How Are You Coping? Is the Pandemic Hurting Your Mental Health?


These are trying times where most people live with terrible amounts of uncertainty as the situation with this pandemic doesn’t seem to improve anything soon.

And understandably, many people are downright scared. There are a lot of questions popping up these days:

      •   Will we and our loved ones stay healthy?
      •   Will our financial wellbeing be affected?
      •   Will they ever find a cure, vaccine, or an effective treatment so that we can safely leave our homes again?

As if these questions weren’t bad enough to make one spiral through neverending thoughts of despair, there are other things to worry about these days: quarantine, and what that implies, isolation, or the death of a loved one. Then, there’s always the possibility of a supply shortage, from medication to protective equipment, food, and even toilet paper.

There’s also misinformation, which can be rampant during the pandemic, and make everyone feel even more confused or afraid. For example, for a while everyone seemed to have a different opinion on face masks – do they help? Are they useless? Should they only be worn by the people who are infected? Now, many places actually require you to wear a facemask or cover your face before you leave your home.

These times inevitably lead to certain reactions. We’re all very different, and being different means everyone has a unique set of reactions even to the same event, like this pandemic. You, for instance, may not have the same reactions, thoughts, or even concerns as people in your own family. Now, you may be wondering – is that okay?

The Difference in Reactions

Some people try to take the good out of this ordeal, and focus on self-care, or care for other people. It’s about making the best out of a bad situation. But, not everyone can have this drive.

Other people may be genuinely angry and look for someone to blame: a member of the community thought to have brought the virus near them, the government, the World Health Organization, you name it! They look for someone to blame because they need an outlet to let their anger out, which is always a lot easier to do when you have a “bad guy” responsible for everything.

But some people put themselves, and others, in danger. These are the people that reject what the scientists are saying, and defy the rules thinking they either know better or don’t believe they are at risk. This often leads to disastrous consequences, because from all we know about how the virus spread, it’s unpredictable.

How’s your reaction? Your mind may be giving you hints on how to deal with the stress, loneliness, trauma, or loss caused by the pandemic. Or, it may not, in which case you feel confused.

Some of us have been affected by this isolation more than others. If you’re an introvert living happily with your partner, this time at home may not hit you as hard as, say, an extrovert living alone, completely detached from their community, or someone living in a stressful family situation.

In either case, there’s a feeling of loss mixed with loneliness in the air, and you may be feeling helpless, or completely controlled by all the restrictions and rules mandated by the isolation orders. If you are also predisposed to suffer from mental health issues like depression, or anxiety, this pandemic is likely making it worse.

How Do You Cope?

What can you do if you’re having a hard time through this pandemic?

Well, first, you should realize you’re not alone, even though you may feel like it. We’re all going through these things together, and being separated by physical walls doesn’t make this any less true. It’s perfectly normal to have emotional reactions to such difficult situations, so never be ashamed of what you’re feeling, or of asking for help in these moments.

Maybe you need to have an honest talk with a friend or family member to air out your feelings and get some emotional support.

Or, maybe you could use a TeleHealth session with a mental health professional, who can listen to your worries and help you make sense of what you’re feeling. There are countless platforms available at just a few clicks away!

Or is it simpler than that? Is all your anxiety caused by the informational overload that’s surrounding everyone these days? In this case, you should cut out the noise, turn off the TV, reduce the time spent online, and see if that helps reduce your anger and anxiety.

The “solution” is not a one size fits all. It’s personal because though we’re all in this together, what you are feeling right now isn’t a carbon copy of what everyone else is feeling. There are similarities, sure, but it’s not the same.

Always Have Hope

Though these are hard times and nobody knows when they will end, they certainly won’t last forever. And most people will be fine and get out of this unscathed. The majority of those infected with the virus recover. There are countless amazing researchers currently bending over backward to try and find a fix to all of this. There are creative geniuses working on the best ways to keep everyone safe. There are people working hard to help everyone get through this.

And maybe their work will pay off not just during the pandemic, but in the future as well!

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