This global pandemic continues to test our mental strength. For the past few months, Americans have been facing one of the most significant life-altering changes in their lives. Our country has reached a milestone of 2,189,056 cases and of 118,421 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
For those with a pre-existing mental health condition, being stuck with sadness and wondering if you or a family member is going to get sick can give us a sense of anxiety and hopelessness. In Psychology Today, therapist Kevin Foss said, “Our anxiety can lead us into some dark mental spaces.”
Federal experts warn that more challenging times could be heading our way, however. For some, this global health crisis brings memories back to 9/11. Suicide, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse could be on the horizon. A Well Being Trust, a national public health group, estimates that as many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to CNN.
“Unless we get comprehensive federal, state, and local resources behind improving access to high quality mental health treatments and community supports, I worry we’re likely to see things get far worse when it comes to substance misuse and suicide,” Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, chief strategy officer of Well Being Trust, told CNN.
Texas psychotherapist Dennis Ramos says that PTSD and panic attacks are some of the most severe form
Upsetting and reoccurring flashbacks of empty shells at the grocery stores, along with people lining up outside supermarkets to get the basic necessities, contribute to amplifying our current post-traumatic stress disorder. The stress of dealing with this pandemic and the perpetual social distancing required to slow the outbreak’s spread continues to wear on us. But there are some things you can incorporate to counteract the negative emotions we are currently experiencing.
Ramos reminds that staying in the present moments is one of the best strategies to combat anxiety. Some call this mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness, or staying in the present, can be learned. Meditation is one of the ways to stay in the present moment. But our stressful, hectic lifestyles can make this very difficult, Ramos says.
Finding equanimity can helps us to relax and let go of that state of mind of “fight or flight.” In a time when things are out of our control, set steps to find some inner peace and safeguard your mental health. It will help provide relief for stress and anxiety.
Wear a Mask
When you’re in public, show your love for others by wearing a mask. Continue to take precautions and maintain the appropriate distance even if that person doesn’t appear sick. Until there is more information, avoid being exposed or exposing others to this virus. Especially now that America is slowly reopening.
So much is happening in a short time. It’s okay to remind ourselves that we don’t have any control of the outcome with our current health crisis. Instead, try to remain positive. We have been through enough. Stay healthy and stay focused on how to minimize the spread of this virus. This pandemic will not last forever. We will get our lives back. We got this!