COVID-19: Understanding the Numbers #coronavirus — Watts Up With That?

Guest post by Neil Lock As those acquainted with me will know, long ago I was trained as a mathematician. I’ve forgotten most of the specifics I learned. But I’ve retained the framework; even if it’s a bit rusty. For almost three months now, I’ve been looking at the numbers on the progress of the […]

COVID-19: Understanding the Numbers #coronavirus — Watts Up With That?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Depressed Americans

Depressed Hispanic woman crying while laying on gray furniture

Coronavirus: An Era Of Depression

I have talked to so many mental health patients who are sitting at home in a depressed state of mind ever since the coronavirus pandemic started. The key word is at “home” because they are functional and not so depressed that they require a hospitalization, but this does not mean that they don’t 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.

Some of the symptoms of depression may include a decreased sleep, decreased interest in activities, decreased concentration, 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 for the rest of the day. The recurring theme is that they lost their job and are not leaving the house; in other words, they lack activities to keep them preoccupied during the day.

Some people also become very anxious at home and anxiety and depression often go together. They will complain that there’s so much negative news or that people in the neighborhood are not wearing masks, “as if they don’t care that there’s a pandemic going on.” What’s important to understand if you are a reader who identifies with these thoughts 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.

So why am I pointing out the obvious? Because clearly it’s making you anxious and more depressed 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 put uncontrollable external factors aside and focus on bettering your life. 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 because of the coronavirus and not having a job. 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 coronavirus 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 with others. Don’t allow anxiety and depression to get to you and certainly don’t allow them to bring your down!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Not Fearing COVID-19

Man and woman kissing via two white iPhones next to coffee mug and spoon on wooden table

I Am Stronger Than A Virus

COVID has definitely affected the mental health of many people worldwide. It continues to affect the mental health of many because it brings pain, fear and destruction upon humanity. Anytime that there is a disaster in our society, shockwaves are sent to peoples’ minds, affecting their mental health adversely. Have I mentioned that watching the media does not help? The media is almost as contagious as the virus itself.

You have to learn how to not fear this virus and to continue to live your life as if there was no virus, but by also practicing good hygiene and the necessary precautions of staying safe and not acquiring the virus. Social distancing have become two annoying words and I hate to see it become part of our psychological relations, but unfortunately humanity has already been infected with this concept.

Don’t you think it’s about time to replace “social distancing” with “common sense?” This involves not being to close to strangers, but this does not mean that you should not be hugging, shaking hands or even kissing those who you know or are close to you. I know, I know . . . the media and “top health experts” will tell you otherwise, but don’t you think that the social distancing that they want us to practice is adversely affecting our mental health?

At the end of the day, we have to live our lives and this should not involve being locked up in our homes and practicing “social distancing” 24/7. When we do this, we allow the virus to win. Yes, there are currently many lives being lost in the southern U.S. as well as in South America and Africa, but there must be another solution that we can effectively implement. We cannot keep practicing social distancing for the next decade or we will truly lose our minds.

What are some suggestions that you think we can implement that will prevent us from becoming infected, but at the same time allow us to live a normal life again?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Media Flips The Agenda

Manhattan city skyline under blue sky

From Corona To National Riots Overnight

Since December of 2019, the world has been focused on the coronavirus which started in China. Since it started, many where not paying close attention; a lot of people did not believe that it would ever get out of China. Towards the end of February 2020, the world realized that it was wrong; COVID-19 was swarming nations like the plague. When March hit, so did a new reality based on loss of jobs, social distancing and quarantining. The world changed forever, as if a new reset were established before our eyes.

For almost three months, humanity was quarantined at home while essential workers continued risking their lives. Mental illness increased and deaths skyrocketed from the coronavirus. When May hit, many southern states began loosening restrictions and people returned back to work. Memorial day was big for beaches; people attended like never before.

Things slowly seemed to be getting back to normal . . . until the death of George Floyd, which rocked the nation upside down. Our reality once again changed, but in the wrong direction and for the worse. Rather than continuing on the smooth momentum we had going, which was based on the virus slowing down, we transitioned into a nation based on rage, riots, looting, anarchy and violence.

Did you pay attention to the media? The narrative switched from the coronavirus to riots faster than a bolt of lightening; it’s as if the pandemic almost never happened. The new talk of the town has been these riots. The media does a great job at creating new realities for us, even if these realities do not serve our best intention. How did society suddenly jump from a rare pandemic to a nation boiled on hate? Just because one man suffered an awful and unfair death in Minneapolis?

People suffer many wrongful deaths every day in this world but the media never touches upon them. Why did the media have to go digging and create this entire fiasco? For what? So we can suffer more as if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t enough? All the media had to do was talk about the incident for one day and then move on. Instead, it added fuel to the fire by raising tensions and stirring up the idea of racism and police brutality.

Instead of the media helping us to transition out of the pandemic and raising awareness for mental health issues for all the people who suffered for the last three months, it decided to infect us with riots, looting and curfews. Are we truly heading towards a new world order? Are these the beginning signs of control by the government? If quarantining and social distancing were not enough, we are now hit with 8 pm curfews. Think outside the box my fellow humans!

Wake up for the enemy is never sleeping.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

How Are You, Really?

Two brunette women talking and smiling next to blue vase with green plant

Mental Health During The Coronavirus Pandemic

As mental illness continues to rise as the pandemic progresses, many of us continue to ignore how others around us are doing because we are too busy focusing on ourselves. Some of us continue to be polite and show interest in others, but deep inside, we only care about ourselves, hoping that the conversation will focus on us and not the other person. But this is the problem with society; we care more to address how we are feeling than how others are feeling. This has to be changed.

From now on, rather than superficially asking another person “How are you?”, let’s add an extra word and take it a step further, “How are you, really?” By just adding one extra word, you place so much more emphasis on the question by showing the other person that you’re willing to engage and listen on a deeper level. This results in the other person opening up about things that he or she would have never previously opened up about.

One approach that you should start using with anyone who you interact with is focusing on what they really have to stay and not what you want to hear. You may not be trained to do so as you’ve been living your entire life focusing on what you have to say or not really listening when others are talking to you. But it’s time to retrain the way you interact with others and this starts by attentively listening to others’ emotions and struggles.

It’s actually fun when you make conversations less about you and more about them. Developing your listening skills is a great tool to have because it actually sets you up in a better position during conversations; it prevents you from divulging unnecessary information without first processing it. It also helps you learn more about others and their ways, helping you understand how different people function and view the world.

People will also appreciate your time more when they see that you really care about what they’re saying. The truth is that even if you try this approach, you may not really care all that much about what others are saying, but with time and practice, it will become part of your repertoire and you will see that you’ll actually start to enjoy listening to what others have to say about themselves.

But most importantly, do it for mental health. So many people are afraid to share their struggles, believing that others don’t care or will make fun of them. Let’s change that for good. Let’s show humanity that we are different and that we are here to help others open up and talk about their struggles with mental illness. We are here to carefully listen and guide others, providing them with hope, strength and power.

How are you, really? Try it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Thanking The First Responders

Redhead female doctor holding red stethoscope

In Harm’s Way On A Daily

It’s easy to forget about the people who wake up early every day and arrive to work to help others in need while putting their lives at risk. It’s easy to forget because most of us check out and disconnect from those who aren’t in our immediate vicinity; it’s called human nature at play. But as I previously said, sometimes human nature needs to be changed in order to better yourself.

The first responders don’t have to do this; no one forces them to go to work and expose themselves to the coronavirus. They do it because it’s their nature; that’s why they got into their field in the first place, to help people in need! Most first responders are heroes by nature and heroes do not back away from a challenge very easily; instead, the view it as an opportunity to better themselves.

When first responders improve their character, they put themselves in a better position to help people in the future. Without improving your skills, you can only be of help to a certain extent; humanity requires those who go beyond the call of duty because of their drive to exceed in their field. Humanity requires those who are not afraid of a little pain.

I would like to thank the police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, social workers and doctors who are on the front lines every single day. You guys are the ones who are truly keeping this country running; it’s easy for the suits in Washington to meet in their safe havens and pass stimulus packages while the federal reserve uses a printing press that goes “brrr.”

You guys are the ones who are juggling multiple jobs, studying and raising families all while exposing yourselves to COVID-19. Your courage is outmatched by anyone else in society because you are fearless, determined and hungry to save human lives; you do not shy away from a virus that has killed over 100,000 people worldwide. Through your performance others can hopefully learn from and be inspired to step up to the plate for future generations to come.

Thank you!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Socially Depressed

Worried white man with black face mask on

Social Distancing And Depression

For children and adolescents, staying at home may not be so bad; they get to play more video games, read more books or indulge in whatever activity they always craved when they used to be in school. But I’m sure some adolescents are also feeling depressed as they cannot gather in their social cliques as frequently as they used to. There’s no doubt that social distancing is increasing the rate of depression worldwide.

Keep in mind that not everyone is fortunate enough to work from home; many have lost their jobs and are left in ruins. Think about the parents who have children and no longer have an income; how embarrassed must they feel to ask their parents for financial support! Depression is increasing because humans were not created to stay isolated at home; we are not animals locked up in a zoo.

But sometimes it feels like society has turned into a zoo. For the most part, everyone is inside their homes while the few that are brave are walking outside for a breath of fresh air. The thing is that walking outside should not be considered brave because there’s a very small chance that you’ll catch the coronavirus by breathing it; it’s not airborne. The virus spreads via contact and droplets.

Social distancing is controversial but many would argue that it’s not necessary; if people who are healthy wear masks in public, then they should be allowed to return back to work. It’s those who are sick or have weakened immune systems who should stay home. But because the entire world is on lockdown, everyone has a greater chance of developing major depressive disorder.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are some people who love being at home all day; their dream of smoking ganja and playing video games all day has come true. But for most people who are financially responsible and work for a living, staying at home is a powerful hit to their psyche. Think about all the college students who are going to graduate this Spring and not be able to enter the workforce because many employers are no longer hiring!

Imagine how depressing it is to end college and almost be guaranteed to not obtain a job? You end up getting a diploma and going back to your parent’s house or in an apartment that your parents will likely pay the rent for. That’s not the best way to kickstart your career; in fact, depression is a very likely outcome. If you think that the coronavirus is only affecting humanity physically, then think again.

Mental illness is likely on the rise.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

We Are Earth

Hand holding mini globe in front of mountains

Experiencing Earth Day

The beauty that this planet has to offer is out of this world, yet humanity is too entangled in sin, physical and mental poverty, war, corruption and destruction. Earth is screaming back at us, “What are you doing? Please stop! No . . . don’t do that!” But no one is listening; it’s as if our ears are malfunctioning and our eyes are no longer 20/20. Even with prayer, the angels in heaven cry, for we continue to sin even in our sleep.

Earth wants us to change and reveal its beauty and secrets to us, but we have to change first before that ever happens. The sad part about it is that Earth’s beauty is right before our eyes, but our senses are clouded by the sins within our hearts. These faulty roots sprout in our hearts if we do not live through God and Earth further becomes Satan’s playground.

Perhaps the coronavirus is a sign from Earth to clean up our act, for Earth is perhaps trying to save the human race before God decides that enough is enough. Are we heading towards another flood as in the times of Noah’s arc? We cannot continue on like this, breeding more selfishness, hate and division among us; we are better than this.

Technology is certainly not helping; it’s making us more disconnected as we rely more closely on “tele this and tele that.” Why have we reached the point where we are more glued to our phones than the beautiful trees, birds and clouds surrounding us on a daily basis? Earth is screaming at us again, “Aren’t I beautiful enough for you? Why are you ignoring me?” But again, no one is listening.

Everyday, we are inching closer to “no earth day;” a time where humanity will be so destroyed that you can even have heaven on Earth appear but it will not matter. At this point, humans will be too engulfed in sin, hatred and lust that the beauty of Earth will no longer be visible; darkness will have stolen whatever little light that was remaining. So let’s stop this inching toward destruction while we still have a chance.

We are blessed to experience another day on this beautiful planet. Happy Earth Day.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Second Wave Is Forming

Digital map with number of total deaths from coronavirus

Coronavirus 2.0

Just when we thought that the coronavirus scare was going way, we were pulled right back in with more news of a second wave expected to hit next winter. However, this wave is expected to be worse because it will be at the start of the influenza season, where two forces will join together to attempt to take down as many humans as possible. The scary part is that we haven’t even finished with the first wave.

So if this is correct, then what will the next 7 months look like? Will we recover from this first coronavirus wave and relax for a while, before we gather the troops at the border and prepare for a second round of bullets? This goes to show you how much more powerful and deadly natural disasters can be as compared to human evilness.

But let’s not ignore all the other natural events that will also continue to occur, such as earthquakes and forest fires in California, hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida and tornados in middle America. In addition, influenza, the common cold and other potential diseases will hit as well. And for those who believe in global warming, well . . . you can add that too.

Let’s not forget the economy which is being slowly destroyed by the current wave of the coronavirus. The federal government is printing trillions of dollars out of thin air as if we had a magical money tree; this tactic will not work in the long run and they know that very well. But they must try something as desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the unemployment rate continuing to rise, many Americans will continue to remain out of work, relying on their savings and potential future governmental stimulus checks. Even if this current coronavirus clears up, many Americans will not be able to go back to work because their businesses are now buried. All of this will further contribute to poor mental health and many Americans will find themselves with a new diagnosis.

How are you handling this current pandemic and the news of a possible second wave this upcoming winter?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

She Has The Cure For The Coronavirus

Anxious red-headed female with sparkles on face

Insanely Delusional

There are some patients who have been experiencing psychosis way before the coronavirus hit; we’re talking months to years. Their current psychosis is nothing new to their family; they remember them exhibiting paranoia, delusions, bizarre behavior, disappearances and odd behavior from a very long time ago. But ever since the coronavirus hit, some of these patients have become extremely delusional.

One delusion that some of these patients hold is believing that they or their significant other has the cure for the coronavirus. No matter how much you gently challenge their delusions, they will look at you straight in the eye and tell you that you are the one who is insane, when all they want to do is go on the news and reveal their cure. But when you stare back at them with no good answer, they start to become agitated and claim that you are suicidal by not believing them!

It’s very intriguing how ill the human mind can get. Can you imagine becoming so delusional that you believe you have the cure for the coronavirus? Any question that you throw back at these patients such as, “What’s the proof? What’s the cure? Can you show or tell me about it?” and they refuse to engage in the conversation, firing back with a response such as, “I will not negotiate with you. I have to get on television to reveal the cure.”

What’s worse is that some of these patients are convinced that the coronavirus not only spreads through the air, but also through food and water; in other words, they believe all food and water is currently contaminated. Unfortunately, some of them start to refuse to eat and drink, destabilizing their electrolytes and putting a heavy strain on their bodies. What makes these patients very challenging is that what was originally a psychiatric issue has now also manifested itself into a medical issue.

And what’s even more psychiatrically challenging is that these patients do not believe that they have a mental illness; on the contrary, they believe that we are the ones who are “crazy” for not allowing them to reveal their cure for COVID-19. You think you have it bad because you are socially distanced at home? Imagine being psychotic and delusional like these patients!

The coronavirus has definitely worsened the mental health of many psychiatric patients. Some of these patients were previously stabilized on medications and have now decompensated, while some were psychotic prior to COVID-19 but have now become even more psychotic to the point of becoming psychiatrically admitted into an inpatient unit. This goes to show you how environmental events can easily affect the mental health of psychiatric patients.

How are you handling the coronavirus pandemic?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)