MENTAL HEALTH IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
According to research, mental health has been on the rise since the dawn of this pandemic. The fact that we’ve been limited from our social life and other normality’s and a few are unable to accept change, depression now goes on the rise.
Human beings have been known to be social creatures, we all need each other to survive, and now that we’ve been forced to go on lockdown, and we're limited to social gatherings, travelling etc, it has brought about some challenges within us.
The anxiety that has been brought about by these changes has affected most of us in one way or the other. Either knowingly or unknowingly, the change of things to the new normal has left the majority of us being afraid of the uncertainty of the future.
However, communication holds a crucial role to ensure that your mental wellbeing is on track, engaging in countless activities like taking walks, talking with your loved ones, reading or enjoying the hobbies that you like. Occupying your mind in different activities during this time is vital.
Maureen describes her journey with depression as dreadful, which I think every depression survivor would describe it as.
She goes ahead to say it was a nightmare, ‘’coping with depression is hard’’ she says, especially if you don’t have a strong support system or someone to share your thoughts with.
In this times of Isolation so many people have lost their jobs, the anxiety and mental distress has caused most mental illnesses among people and not all are willing to talk about it, with the fear that if they share their problems they could be exposed or end up being judged by their close family or friends.
Most communities believe this kind of problems existing is being possessed by evil spirits considering how depression does to you. Many people know very little about depression. And it needs to be changed by creating more mental health awareness campaigns and educate those who know nothing about it.
Maureen adds about how she gained a few kilos due to depression, ‘’everyone kept commenting on my weight not knowing the horror I was going through, I would lock myself up in my room and cry all day’’ and that’s not it’’ she says, this time it interfered with my self-esteem. I never saw myself the same way I did before, it took time for me to even stand in front of the mirror.
She is however glad to get back in shape and getting over it.’’ It wasn’t an easy thing to do, I went through a lot and I wouldn’t wish the same to happen to anyone, not even my worst enemy’’ Maureen insists that she got a really strong support system, thanks to her friends and family who stood by her throughout the way.
She, however, advocates that anyone who is stuck in deep thoughts should go ahead and share their problems with someone they trust or seek help to reduce such cases.
Erica, on the other hand, talks about how this pandemic has been an eye-opening for her; it has been a time to reflect. Sh says ‘’ it's like for ones things have started to make sense’’ when everything wasn’t working and our lives were forced to a standstill something, that has never happened to most of us, I started with uncertainty, although I had faith that things will not crumble due to the promises that God has made to his people. I realized I was busy for my spiritual time before the quarantine.
I was busy, I hadn’t thought about most things. I realized how busy I have been, how I needed more time for my well-being and most importantly, time with God.
‘’I created one hour a day to meditate with my God, read his word and pray’’ she adds, it is interesting that she would find herself doing it for more than one hour. I took time to think about myself as a person, look deeply into myself again and find myself, access my inner spirit and evaluate my life and choices.
Through this Erica was able to be more familiar with her strength and weaknesses and also pray for whatever needed to be changed. She joined hand and prayed together with family and friends. This has changed her life and well-being during this tough time and most importantly reconnected with God more than ever before.
Seeking God’s strength is a great way to overcome mental illness during this time, turning to God, praying and just connecting with God will help you relieve stress and just casting all your burden unto him with faith that Jesus will carry them for you and things are going to be better if you just believe in him.
Askipaji insists that people shouldn’t joke with mental illness, it’s like mocking people who are already struggling with mental illness.
He shares an experience he had online, ‘’I was chatting with a person online who mentioned she had OCD(Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) two days later, I asked how she knew she had OCD, the lady said it was self-testing. Asked her if she knew what OCD really is, then gave her the symptoms, and to my surprise, she was so embarrassed enough to say she was half-joking, happens that her problem is that she really hates dirt.
He gave me a few examples of a person with OCD, they will have symptoms like ;
* Buying everything in pairs or even in numbers.
* A person with OCD will have a ritual or perhaps putting in a left shoe first. The underlying believe if he puts on a right foot first something evil will happen, maybe a loved one will die, and therefore will even travel a long distance to rectify the error back home.
‘’Those are some of the features of OCD’’ he adds, that mental illness is a real thing and it’s nothing to play around with.
Many people are battling mental illnesses, and many people are not willing to speak out and they end up carrying it for the rest of their lives and choose to suffer silently.
We’ve all experienced it in one way or the other, especially during this tough time, everyone is stuck in the thoughts of what-ifs, unknown of what is going to happen, paralyzed with fear of what the future holds.
Looking at the outcomes of mental illness, no one wants to be caught up in such kind of a situation, but it doesn’t feel like too much thinking is something we can stop doing.
But can we overcome it? YES!!!
Not only can you overcome too much thinking, but also the negative thoughts, the unhealthy and the unhelpful ones. Replace them with positive thoughts, affirm to yourself that things are going to be okay, that way; it brings more peace, joy and happiness in your life.
What's one thing keeping you sane during this time of the pandemic, share your thoughts on the comment section....
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