18 Jul Grief and Loss, Mental Illness spiking Up in The Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed more than 4 million lives worldwide. Countless people have lost family members, colleagues, and relatives in this battle, leaving them with a sense of grief and loss. Mourning has permeated the air on a daily basis for as long as anyone can remember, and it seems that this crisis has no end. Health workers appear to be struggling to keep up with their job while having to witness their peers striving to survive on the other side. With the current circumstances on hand, everyone, without exception, is walking on thin ice. The stress level has risen dramatically, resulting in an increase in the number of people suffering from mental illnesses.
How the Grief and Loss Affects Mental Health
It is undeniable that tension and worry are at an all-time high during the pandemic. In a few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our daily lives and routines, causing uncertainty and fear. Coping at this time is incredibly hard for the bulk of the population as we adjust to remaining at home and feel the loss of our loved ones. Here are three of the several ways that the feeling of grief and loss can affect your mental health:
- Sense of Guilt: COVID-19 is avoidable, but death is not. When your loved ones die, it is possible that you will experience intense guilt for what transpired in the past. Inside your thoughts, you’ll wonder, “Why didn’t I do this?” or “Why do I do that?”. If prolonged, you will develop negative self-esteem and detach from the society.
- Sense of Unreality: Your brain was unable to handle the information that you had lost someone after spending time with them. For a while, you would not realize that they would not be around for the rest of your life. The tendency of hallucination and/or delusion increased.
- Sense of Abandonment: When someone is taken away from us, we may become detached from society, and we may have a sense of abandonment in our hearts. Most of the time, you will be terrified of social interaction because you are afraid they will forsake you again.
All these effects above are symptoms of numerous mental illnesses. Thus, actions must be taken to stop it from developing severe mental conditions.
How to Cope With Grief and Loss?
With grief is driving you into a corner, you’ll need strategies to get through it. The approaches listed below can help you deal with grief and loss before it becomes worst:
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Before conquering grief, it is important to accept your feeling and allow them to be expressed. You can only begin to heal if you acknowledge the grief you are experiencing.
Spend Time To Focus on Yourself
Recognize that it is permissible to spend time caring for yourself through difficult circumstances. We often get carried away by the tragic news of others, whether someone has passed away or has tested positive for COVID-19. When that happens, we feel obligated to look after them and sympathize with their plight. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is common for us to do so without considering the state of our mental health.
Spare time for as long as you need to take a break, heal and look for yourself to cope with the grief you are experiencing. When you are in a better state, it will be easier to help someone in need.
Engage with Friends and Families
Humans are prone to seclude themselves when they are going through tough times. It is often because we are in such mental and emotional despair that we are unable to communicate with others. We may be too depressed or anxious to communicate. Yet to rise from the feeling of grief and loss, initiatives to reach out must be taken. Even if you don’t feel like it, use technology to stay in touch with your family and friends daily.
Seek Professional Help
If you feel like doing these steps are not helping, contact your local psychiatrist or psychologist. They could help you acknowledge better ways to overcome the feeling and move on with the grief. Take note that moving on implies that you have accepted what has happened in the past. This is not the same as forgetting. You can go on with your life while keeping the memory of someone or something you lost close to your heart. Indeed, as we progress through life, these memories can become increasingly important in establishing who we are.
For more about mental well being and health during COVID-19, do check these articles out: Mental Health 101: Breaking The Stigma and Ensuring Health as the Basic Right for All Human Being; SDG 3.