With the efforts to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, people are being told to stay at home and isolate themselves from the outside world. The social distancing and anxiety of our current situation can make it harder for anyone who lives with mental health struggles.
The statistics are there. According to The Wall Street Journal, there has been a spike in Americans calling mental health help lines ever since the spread of COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11. The Crisis Text Line has seen a 40% increase in users who many have mentioned coronavirus as being a negative factor in their overall mental health, as stated in the Wall Street Journal article.
Not knowing what is going to happen is, for me, the worst part. We do not know how long this state of isolation will go on. It is supposed to last at least until the end of April, according to President Donald Trump, but there is no clear answer for what the future holds.
A month is a long time to be stuck in your house. I have been sitting around my house just worrying about what will happen. Right now, people are concerned about getting sick, financial problems and feeling lonely.
Individuals who already have anxiety or depression are at a higher risk for a mental health downturn. Having another stress or worry in their life can trigger past feelings. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45% of adults reported that their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic.
Personally, my mental health has taken a huge toll. I am becoming more anxious and depressed because of a situation that is out of my control. Not having control over the situation is the worst part.
I want to make a change in my life to get myself out of this hole, but it is not up to me. I am not alone in these feelings. Like most people, I am very concerned if I will find a new job or if we will even be able to return to normal life soon.
Losing my daily routine has made it harder for me to be motivated to get out of bed and be productive. I just stay in bed alone with my thoughts and worry about issues I cannot fix.
After the social distancing period is over, which is currently in effect in Arizona until the end of April according to President Trump's recommendations, people who may not have had prior mental health conditions could have lasting trauma from the pandemic.
According to CNN, experts believe the lasting fear and trauma Americans will be left with will be similar to the aftermath of 9/11. With the projected death toll possibly reaching 100,000, according to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, there is going to be a great deal of grieving. Whether it is a loss of a loved one or the losses of our typical daily routines, we are all going to have to readjust to life after a dramatic historical event.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking a break from watching the news as a way to deal with the stress of the situation. It is also recommended to take care of your body physically, not just mentally.
Eating well and going outside to get exercise in one's neighborhood or even backyard can make you feel better on the outside as well as on the inside. Even though we are social distancing, we can still communicate with one another.
In the current day and age, it is easier than ever to stay in contact with people around the world. Your friends will be there for you if you are feeling down and you can still talk to them virtually.
During this time, it is more important than ever to take time to focus on your mental health.
What is helping me cope with feeling anxious or depressed is staying positive and thinking about the future. Remembering that this will not last forever and we will still live a full life when everyday life goes back to normal.
This is a critical time in history for everyone, but it is important to focus on mental health rather than forces that are out of our control.