mental health covid pandemic

Mental Health and the Pandemic – CoVid19 Effect

As a collective of people on this planet, we have experienced something that many of us will take a while to recover from, and it is not just those who became seriously ill with CoVid. It has caused stress and anxiety, depression and fear, not forgetting grief. Mental health and the pandemic has left more casualties than anyone can imagine.

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As I write this, the virus is running rampant in India, and they are running out of oxygen; we all wait to see if new mutant strains emerge, which may prove the vaccine ineffective.

The Mental Pandemic

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According to all the news and even the World Economic Forum, we have to brace ourselves for the after-effects. But this is assuming there is an after, how long will it continue for, and how can we plan and take care of ourselves whilst still in the midst of it?

Thinking post-pandemic is what experts do, and I am not one of them. I’m your run on the mill person who already has mental illnesses, and dealing with lockdowns and remembering to avoid people has proved problematic for me. My bipolar flared up and sent me hypomanic, and I am still trying to maintain a balance now.

The problem with those who have never suffered mental illness before is that it has been thrust upon them through no fault of their own, as in most cases. It could have been triggered by many things, with the virus being at the forefront, but there are secondary causes, such as job loss, lack of social interaction, and loss of a loved one. Managing family life and work-life in one or two rooms and not forgetting children, who will have to relearn how to be kids again.

Is it any wonder the whole of the world’s governments is preparing for a global meltdown in our mental health?

According to an article on University of London:

People with pre-existing mental health conditions have reported challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdowns, such as the loss of normal coping routines, barriers to accessing care, and unequal impacts of the pandemic, in a new study co-led by City, University of London and UCL researchers.

And not only that, in another article by World Economic Forum:

55% of women and 38% of men say the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.

Figures for the USA

But you assume those figures are not just for the USA; they will represent the whole world as we are all going through it.

What Can People Do to Help Themselves?

When there is a lack of control in daily life, you have to remember the things you can control. This is how I have tried to cope by dealing with things within my range of control. The disease is not, neither is the cure, but my home and I are under my control.

Admittedly I have become worse during the lockdown, but I believe I would have ended up in the mental health unit if I had not used the suggestions below.

What I can Control

  • The TV, I can turn it off; the same applies to social media.
  • Home deliveries, meaning I don’t have to worry about other people, it was getting too much for me, and I had to resort to Deliveroo and Just Eat, plus a “when I could get it” Tesco shop.
  • Being kind to myself, not beating myself up for things I cannot have an impact on.
  • Unfollowing negative people on social media.
  • Being proactive, I set this blog up; it has kept me nearly sane; I recommend getting a blog or a journal.
  • Meditation and prayer.
  • Self-care, and treating myself, even putting make-up on, I have to force myself to do the latter but always feel better once made up.
  • A routine, admittedly it was a simple one, but it helped me.

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Everything You Have

As the pandemic still rages around the world and places open up again, the future is uncertain. None of us knows what is going to happen. But we have to rely on our governments and do as they ask for the safety of our neighbour and family.

But above all, we have to make sure we care for ourselves to care for others should we be a parent. Take time for yourself if your home is a hub of continuous activity, even if it is hiding in the shed to meditate for 10 minutes or on the toilet.

If you feel depressed or anxious, please speak to your doctor and get help, as help is there, but you have to make the first move, and it is braver to ask for help than to hide away and hope it will go away. Talk about how you feel, share with friends or family, and contact your local mental health charity if you have nobody to talk to.

If you can afford it, pay to speak to a counsellor or therapist or get added to the waiting list for a free one. Please make sure you are active in getting help; you won’t regret it.

Peace and blessings x

Lou

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