The news of 23yr old jumping to death from the hospital's seventh floor in Delhi, another 42yrs old IT professional in Mulund, Mumbai, jumped to death 2 days back, other news of increased calls on suicide helpline number and increased calls on domestic violence helpline, health anxiety questions on digital platforms are also increasing, Assaults to health care professionals, news of job losses, death fear, all are indicating significant serious psychological, behavioral, interpersonal effects of a pandemic on us as a society.
The pandemic period is not just affecting us physically but it has affected every significant area of our life. The new normal lifestyle demands adaptation to ease the day to day life but it is not effortless.
Adaptation definition indicates that adaptation is a state of changing (thoughts, feelings, and behavior) to suit the new situation. There is a difference between adjustment and adaptation. To adjust is to change something slightly to make it more suitable for a new set of conditions or make it work better.
Before COVID-19, it will not be wrong to say that we were living in a world of instant gratification. Everything was instantly available on one click, from food to footwear, and medicine to movie tickets was one click or one call away. There was no need to wait or pause.
COVID-19 is not only tricky because we are staying at home but also because of limited or no access to many things we are habituated for. The uncertain future, the possibility of catching an infection, fear for job loss and recession, economical crisis are the major contributing factors for today's stress.
But Suffering can not be an option!
Counseling and psychotherapy from qualified mental health professionals can help. So when to ask for help and how can counseling or psychotherapy help?
1. Change in pattern of Sleep: Sleep deprivation and excess sleep both conditions are indicating that the person's mood and/ or thoughts are calling for help.
2. Automatic negative thoughts:
Repetitive, unstoppable automatic negative thoughts can lead to anxiety and depressed mood, this also makes people over vigilant and few times even paranoid. Understanding and learning how to stop these thoughts will be easy with counseling and therapy.
3. Dealing with fear: fear is the condition were many times the false event appears real to us. This time guiding our thoughts and behavior towards rationality is the only way out. Discussions, worksheets, and learning new life skills in counseling will be helpful.
4.Comfort eating, body image, and self-esteem: Many of us are aware of emotional eating to overcome the stress. If it continues it leads to body image issues, blaming self and experiencing helplessness because even when you want to stop or abstain from eating while stressed you are not able to do so. One must earn to identify emotional triggers to eating and learn new ways to deal with it, qualified mental health professionals (psychologist and psychiatrist) can design the tailormade recovery plan for you.
5. Depression: The stage where you are unable to take an interest in things which you enjoy earlier, unable to do the day to day functions, constantly feeling low, and many other changes you see in yourself. Thought depression is commonly used term but clinical depression criteria are diffrent. Clinically depressed people require medicines and psychotherapy as a treatment.
6. Interpersonal conflicts: each one of us is dealing with our stressors and in this pandemic period we are spending a lot of time with our family members as a result of lockdown. In this condition, the household work, providing emotional support to a partner, dealing with own emotional ups and downs can be burdensome. finding new relationship goals, redefining our role and setting or adapting with new boundaries in the relationship will be difficult without counseling and psychotherapy.
7. Self-motivation: working for home and motivating yourself for being productive is not easy. Our old associations with home comfort and our beliefs might be distractive. Being mindful and regulating self, time management will be easy with professional assistance.
8. Dealing with isolation: Being away from family or living alone can take a toll on emotional wellbeing. feeling secure and taking care of ownself in this condition is very difficult. Emotion regulations, self-care and ways to help ownself effectively is the key.
9. Abstaining from nicotine, Alcohol, and Drugs: Many people are forced to stop substance use as a result of lockdown. Counseling can help to deal with craving, dealing with withdrawals, handling abstinence-based problems, and making the plan for relapse prevention are the important stages for longterm recovery and your counselor can work with you to make it effective.