For a long time, mental and physical health were talked about in two separate ‘leagues’, as if the former was almost ‘pseudo science’, while the latter was being placed on a pedestal. Today, many more people have come to recognize the importance of both mental and physical well-being, but some might still be unconvinced of the real ramifications that not taking care of one’s mental health could have on themselves. At this juncture, I shall disclaim that I’m no psychiatrist or trained medical professional, and the following information is largely based on research and personal introspection.
First, let us begin by narrowing down mental sickness that we shall examine anxiety and depression, the two most commonly cited ‘side-effects’ of this Covid crisis we’re living through. These conditions may come about as a result of isolation, economic hardship, stress and worry or fear and panic in light of the situation(s) one has to face. Anxiety is a term now thrown around a lot, and like physical sickness, it will affect people to varying degrees- but essentially underscores a fear/worry of the unknown.
Anxiety manifests itself when we believe that an unfortunate event may take place and the feeling of fear may be with you all the time. But it is normal to feel anxiety sometimes as everyone experiences anxiety at their own individual degree and intensity.
Depression could be an emotion response to challenging or sad circumstances that one might be in the midst of, and could also be a result of Anxiety. The WHO (World Health Organization) states that depression may also by caused by various life events such as childhood adversity, loss and unemployment. The ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) claimed that Coronavirus outbreak is triggering increased anxiety and depression in most people. During this Covid19 season, more than 26 million of Americans have lost their jobs and the global financial system in under tremendous strain.
WHO suggests that isolating oneself can help to reduce the spread of the virus. However, this isolation might lead to a wide range of feelings for some people including anger, sadness, fear and as a result ended up in Depression. If left untreated, consequences of depression can affect every aspect of your life and hurting the people around you or having thoughts of suicide and death. Sometimes, even after trying to reduce our anxiety and depression, we may continue to struggle and if you still feel like you are not coping well with the situation at hand.
When you are cut off from normal social interaction to curb the spread of the virus, loneliness could turn into depression. We might feel like many things are out of our control, such as how long the Covid-19 might last and whether we will have sufficient resources to tide through the financial crisis. The reality and severity of suicidal thoughts and self harm should not be underestimated and one should actively seek help to get out of such a situation.
Anxiety and Depression can affect your entire body as well if left untreated such as increasing the risk of heart attack, weight fluctuations, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, and chronic pain. As mentioned above, the worst case scenario would be death from self induced harm like taking one’s life in a fit of helplessness and hopelessness.
The circumstances that one might find him/herself in during this Covid19 crisis are extremely unprecedented, incredibly severe and taxing in more ways than one, but also present us with an opportunity of a lifetime, to think about others, support them in their time of need and keep at the work that we’ve been focused on.
The good news: By managing our anxiety and depression, we can maintain positive mental health and emotions as the pandemic unfolds. Help yourself, seek help if you need it and offer help if you can!