Mental health during times of fear and isolation
Do not feel helpless that the force is against you, instead try your best to control what you can and not worry about what you can't. Imagine a person ...
Do not feel helpless that the force is against you, instead try your best to control what you can and not worry about what you can't.
Imagine a person who is afraid of closed spaces cloistered in his house.
Imagine a lady who is anxious about contamination, told to wash her hands every hour.
Imagine a person, who is afraid of dying, reading the newspaper and listening to the news about the coronavirus deaths.
This virus is not just eating into our health it is eating into our minds.
Lockdown, social distancing, fear of contamination, fear of food supplies dwindling, fear of the overall state of our lives and finances; these fears can be debilitating.
Working from home is for a few fortunate ones…the rest are still braving the storm and going to work.
Deserted roads, closed restaurants, deserted malls, cinema houses closed, chocked internet, social media telling you to eat less, lead simple lives, pray, and meditate sucks every positive energy out of us.
Mental health professionals around the world are reporting more incidence of anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) hypochondria and sometimes paranoia and psychosis. Many professionals are online helping people and counselling them.
I have personally counselled children who call, afraid that their parents would die from Corona.
Teenagers terrified that they have 'it' because they are coughing or sneezing.
Women in a frenzy, washing hands until they bleed, and many many more such instances.
What can we do in these circumstances?
v First, accept the situation. Not feeling helpless that the force is against you, but that you will try your best to control what you can and not worry about what you can't.
For example, things that you can control.
l What you read on social media
l Fact checking
l Your personal hygiene
l your family's health
l how much you help your neighbors and community
l Your fitness
Things you cannot control
l The spread of Corona
l People's disobedience of rules and measures
l News coverage
l Social media posts
l Fake news.
v Stop worrying and stockpiling on food and hoarding on commodities.
v Worry is natural because of several factors, which are a consequence of Corona and the various measures, retreat to a safe corner of the house, and meditate.
v Spend time planning and working out your resources, finances etc
Set aside money for all requirements.
Most have some rainy-day money set aside which will come in handy.
v This is time to re-affirm your bonds.
Wife, partner, children, parents, friends, pets.
In our speed and performance driven lives, we often forget to stop, slow down and smile.
Relationships bear the brunt of this.
Bond back with your loved ones it can relieve anxiety and stress.
v All those who already have issues relating to both medical and psychiatric issues, please check with your doctors and clarify doubts about medication.
v Reach out and help others in need, elderly neighbors, children, the under privileged; helping bestows peace of mind, and calmness.
8. Seek online counseling for your fears and trepidation.
Lots of WhatsApp groups and online counseling are run by professionals who are reaching out.
v Divert your mind by reading, singing, learning a new language, learning a new skill, updating skills, blogging, doing online courses; While Which watching films and binge watching serials is fun for a while, too much can cause the brain to fatigue and boredom and amotivation set in.
v Keep your mind and body active, draw, work on puzzles, play chess, and other brain games to alleviate boredom and sharpen mind skills.
v Make sure you have a belly laugh as often as you can; this is the greatest stress buster.
v Avoid trolling and getting trolled you don't need that negativity.
v Participate and help with housework and learn household skills; they will take you through life, even after Corona.
v Lastly remember, we all survive hurricanes, but the hurricane changes us.
We will have memories of this forever; make sure the memories bring a smile to your face. Live with fortitude during these tough times.
The writer is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, trainer,mentor and motivational speaker and Director, Dhrithi Wellness Clinic.
Mental health professionals around the world are reporting more incidence of anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) hypochondria and sometimes paranoia and psychosis