The lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak has been proving to be an altogether different experience for each one of us. The social, economic, and financial implications caused by the ‘minuscule’ lifeform has been debilitating, and the social divide has never been so explicit.
The forced aloofness has indeed got some of us rekindling with themselves and family, some renewing their old friendships and kinship, some using it constructively by learning new things and some just relaxing in their own way. A lot has been doing the rounds on social media on how one can pass time constructively with enjoyment.
However, amidst this medley of emotions also comes the incessant crawl of subtle unrest: anxiety.
The constant news on ever-increasing COVID-19 cases in India, and the deaths, the endless debates questioning the fallacy and responses of the government, the hazmat suits and masks, the frenzy at grocery stores, the uncertainty of education, jobs, and markets only accelerates the unrest and the ingrained ‘devils’ of anxiety come alive.
To make matters worse, it also deteriorates physical health due to restricted socialising and physical communication. This is what patients of anxiety and depression go through. While the world fights the pandemic, they also fight with the devils within.
For many this may seem to be an overwhelming response; an overreaction to the daily changes. After all, all of us, most of them, taste and digest it with no hangover and perpetual emotional implications. But, this isn’t the case with everyone. An air of gloominess and withdrawal transcends and remains for indefinite time.
With anxiety and depression survivors, who already face the wrath of the hidden emotion on a daily basis, the whole present situation can only aggravate that they have been already fighting from within. And this becomes worse for all those who may not be staying with their loved ones during the lockdown. For them, the physical presence of consolation and talk makes a huge difference.
Anxiety and depression is already overlooked as a mere health issue by the masses.
Envisioning it is not in everyone’s capacity unless they face it themselves or are looking after one of them closely. These times are indeed proving debilitating for everyone already, and amidst this anxiety and depression patients are experiencing the illness in different manifestations-withdrawal, suffocation, claustrophobia, racing thoughts or becoming passive, no will to live life and sometimes suicidal thoughts. The crawls of these manifestations affect them for it entangles them in an infinite loop or sometimes appear as bouts lasting for few hours and if this continues on a long span it can prove dangerous to them.
To understand and help those suffering from anxiety and depression (both patients and those who might have developed symptoms) is to acknowledge their illness and to resonate with them at a personal level to understand what is that they feel. Acknowledgement is the key to understand the problem. Deciphering it is not that crucial given the complexity. Talking to them on a regular basis can always assist them in the war that they fight within.
Those of you who face the monstrous emotion with valour and smiles, do not worry. There are multiple ways you can fight it. Bracing the problem is crucial and the first step to self-care. Avoiding or not acknowledging it can make matters only worse in the near future.
Seek out help from close friends, family members, or psychiatric help online. Sharing how you feel is not a burden to anybody but is your right you have over yourself of self-acknowledgement and self-help. Although it is difficult to stop the incessant thoughts that are usually triggered with different things during these unprecedented times, yet, I don’t think escapism is not the solution.
Daily exercises, cultivating new hobbies, and watching stuff you enjoy can make a huge difference. It is very crucial to choose the content you consume cautiously. With already so much on social media about the coronavirus, it is very understandable to be overwhelmed and get drawn to a whirlpool of anxiety.
Keep yourself updated but try not to get absorbed by it for a long time. The only possible way out is to accept and spend time constructively. The best catharsis is to pen down how you have been feeling or how you spend your day. It helps give direction and you would find yourselves hold the reins of your mind once again. It can also be mere scribbling or drawing or talking to yourself. All this streamlines well against the crawls that paralyse you emotionally. Also, there can also be a feeling of guilt if you are not spending time productively.
As long as you spend your time, be it lazily or constructively, provided it doesn’t take a toll on your mental and physical health, it is completely fine.
For everyone, there is a different way of respite and escapism, but with patients of anxiety and depression, special care should be taken. Be aware of daily news but don’t let that sink you to an abyss of oblivion. It was hard before and its harder even now, but in the end, it’s all up to how we deal with the problem and seek solutions before we confer ourselves the ‘problem’. To the strong souls with bright smiles: you shall triumph.