Coronavirus – An Era of Depression
I have talked to so many patients who are sitting at home in a depressed state of mind since the pandemic started. The key word is at “home” because they are functional and not so depressed that they require a hospitalization. These people still experience some of the symptoms that come with depression. Even before the coronavirus, there were many Americans already depressed; now, that number has substantially increased. COVID depression is real and you are not alone.
Some of the symptoms of depression may include a decreased sleep, decreased interest in activities, decreased concentration, etc. Some people also experience a decreased appetite, guilt, loss of energy, slowing of body movements or even suicidal ideations. Many Americans experience at least a few of these symptoms while sitting at home with no agenda. The recurring theme is that they lost their job and are not leaving the house; they lack activities that can keep them preoccupied during the day.
Some people also become very anxious at home and anxiety and depression are often comorbid. They will complain that there’s so much negative news or that people in the neighborhood are not wearing masks. They complain, “people don’t care as if there’s no pandemic going on.” What’s important to understand is that we cannot force others to wear masks, nor should we expect them to. It’s a free world and people have the right to do what they want.
Are you Experiencing COVID Depression?
So why am I pointing out the obvious? Because clearly it’s making you anxious that others aren’t following health officials’ recommendations. But why are you getting hurt in the process? You should not be anxious or depressed because of external factors. You need to learn how to place uncontrollable external factors aside and focus on bettering yourself. Do your due diligence by wearing a mask and washing your hands but don’t expect others to do the same.
It’s not easy being home unemployed due to COVID. Some people work from home but still feel depressed because their previous routine of leaving the house and coming back in the evening has been taken away from them. They are not used to using their home space as a work environment after working away from home for over twenty years. As I have mentioned in many previous articles, depression is like a wave and many times you don’t see it coming; you just have to ride it out without falling down.
This pandemic is a similar wave but much bigger and deadlier. It may be harder to hold on but it’s definitely doable. So don’t allow this wave of depression to knock you off your surfboard. Many people are experiencing the negative emotions that you are; you are never alone in this. So maintain a positive mindset, keep yourself preoccupied during the day by finding work, taking long walks outside, reading, exercising and socializing. Don’t allow anxiety and depression to get to you and certainly don’t allow them to bring you down!
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)