Do you feel neck deep in this crisis, like you’re trying to swim against a tsunami? Have you also been on the receiving end of those Hallmark card sentiments during this trying time? Did you find it empathetic or remotely helpful? Before you’re tempted to blurt out that cliché, perhaps rethink before you speak.

You just dry shampooed and Febrezed your kids, so no, you’re not really interested in making a daily “chore chart” right about now. If schools are closed any longer, parents are going to find a vaccine before the scientists.

You may prefer receiving news with a bit of sweetness, while others would rather hear information that is direct and straight to the point. He may feel that he is sparing you pain by sugarcoating the latest bad news report or update. But you may want him to be completely transparent. After all, if someone is soft-pedaling and candy-coating the facts, then important truths and details may be left out entirely.

You heard the latest commentator droning on about the coronavirus, and you’re thinking: “Get to the point already.” When are the schools and stores reopening, for mercy’s sake?

Yes, the timeline may be ever so hard to hear, let alone get to grips with. I am not convinced that any one of us even trusts the media enough to give us the unvarnished truth. By the way, have we tried turning the USA off and back on again?

Wondering what you should wear to the couch tonight? Your cleaning lady just called to say she will be working from home. And she sent you instructions on what to do. Sheesh. Do you really want to hear about clouds and silver linings at this time? Perhaps you do. And what’s up with all the people washing their hands, as if this was a new thing?

You may possibly be one who is able to learn a timeless moral lesson from this pandemic. If so, how do you go about sharing it? Some folks are more inclined to focus on positivity and see beauty in life’s challenges. Indeed, we all need to rationalize or find some kind of reassurance at this time. But do we really benefit at all from hearing things like: “It is what it is.” Sure, it is what it is…till it ain’t anymore. And when will that be? Bet you never thought the comment: “I wouldn’t touch that with a six-foot pole” would become national policy. Yet here we are.

The only nation you’re visiting this spring is your imagination. This pandemic is no doubt the most unfathomable, bewildering, and bizarre thing we never thought we would be living through. So of course we all long for a future when all will be natural, normal, and sublime once again. But do you really want to hear another cliché? People have been tossing around coffee mug and bumper sticker sentiments in the hopes of cheering us up. Is it really that simple to explain away life’s difficulties and disservice? You can’t have your cake and eat it too? Geez, why not? Isn’t that the point of cake? If it ain’t one thing, it’s another? You figure that one out…I would avoid clichés like the plague. Oops. Can I say that now?

You do realize that if they had just called it the “Stay at Home Challenge” and posted it on Facebook, the virus would be gone by now. At times, we truly need to accept what cannot be changed. But sometimes we need to face something head on and work out a plan to actually improve, fix, or simply tolerate it. What is your current plan, sweet friends?

They tell you: “Don’t worry. Money can’t buy happiness.” Um… Money is a resource, and guess what? It can certainly make a difference during tough times like these. For someone whose funds are low or non-existent right now, a reminder not to succumb to greediness may not be called for. And you know the best things in life – they are actually really expensive. Okay…maybe not.

Instead of tossing around those platitudes, try saying: “I’m really sorry this happened to you.” “What can I do to make this easier for you?” Please don’t say: “If you need anything, call me” to someone truly struggling. People who are in crisis may not have the ability or motivation to pick up that phone right now. Buy them a meal and drop it off for them…just because.

In certain ways, we are not all in this together, sweet friends. We may be in the same boat, but not all in the same storm. Some are secure, safe, and financially stable; while others have too much month at the end of their money right about now. Some seem to have just the right tonic to lighten their daily burdens, while others lash out at those closest to them.

No one seems to be getting out of the way when you are trying so hard to socially distance? I know the feeling. They walk right at you, refusing to stay six feet away; even if you may end up six feet under. Please just go ahead and move calmly. Do the right thing, even if you don’t get rewarded for your efforts.

Indeed: This too shall pass. But some of the feelings you have about an event may stay with you forever. They may lessen in intensity and mold into a different form; but not all things in this life truly “come and go.” Trust and faith go a long way. You’ve got this.

I don’t know about y’all, but I miss the days I was terrified of Romaine lettuce. And don’t you miss being late for everything? Heh. With masks firmly in place, I miss being able to smile at people and seeing theirs. What do you miss the most, sweet friends?

Please try to remember: It’s all about perspective. You’re not “stuck” at home. You’re “safe” at home. One word can change your whole attitude; and one cough can change your life.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at