Once, the world was divided between BC and AD, which meant before and after the birth of Jesus Christ. The year 2020 gave us a new parameter altogether for a new classification. That is pre and post COVID. This is simply an anecdote but it can be said because lives, health, economy and education have never been the same after the severe pandemic breakout.
Is it that COVID has only affected us by entering our bodies? No, not at all. Every person, even those who have managed to keep themselves safe from the infection, are engulfed equally by this menace. How? Losing family members, jobs, income, a completely disrupted education system and constant fear of what next have severely damaged the peace of people.
And if we have to talk about the frontline, especially healthcare workers, have we ever wondered what they and their family members must be going through? They are under constant threat and tremendous work pressure, yet, they cannot step back. Have we given a thought to what they must be going through mentally every day and night?
The point that I want to discuss is, are we giving adequate importance to the mental health crisis here? In this case, we cannot really put the responsibilities on the authorities, but we have to help each other. Oxygen plants are being constructed and vaccines are being produced, however, what the mind has been going through cannot be cured by steroids or vaccines.
The fact is we do not know about anything that is in store for the future. In fact, this tense has suddenly got eliminated from the grammar of life. Here I would like to share my experience as a person, or better said, a patient, who has comorbidities and how a severe COVID attack made me a person I was never before.
Many like me may have recovered physically, but the scar in the mind is still fresh. How do I deal with this weakness? Am I really capable of performing anything significant? What if my career is doomed? Why am I a problem to my family? How can I keep my family safe? I cannot bear this loss. Nobody wants me.
These are some of the thoughts that haunt many of us who are infected or have lost people close to us due to COVID. This is the problem statement, but what is the solution? Many would say things heal with time. But sadly it never heals, we just learn to move on.
Whenever we surf the internet through information pieces or even when we watch the news, we see they offer COVID helpline numbers, hospital details and other valuable information on how to tackle COVID. In the same way, we can have a COVID Mental Health support helpline, wherein people can interact with therapists or more precisely connect to somebody who can listen and feel empathetically.
At this point advice like yoga, meditation or “keep yourself engaged” do not work. There has to be sharing, there has to be handholding throughout the process of recovery. It is always easier said than done because even family members do not realise the pain of a person going through this kind of depression.
Many may argue that these tips would work but what if I am so weak that I am unable to engage myself in anything that will help me forget the mental pain? What if my sadness overpowers my determination of being strong? So here more than just advice empathy will work better. Making the person realise their worth will matter and we can cooperate with mental health specialists in this.
I would conclude with the fact that to heal completely from COVID or COVID implications the mind needs to be healed as well and we all have to pay attention to this.