pic credit: Sow Ay
The fact that many people are unable to see their friends and loved ones in person only makes the situation worse. “Social distancing is really hard on people, and it’s especially taking its toll on people who are isolated at home alone,” Meredith said. “Loneliness can be a big source of stress.”
Even under more normal circumstances, prolonged loneliness can contribute to depression and anxiety, as well as to physical health problems. One 2016 study, for example, found that being lonely was associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Today, the ordinary risks of loneliness could be magnified by the stress of living during a pandemic. For people who are social distancing right now, “there is a high risk that they’re going to become more anxious, much more depressed, and it’s going to have longer-term effects,” Rima Styra, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, told Vox.
Overall, a lot of people around the world are experiencing a dip in mental well-being. Factors from “looming severe shortages of resources” to the “imposition of unfamiliar public health measures that infringe on personal freedoms” are likely to increase emotional distress during this time, psychiatry professors Betty Pfefferbaum and Carol S. North wrote in a paper published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A very good article on the subject.
At times when we’re going through a depression bout; I think it’s very easy for us to get distracted, to look at troubles and challenges around us, instead of fixing our eyes on what we should be focusing on. It’s really easy to see the negatives, and it takes effort to stay positive and hopeful.
As a person with clinical depression, I know that situation too well. In most mornings when I wake up, it’s hard for me to remember good things in life, or how far I have come at this point in my life and work journey. This is where faith plays it’s part; even though I have to admit that even to do this, to hold on to faith, is not something that I can automatically do.
This is the time when talking and writing becomes my refuge. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we have come, and how much we have done.
When you’re going through a depression bout, it’s easy to fall into its lies, “You’re a failure, you’re no good, your life means nothing, you’re worthless, you’d better of dead”; and it will take a herculean effort to believe that those thoughts 💭 are lies; that they are not true.
Sometimes during times like that, the best thing you can do is to let go, to stop fighting the waves 🌊 that are pulling you under. Use the energy you have to just stay afloat; not fighting the thoughts 💭, but letting them pass through you, and believing (no matter how hard) that this storm ⛈ will pass too; and when the water is calm, then you can swim 🏊♀️ back to shore.
Depression is temporary. It may take some time, but you will feel good again. Trust me.
Stay safe, stay sane, stay kind ❤️
“… As a counselor herself, she knew that talking about her depression would help her feel better…”
Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of mental illness. There is an increased awareness of depression as a medically treatable condition. Most people experience occasional depression as the random feeling of being lonely or sad. With major depression, however, a person feels like they’re stuck in a cave with no hope of escape. By choosing to discuss her situation with me, my friend had thrown out a lifeline. As a counselor herself, she knew that talking about her depression would help her feel better. I felt honored to be on the receiving end of the conversation. She’d been there for me in the past when I had been caught in psychosis. This time, I got to be the listener.
There’s hearing and then there’s listening. Hearing is the passive activity of taking in audible sounds. Listening is a skill that facilitates effective communication. Active listening is a communications technique which acknowledges the other person’s feelings while deciphering the message they’re conveying, creating a sense of empathy and nonjudgemental reflection. The party speaking feels validated rather than merely heard. Paying attention to the other person’s words, and repeating ideas and phrases to confirm that you understand what they’ve said, demonstrates respect for their feelings, creating a sense of closeness. This is the result we all strive for when we’re sharing—to be listened to and understood.
Guys often contend with – and need to put aside – a few things when thinking about reaching out to someone:
1. You want to “solve” this on your own. Trying to battle a major health condition on your own is like trying to push a boulder up a mountain by yourself – without someone to back you up, the thing is likely to run you over.
2. You don’t want to be a burden. We all like to help out others whenever we can – it makes us feel good. It’s frustrating when we know someone can use a hand, but they don’t ask for it or use it – that’s the real burden.
3. You don’t want to look weak or crazy. Depression is a serious health condition that millions of men contend with every year. There’s nothing about it that suggests weakness or craziness. It’s really no different than if you develop diabetes or high blood pressure – it happens and you work towards making it better.