It is safe to assume that there is a spectrum of emotions experienced by a lot of us right now with everything that is happening right now especially with the 21 day lockdown implemented. A lot of anxiety can be expected with a lot of us especially with the uncertainty of the length of the lockdown, job sustainability and academic loss of time for students. It seems the further we remain disconnected from each other the greater the chance of impact on one’s psyche.
Fear and anxiety:
it is very normal to have some fear around contracting the virus or even spreading COVID 19 and so it is important to know the facts. Going out to get food supplies may also cause some anxiety and so when you have all the facts about the virus and how to guard against contracting the virus while you out, this will give you some ease and eliminate some of that worry and fear. So here are some current facts: the virus is not airborne but rather contagious; the virus spreads before anyone knows they are sick or shows symptoms of being infected so it’s important to keep a safe distance from others; the virus lives on surfaces a while (a day on cardboards and two to three days on plastics or steel) so sanitise surfaces as often as possible.
Depression and boredom:
we are now on day 12 of the 21 days of the country’s lockdown period and many of us have been classified as non-essential workers and are therefore on lockdown at home. This means that our normal daily routines have been completely disrupted and so for many of us boredom is starting to set in as we are starting to run out of ways to entertain ourselves whilst housebound. The disconnection to social interaction and physical connection may lead to emotional isolation and a sense of hopelessness for others as there’s a sense of loss of control on both the situation and one’s own life. For those already experiencing psychological difficulties, social distancing may elevate their feelings of hopelessness thus causing more depressive symptoms or even sinking into a deeper depression. It is therefore important to be mindful of any emotional and psychological changes during this period and to seek intervention immediately by contacting various online and telephonic psychological services or seek hospitalisation.
Anger, frustration or irritability:
At this point some amount of anger, frustration and irritability may start to set in for many people. Reasons can include financial worries, loss of control over one’s own life, social disconnect, and lost academic time. This trio of feelings is rooted in the relinquishment of control over so many things all at once. The loss of personal freedom associated with isolation and quarantine can often feel frustrating. Due to various challenges faced by most South Africans, it is normal to feel some of these feelings and it important to acknowledge these feelings as stressful times rather than denying them. Denial is a remarkable adaptive skill that may be harmful to one’s psyche and therefore it is advisable to deal with the stress head on by exploring different ways of coping.