When the COVID 19 disease or pandemic started, it has changed our day-to-day lives. It has also affected our mental and emotional health. Living through this pandemic is difficult and has caused anxiety and depression. Managing our mental health during the COVID 19 pandemic is a challenge that we have to win.
This article will help you understand the symptoms of mental illness—signs of anxiety and depression that you might have developed during the pandemic. Protecting our mental health is a priority and should not be taken for granted. Save yourself from stress, anxiety, and other mental illness.
Emotional and Psychological Impacts of COVID 19 Pandemic
The COVID 19 outbreak has led to depressive stories of deaths, grief, loss, and fatalities. Some people lose their livelihood or are unable to visit their loved ones. What’s worse? You or a loved one tested positive for COVID 19.
The thought of a loved one fighting for their lives in the hospital is terrifying. Even worse? A loved one who succumbed to this dreadful disease. These times will test your emotional and mental resilience. This has caused depression, anxiety, and stress to most of us.
The pandemic has affected our mental health in a lot of ways. The strict isolation and social distancing kept us separated from our loved ones. Currently, new COVID variants cause countries to force lockdown again, and it’s exhausting.
The loneliness during isolation has affected both our physical and mental health. Loneliness has affected individuals who do not have any emotional and mental resources. Social isolation during this pandemic is a mental and psychological crisis.
The dreaded isolation and financial hardships have affected our well-being and mental health. We need to seek support and connection from others. It is also vital to know the signs of depression and anxiety to recognize them among your loved ones.
Signs of Anxiety and Depression Due to COVID 19 Pandemic
Everyone responds differently to stressful situations during this pandemic. Our coping strategies are individualized. We try to keep ourselves calm and level-headed during this crisis. But there will come a time that you will find yourself helpless and sad by what is happening around us.
You might be experiencing signs and symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. It is crucial to keep yourself informed to know when to ask for help. When these symptoms last for a week, they could develop mental health conditions. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that you should be aware of:
The Feeling of Being Overwhelmed by Your Emotions and Persistent Worrying
Watching too much news and reading false information on social media about COVID can be overwhelming for some. Scrolling through those images and being scared of awful information on media platforms may cause anxiety. This negative news is not healthy for your mental and physical health. It can develop symptoms of PTSD years later.
Try to stop yourself from media exposure during these stressful times. Limit to at least twice a day to check for updates and avoid it during bedtime. While you’re at it, try not to share alarming and propagate depressing news to friends and family members.
Excessive Fear of the Unknown
Fear is a good thing. It is an adaptive mechanism that humans have to cope with in the midst of threatening situations. But suppose an individual is unable to handle it. In that case, excessive fear can generate unwanted defense reactions. It can lead to germ aversion (or perceiving that the COVID virus has infected you). Another negative result of fear is the unfair treatment of the people with the COVID 19 virus.
Management and understanding of fear in the context of the pandemic must be observed. Start building up your social connections and receive comfort from your social supports. Allow yourself to share your concerns with people who have your best interest and feel safe.
Lack of Pleasure and Interest in Your Daily Activities
The COVID19 pandemic has created mental health concerns that we have never expected. We make ourselves believe that we are mentally healthy and strong. But we can not deny that this pandemic may have taken a toll on our daily lives at some point.
Most of us may have a dilemma of living in situations that we cannot control or are uncertain. But the reality of this pandemic has pushed us to believe that everything is out of our control. We need time to adapt to temporary unemployment, homeschooling, and a work-at-home setup.
We are forced to embrace life at a slower pace in a more isolated setup, without the presence of our classmates, colleagues, and workmates. Our daily activities may not be the same as before, but we have to learn to find joy during these stressful times.
Every time you wake up grumpy and irritable, focus on something that you are grateful for. Try to create a positive mood for the day. Going through a crisis is hard, but changing to a more healthy routine could always help you get through the day.
Excessive Consumption of Alcohol
The anxiety due to COVID 19 has led to the increased need for mental health services. Professional help is needed for mental illnesses such as too much alcohol consumption.
During the lockdown, some countries banned the selling of alcoholic drinks. So people can follow preventive measures without the influence of alcohol. It also prevents social gatherings involving alcohol consumption.
Some of us drink alcoholic beverages to cope with stress and drown our sorrows in times of distress. Too much of it builds dependence, tolerance, and addiction later. Yes, alcohol helps you relax and temporarily forget about the struggles of daily life. But in the long-term, it can also make psychological disorders grow worse, affect your immune system, and disrupt your daily routine.
Who Are at Risk for Mental Health Vulnerability During The COVID 19 Pandemic?
The Healthcare Professionals
First on the list of most at-risk for mental health vulnerability are the health workers. The impact of COVID 19 on our healthcare system has overturned hospital protocols. These hospital workers experienced excessive workloads during the pandemic.
They faced tremendous emotional pain in losing a patient, working long shifts, isolating themselves from their families, and getting infected with the disease. Their mental and psychological struggle for sanity is unceasing.
Among all age groups, people aged 60 and above are at risk of getting COVID 19. They are instructed to self-isolate and stay home to be safe from infection. The lack of social contact makes them feel neglected and alone, which could cause stress and anxiety.
Some older adults with pre-existing health conditions need a regular check-up. But because of isolation, access to quality healthcare is a dilemma.
In a population, the younger ones are also the biggest victims of this pandemic. They are affected by the socio-economic and psychological impact of isolation and confinement. They are supposed to be free to play at parks, go to school and enjoy strolling in the mall.
The lack of social contact has affected these children more than adults. Imagine how they miss their playmates or their grandparents whom they haven’t seen in a while.
People With Previous Mental Health Problems Like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Quarantine and being alone in isolation can trigger underlying mental health issues. People with psychological disorders need professional help during this crisis. If not, it could lead to substance abuse, PTSD, or, worst, suicide attempts and ideations.
People Living in Rural Areas
People living in rural communities are the most vulnerable during this crisis. With job loss, unsteady source of income, who wouldn’t worry? They are perceived to be living more strenuous than those living in the urban areas.
Access to mental healthcare facilities in these areas is more difficult. This can lead to lower mental health outcomes and higher suicide rates. Furthermore, there’s the worry of being sick of COVID. If public health hospitals are full, where can they seek healthcare?
How Do We Overcome the Trauma of COVID 19?
If your answer to the question “Does COVID affect me emotionally?” is no, then you’re lucky. But that’s not the situation for others. This pandemic has turned our lives around. It made us question our beliefs. Looking on the positive side, traumatic times can also bring about personal growth.
Let us start to embrace what this pandemic has forced upon us, adjusting to a slower pace of lifestyle. It is also time to slow down and reevaluate our life’s priorities. This crisis can allow us to discover parts of ourselves and improve our awareness.
It is normal for humans to experience a wide range of emotions. We should not feel ashamed when we are feeling uncomfortable. Feeling ashamed of your emotions can lead to frustration and sadness.
Having uncomfortable emotions is a healthy response. All you have to do is find someone whom you trust and can share your thoughts with. Talking to someone can help you relieve stress and protect your mental health.
If you are worried about your mental health and want to learn how to cope with the emotional effects of COVID, you could always contact us at Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC). You can set an appointment on our website KCC Direct Service. You can have mental health counseling for your convenience.