Coping with the impact of Covid 19
“The negative effects
on mental health of experiencing psychological trauma in this crisis have the potential to be profound.”
(Holmes et al, 2020, The Lancet)
The pandemic has brought grief, financial hardship and loneliness for many people and looking after mental health is now more important than ever.
The current Covid 19 pandemic is impacting on all of us in different ways. There is a sense of community with us all of experiencing something together but our individual experiences, coping abilities and resilience thresholds will vary for each of us. Trying to navigate our emotional and behavioural responses to this unprecedented occurrence has created a strange but very real experience for each of us as we are now affected by the wider environment we occupy. It is not surprising that we all want to get out of our emotional turmoil as quickly as possible but going forward is difficult when you don’t know how to proceed; with feelings and progression fluctuating as you try to reorganise your life.
However, what we do know is that Covid 19 is causing massive collateral damage and may get worse the longer it continues. Current research informs us that mental health problems have got worse across all age groups in the past year.
You may be experiencing:
A range of emotions as you navigate the ‘new normal’ and the uncertainty it brings: fear, sadness, anger, denial, shock, confusion, frustration and anxiety. There may have been many changes to integrate into family and working life with many personal losses everywhere from painful bereavements with no chance of saying goodbye, stress and burnout, to job losses, financial insecurity, lack of social freedom, family/relationship breakdown and the loss of a sense of self and purpose.
Relationships with others may be more acutely felt either because of enforced isolation or intensified closeness as a result of coping with threat to life, livelihood, illness, bereavement and how we are impacted by the wider societal challenges. These experiences create enormous pressure and stress on us as we try to find ways to adapt but the impact of our well-being and mental health is often unavoidable as we consider our health and mortality.
Our own personal coping mechanisms and our relationships with others are placed under considerable stress with daily negotiation of home spaces for living together, work, play, leisure and schooling; we are coping with family members and friends who may have underlying physical and mental health difficulties or trying to deal with divorce, separation, conflict other distresses.
The impact of lockdown on children and young people is already being seen as a major contributing factor in development and exacerbation of risk factors for mental health problems. Children and young people are not being able to socialise or connect physically with friends; their learning has been affected which all again impacts on their wellbeing.
Mental and physical exhaustion may be the resulting impact for many, especially keyworkers, and often we will strive to do our absolute best in challenging times and go beyond what is healthy for us and this may result in toxic stress and burn out. You may struggle to switch off, having difficulty sleeping or seek comfort in food, alcohol, drugs or engaging in impulsive and risky activities. All these emotional responses will take its toll on our mental health and for many we may not be the same as we were at the start of this pandemic.
Processing grief, loss, change and understanding the spectrum of emotions you may be experiencing alongside takes time and counselling can be particularly useful especially if you or those around you, notice you are struggling to come to terms with your own sense of change. It may be a useful opportunity to explore long-term ongoing issues, or previously unexplored issues or childhood, trauma and difficult and unhappy life experiences.
You may feel that those around you are unable to offer the right support, understanding or containment or you may be fearful to admit your own feelings. It will be necessary to explore these emotional meanings of being in lockdown and how we continue to survive this pandemic and how these impact on us personally but also our interactions with others.
So if you, or someone you’re worried about, is in need of some extra support, please do get in touch.
Email: email@example.com or call 07903 627109.
I am able to offer therapeutic support but also help individuals find opportunities to understand their own emotional responses and to develop self-regulation strategies but also to create more fulfilling relationships during this crisis.
50 minutes counselling support (by either telephone/video platform) at £60 - please do enquire about reduced session fees if you are on a low income or receiving benefits.
Please note this is not an emergency or crisis support service.
If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E or call 999. You can also speak to the Samaritans 24 Hour Support helpline for free by calling 116 123. If you are a young person experiencing a mental health crisis you can text the Youngminds Crisis Messenger Service for free for 24/7 support - text YM to 85258.