It is just the middle of the year and 2020 so far has been incredibly tough, soul sucking and tumultuous. This year is making sure that when it’s over nothing remains the same for us.
From Kobe Bryant’s death to a pandemic; from being forced into lock downs and isolation to witnessing an economic upheaval, to seeing closed ones getting affected and losing life battles against COVID19; to watching a Black man being slowly and brutally choked to death on TV, this has been an emotional roller-coaster ride.
The pandemic has literally taken over the world and our lives, and everything else has become collateral damage. Economic downturn, companies filing for bankruptcy, staggering job losses, healthcare infrastructure overwhelmed and crashing; and the tough part is while we all are in this together, we are not exactly together. There’s seems to be no respite from any of this since the Corona virus hijacked our lives in February and with numbers hitting millions and deaths rising exponentially, the mental toll and stress we are experiencing is unprecedented.
Once a primal human need, socializing is now seen as something dangerous and forbidden. And while tucking away people to the comfort of their homes may seem as putting them out of harm’s way, the urgency to disconnect, imposition of drastic lock down measures, the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, loneliness and the sense of impending dread is intensifying the internal struggles of people battling mental health, disabilities and behavioral issues. People with health problems, the elderly, the immunocompromised, pregnant women and people living in abusive households are feeling the most vulnerable. And the social, financial and economic implications combined with being bombarded with news updates, infodemic and fear mongering conspiracies from all sides is leading to debilitating emotional functionality, mental unrest, chronic stress, substance abuse, PTSD and suicide. Many people who have previously coped well, are now struggling hard because of the multiple triggers set off by the pandemic. Self-destructive habits including alcohol, drugs and online gaming have become their routine addictive coping strategies. According to UNHealth, depression affects 264 million people worldwide and suicide is the second leading cause of death especially among the millennials and Generation Z. Every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide. Healthcare systems globally are unprepared to handle this shadow pandemic of mental illness and unfortunately the psychological injuries are going to go untreated on a massive scale.
Hence, it is now imperative more than ever before to summon the resilience of human spirit and take care of our mental and emotional health and make self-care a priority. Sound mental health and positive well being can help us better cope with the Corona virus situation and in turn can help others as well. It is important to reach out to people near you, to stay connected, form a support system to seek comfort, and help in processing and dealing with the calamity collectively. Shared sense of experiences brings a sense of stability and makes one feel less alone by assuring that someone cares about them. Cutting down on the news updates and social forum, which wear you down with upsetting stories, will help bring some clarity. Despair and hopelessness won’t change the reality, and while it is necessary to make ourselves aware of the world and facts, it is important to understand to not over consume. Healthy balance between hope and fear will help us adjust to this different rhythm of life.