Her Recession: Disabled veteran shares mental health struggles during pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash. — Labor statistics show this pandemic is having a crushing impact on women in the workforce. Numbers are one thing, but we’re sharing the stories of women going through this struggle.

Callie Coombs is a teacher. She was substitute teaching when COVID-19 first began.

“When you sub day after day at a school, year after year, you build relationships with the children still. That is why you teach,” said Coombs.

Those relationships brought Coombs happiness. Happiness she says also served as a distraction from other issues going on in her life, such as back pain and PTSD from serving in the military.

“A lot of depression due to not being able to do the things I used to be able to do,” said Coombs.

Work now being one of them.

“The one thing that got me going was thinking, ‘Oh today I can work or tomorrow I can work.’ There was nothing to do aside from thinking how much my back hurt and being afraid of what the future had in store,” Coombs said.

She’s not alone.

“There’s this phrase called ‘mental load,’ and it’s typical that women take on more of that mental load than males,” said Lindsey McIntyre, Clinical Therapist with Charmed Counseling.

McIntyre says that mental load is usually distributed throughout our day to day tasks.

“Now that it’s all in the home, even for women who don’t have families or kids, it’s far more acute and it’s far more intense,” McIntyre said.

After several months of unemployment, Callie found a job tutoring. She says this, paired with therapy and medication, has made a world of difference.

“It took me from feeling like everything was hopeless, to feeling like okay, I can manage this and think clearly and start looking for ways to make my life better,”said Coombs.

McIntyre says many insurance companies now cover telehealth therapy sessions. For those without insurance, there are local resources that can help get you set up such as Frontier Behavioral Health, CHAS Behavioral Health, and Inland Behavioral Health.