Pandemic Mental Health Crisis

Black woman in white tank top holding sad child with mask on face

My Mental Health is Deteriorating

The seeds of the pandemic mental health crisis sprouted when we experienced the Spring 2020 lockdowns where non-essential businesses were forced to close. Many people were left without a job and struggling to make ends meet. We all experienced the recommendations of spending less time outdoors to avoid contact with potentially sick pedestrians and limiting our time in stores. I personally used to run in the park and spend time on benches to enjoy nature. Many people also cluttered in parks. But many people also got very scared and listened to everything the media and government told them. They spent their days locked in their apartments staring out their windows in the midst of a brewing depressive and/or anxiety crisis. Some parts of the world today are still experiencing lockdowns, such as Australia. Doesn’t the government know that they contribute to mental health disorders ? Of course they do.

Pandemic Mental Health Crisis: The Jabs

This is a very controversial topic because half of Americans and many across the world are weary about getting vaccinated. These vaccines were released to the public in a year. The average vaccine trial takes about 14 years. In addition, Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines use mRNA technology to deliver the genetic material coding for the viral spike proteins. mRNA vaccines were never previously introduced unto the public. Why did they introduce them now during a pandemic? What are the long-term side effects? To make things even worse, local and state governments as well as the federal government have been pushing vaccine mandates. NYC recently passed a law prohibiting unvaccinated people from indoor dining, going to the gym or any public events without proof of vaccination. Healthcare workers and many other businesses are now being mandated to become vaccinated or risk termination. Don’t you think this raises the stress level of many people who rightfully choose to be unvaccinated? This is increasing the anxiety level in many people. On the other hand, many believe that the benefits of becoming vaccinated outweigh the potential long-term risks of these vaccines. People don’t want to catch COVID! Both sides make great points, but this doesn’t mean that mental illness is not at play here.

Bottles of COVID vaccine

The Unpredictable Future

Considering that the current vaccines only prevent severe illness from COVID and not minor illness, in addition to similar viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated people, will this not result in deadlier strains in the near future? I find it silly that the USA is going to provide booster shots starting the 20th of September. Many third world countries have still not gotten their first shots. Don’t they realize that new variants will arise in those countries, making booster shots essentially meaningless? The point of a booster shot is to raise your antibody levels back up to when you got your last shot 8 months ago. If new variants will arise that will likely be immune to the current vaccines, what is the point of booster shots? All of this is raising the stress levels in many people, causing them to become anxious and depressed, and many even isolated inside their homes.

What is your experience with mental health during this pandemic?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The COVID Pandemic: A Mental Health Crisis smiley GIF face

Words of Encouragement

Blonde white girl spreading arms near body of water

Pandemic: Living in the Era of COVID-19

Take my words of encouragement how you like them. It’s so easy for you (and for us) to wake up every day and dive into a negative state of mind, especially during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. We turn on the news and hope that we don’t hear any more mentions of “lockdowns,” “mandatory vaccines,” “delta variant,” and “masks.” After one minute of the television chirping in the background, we’re already slightly stressed and quickly turn it off. This process is even worse when you’re suffering from a mental illness.

So what are my words of encouragement for you? I know it sounds simple but they are, “practice gratitude and be thankful for what you already have.” A mistake many people make (including myself) is that they constantly desire more in their life, at the expense of practicing gratitude for what they already have. While there’s nothing wrong with desiring more and creating goals to accomplish new dreams, always seeking without practicing gratitude puts you in a “consciousness of lack.” In other words, you attract more of what you don’t have because that’s what your mind is focused on.

Words of Encouragement: You Already Have What You Need

Just remind yourself that you already have more than you need; never forget that. We’re already very selfish by nature so don’t let your environment make you even more selfish. You can imagine how terrible it must be for your psyche if you’re not practicing gratitude, always seeking more and suffering from a mental illness, all while in the middle of a never-ending pandemic. Gratitude is like medicine but we often ignore this potent medicine that lies within us. We’re too focused on our environment rather than internally being thankful for what we have.

Cloud formed as heart in sky

Starting from today, practice gratitude this very moment and continue to do so for the rest of your life. Lastly, I want to mention that I don’t write long blog posts due to time and energy. As a psychiatrist, it’s a challenge to write impressively long content, so I hope you enjoy these short pieces.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Words of encouragement smiley winking GIF face

COVID Lockdowns

Person wearing cheetah coat with gas mask on sitting on couch with toilet paper on table

Life During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge around the world, multiple countries are implementing 4-week national lockdowns. Whether the U.S. will be next is still yet to be seen, but it is my opinion that national or even local lockdowns are a terrible idea. COVID lockdowns do not work. Take a look at the following reasons why:

  • Small business owners are losing their income
  • The economy is crumbling
  • Many who are home are experiencing mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety
  • Many who are home are using more substances such as alcohol and cannabis
  • Lockdowns create uncertainty and fear in many people
  • They force many people with a mental illness to stay home rather than being out and about
  • Lockdowns promote more virtual communication via Zoom and Webex rather than in-person interactions

And the list goes on. The worst part about it is that even if we protest against lockdowns, the federal government will do what they wish. This is a form of control and a big middle finger to the people who elected them in the first place. It’s truly a dark time that we are living in, but we must make the most out of it and remain positive. With the Delta variant surging, don’t be surprised if lockdowns get reinstated in the near future. Vaccines are preventing severe COVID cases, but breakthrough cases in those who are vaccinated are still happening.

COVID lockdowns - people staying home

Will the Delta Variant lead to more COVID Lockdowns?

Because of the many breakthrough cases in vaccinated persons, the Delta variant is showing no signs of slowing down. What will likely happen is that the virus will continue to mutate as more people get vaccinated. This is because the viral load in vaccinated persons is just as high as in those who are unvaccinated. This is buying the virus more time to mutate. Viral mutations are the virus’ survival mechanism; it keeps it alive in nature by dodging threats to its existence. Before scientists have enough time to create more effective vaccines, the virus will likely develop many new strains.

If this continues to happen, the governments will be forced to revisit lockdown measures. But as listed above, lockdowns are clearly bad for our society. Do we have any other options? I believe that lockdowns should never be reinstated ever again. I also don’t believe in vaccine mandates. If the U.S. spent more time providing education on the vaccines rather than promoting vaccine mandates, more people would be willing to take the shots. Instead, we are demonizing those who refuse vaccines, causing further divide among the masses. Rather than vaccine mandates and lockdowns, we need to continue to provide education on vaccines and move on. Life needs to go on while we continue careful measures such as wearing masks in crowded indoor places and washing our hands.

What is your opinion? Do you believe in lockdowns and mandatory vaccines?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

When COVID Meets Mental Health

Psychotic man standing in empty train

COVID And Crack

The coronavirus has no brain, heart or emotions; imagine a rocket-proof tank endlessly plowing through society destroying everything in its path. COVID is like an unleashed demon who is smiling 24/7 as it continuously kills humans during the day and night. But when COVID encounters mental health, it stops for a second and thinks to itself, “You know what . . . this sounds and looks interesting!”

Mental health patients who suffer from depression, psychosis or addiction are very vulnerable to acquiring the coronavirus. This is because these patients’ judgment are impaired to begin with, especially if they are under-medicated or noncompliant with their medications. COVID senses this and has fun not only torturing their mind but their body as well.

Drug addicts do not care if public enemy number one is the coronavirus; drugs have already hijacked their brain. They will literally go missing from their nursing home somewhere in Queens, NY and make their way to Manhattan only to end up at a crack house. They may even develop a cough or shortness of breath while they continue to inhale from their crack pipe, but they can care less; the high always saves the day.

Until their physical symptoms worsen. Not only are they addicts, but they’re also likely suffering from another mental illness such as schizoaffective disorder or depression. When the virus begins to destroy their body, their mental health also declines, reinforcing the effect of the high provided by the drugs as compensation.

So what COVID does all along is stir up a crackpot full of physical, mental and spiritual symptoms. Did we mention that these folks are often homeless as well? At this point, they either succumb to their fate which is often death in the streets or they luckily end up in a hospital. In the hospital, some will malinger in order to prolong their stay while others will quickly return back to the streets to chase the dragon; in this case, there’s already a Chinese dragon destroying humanity.

When COVID meets mental health? Consider it a potential recipe for disaster.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Finding Refuge In The Park

Green trees in park at golden hour

Forest Fuel: Nature Heals My Mental Health

If it’s not work then it’s being at home. If it’s not being at home, then it’s being stuck within your mind while at home. It’s fair to say that most people would agree that life has dramatically changed within the last couple of months and certainly not for the better. It sometimes feels like we have become prisoners to our own home; the rooms feel like they are closing in on us more every day.

But it’s our mind that is closing in on us. We start to become inpatient when spending so much time in the house: activities become repetitive, the news is getting old and going “virtual” is not at all exciting. The fact that we’ve reached a point in time that our government is telling us to stay home is quite worrisome.

They keep emphasizing “social distancing” repeatedly like we’re little kids who do not comprehend the first time around. But there is a reason that many of us do not comprehend social distancing and that’s because we are losing our mind by staying indoors all day. But one gem that remains available is our parks!

Finding refuge in the park is no exaggeration. It provides a calm and relaxing environment where we can sit on benches, jog on trails, walk on grass and converse with friends and family. Now that mother nature has rewarded us with the beauty of Spring, the park has become an even more pleasant place to retreat during this coronavirus pandemic.

The park is like a reset of your mental health throughout the day. Whether you are still working or casually relaxing within the comforts of your home, the park provides a beautiful opportunity to relieve your stress and connect with nature. Putting all medications aside, nature is still one of the best healers of mental health!

It helps you leave your hole which you call your “home” and allows you to release your thoughts into the wild, allowing the trees to scatter them away into the distance. The park welcomes you with a big hug provided by the sun rays and wind streams brushing away from the trees and on towards you; the park engulfs you with mental comfort!

If you are feeling sad and lonely during this COVID-19 catastrophe, remember that you are not alone! We all are. But don’t be afraid to leave your home and find a park to help heal your mental health. Don’t remain in your house for endless days at a time; you are ripping your mental health apart by doing that.

Let’s consciously connect together in the park!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Social Distancing In A Time Of Crisis

Woman sitting on window apartment practicing social distancing

The Hidden Enemy

As every day passes, we continue to remain with unanswered questions as to how we should live our lives. Health officials tell us to practice social distancing and to remain at home, yet this is resulting in massive job losses, economic fluttering and mental health problems. It’s not easy to stay at home after you’ve been used to living a productive life.

And even if you stay at home, how long can you go like this until you don’t mentally burst? Psychologically, it’s not healthy to remain at home day after day, even in a time of crisis. As a matter of fact, it’s actually worse to spend more time at home in a time of crisis because it just makes you more anxious and possibly even depressed.

When your mental health goes down, so does your physical health: you feel less energized and motivated to recover from any bodily symptoms. And social distancing does just that: it robs you of your social life and the way that you were previously used to living. So while we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, should we be practicing social distancing?

While no right answer, it’s important to be cautious and practice good hygiene. Hand washing and wearing personal protective equipment is a must. If you work in a hospital, you should always wear a face mask; this should not even be disputed. You should always wash your hands after returning home from being outside, even if you haven’t touched anything.

While it may feel like you’re not living your life while practicing social distancing, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of self-isolation. If you are symptomatic, such as experiencing a dry cough, shortness of breath or a fever, then you should stay home, call your doctor or even go to the hospital. If your symptoms worsen, definitely go to the hospital.

We are living in very difficult times and many are suffering from mental health problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing is not helping everyone and many feel that they are losing their minds by staying at home. It’s important that you remain positive and maintain an optimistic outlook regarding the future.

We will get through this together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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