In the midst of a crisis beyond description, depression and hopelessness can take over. With everything in life flipped upside down, it is easy to lose a grip on reality and focus on loss and grief. COVID has brought sickness and death, loss of jobs and income, and national and international uncertainty. I think, if most of us were honest, we would admit these times of great uncertainty would be a great time to reassess our lives and determine what is really important.
Fear and anxiety can be paralyzing and destructive, and many terrifying, physiological symptoms can present with anxiety. Anxiety can be so terrifying you wonder if you will ever be able to function normally again. A combination of depression and anxiety can be debilitating. Maybe some of you reading this post are experiencing some of these symptoms. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are as follows (DSM-5):
- Poor appetite or overeating.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much).
- Low energy or fatigue.
- Low self-esteem.
- Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions.
- Feelings of hopelessness.
Anxiety (generalized anxiety)
- Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation); occurring more days than not for at least six months about a number of events or activities.
- Difficult to control worry.
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
- Being easily fatigued.
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
- Muscle tension.
- Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep).
If you have any of these symptoms, the following suggestions may be helpful:
- Tell yourself everyday, “This will be over soon. I will go back to work soon. I can do this one day at a time. I can do anything for a short time.” Create positive confessions that lift your spirit and give you hope. A few months out of a lifetime is a “short amount” of time. Live one minute, one day at a time.
- Stay in contact with friends and family. Contact five to ten people a day in an effort to stay connected. Isolation is the worst thing you can do emotionally. Force yourself to reconnect with people.
- If the depression and anxiety is moderate to severe, call your healthcare provider. You may need medication. If you have medication for depression and/or anxiety, now is not the time to skip dosages. Stay current.
- Find new things to do in your home: books you haven’t read; puzzles you haven’t worked; art projects that aren’t finished; start a book you have wanted to write forever; start a blog; investigate your interests. Do all the things you never have time to do.
- Be grateful for everything. Thankfulness can change your attitude.
- ACTIVITY BEGATS ACTIVITY! Get up and get busy doing something. Sometimes activity can be the best medicine for depression and anxiety.
- Clean and tidy up your home. A mess is a breeding place for hopelessness and depression. Clean out and purge old stuff in your life. Mental health is connected to the way we live.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. It will make you feel energized.
- You may need medication to help you through this crisis. Call your healthcare provider.
SUICIDE IS NOT AN ANSWER!! People love you and you can find a way with God’s help!
If this COVID series speaks to you at any level, please share this post and blog site with your friends. Subscribe at www.drbrendaramboauthor.com. Your comments and conversation are welcome.