on March 5th has two separate approaches to recognizing this day.

The first strategy takes an inward examination of our own personalities. This approach sees the day as a way to explore personality traits and examining the roots of those traits. Each one of us shows a different side of our characters at other times and in different places. Sometimes our personalities appear to be altered, depending on whom we are with and what we are doing. With these things in mind, the day focuses our thoughts on our own personality traits.

The other view of the observance aims to raise awareness of the disorder. Multiple Personality Disorder is better known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). It is characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person’s behavior. Someone with DID will experience memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness. While the disorder affects less than .1 to 1 percent of the population, its impact is profound for that community and their family. The continued need for treatment, support, and research remains.

HOW TO OBSERVE #MultiplePersonalityDay
While there are two ways to approach this day, you can choose to recognize both.
Start by exploring your personality traits. Take a personality test and learn more about your personality.
Invite a friend to take the test with you and compare your results.
Learn more about Dissociative Identity Disorder. Please find out how it affects a person and how it is treated.
Attend a seminar or read up about the disorder.
Show support for those with the disorder by sharing your newfound understanding.
Use #MultiplePersonalityDay to post on social media.
National Day Calendar continues to research the origins of this multi-faceted day.


When I search YouTube for “The Healing Power of Groups” I find nothing that relates to this topic. That tells me that I should probably make a YouTube video about this.

Speaking of my YouTube videos, here‘s a video from my 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival show “Group Therapy With Ann.”


Thanks to all people who heal in groups and to YOU!

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 3344: FEAR is Forgetting Everything’s All Right

In a Coping and Healing Group this week, one of the members shared a very helpful phrase that a cherished friend had given her years ago:

FEAR is Forgetting Everything’s All Right.

People in the group, including me, had very strong, positive reactions to this gift the group member paid forward to us.

Since then, I’ve shared that gift with several people and the reaction has been the same: a pause and then an expression of gratitude.

As a habitual catastrophizer, who typically fears the worst case scenario no matter what the situation, I am finding this idea incredibly healing. And it’s helping me deal with

  • my own fears,
  • other people’s fears or other reactions,
  • my work as a clinical social worker,
  • relationships,
  • our cat’s health issues,
  • my health issues,
  • home issues,
  • money issues,
  • preparing my taxes,
  • uncertainties about the future,
  • an over abundance of empathy, and
  • the news.

If I have any fear about the images I’m about to share, then I’m Forgetting Everything’s All Right.

I have no fear about setting a good example, pistachios, or telling fairy tales, which are all right.

When I search YouTube for “fear is forgetting everything’s all right, I find this, which includes other acronyms for FEAR — False Evidence Appearing Real and Face Everything And Recover.

I have no fear about comments you might leave.

I’m not forgetting everything’s all right, nor my gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3343: Moments of inner peace

Yesterday, for the mindfulness exercise in both of my Coping and Healing groups, I invited people to access moments of inner peace. Then, last night, I asked this question on Twitter:

Somebody in group last night brought some moments of inner peace by sharing this: FEAR is Forgetting Everything is All Right.

It’s challenging to find moments of inner peace during times of conflict, stress, pandemics, injustice, and war. However, people somehow find those moments of inner peace through nature, meditation, music, animals, friends, family, self care, and love.

Can you find some moments of inner peace in my images for today?

Despite having an appointment to bring Harley to the vet today during a snowstorm, I’m still finding moments of inner peace.

This is what I find on YouTube when I search for “moments of inner peace.”

I also find this:

I look forward to moments of inner peace reading your comments.

I’m grateful for all my moments of inner peace and for YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3330: Safe Spaces

As I prepare another presentation about therapy groups, I know I need to talk about how to make safe spaces for people within a group, so that they’ll feel safe enough to share important thoughts and feelings.

Do you see any safe spaces in my images for today?

I’ll probably spend Global Movie Day in a safe space reading my birthday present — the wonderful autobiography of the amazing Mel Brooks (who’s aging like fine wine).

Here’s Joan in some safe spaces:

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “safe spaces.”

I hope the comments section, below, is a safe space for you to express any reactions you have to this “safe spaces” post.

Thanks to all who help make spaces safe, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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