This week’s blog was written by Hope Orsi, SCY Student Program Assistant, responding to the articles from NBC News and Rolling Stone regarding mental health during the current pandemic.
During this time of panic, it can prove difficult to take a step back and look at the facts. The pandemic seems to be in all the places that many of us turn for a distraction from daily life, television, every social media platform, even driving in your car, or if you still have to do your commute, there are reminders of what is going on in the world right now. While it is important to stay informed and cautious, the constant coverage can be overwhelming and a potential harm to our mental health. What is real and what is inflated by the media?
How is the current crisis affecting people who suffer from mental illness, those who do not, and how can we cope?
In a recent article by NBC News, author Tyler Kingkade discusses how the COVID-19 panic is especially difficult for people with OCD and anxiety disorders. People who suffer from these mental illnesses already feel this sort of anxiety in their everyday life, and now it’s also everywhere around them. Another article from Rolling Stone also discusses how the pandemic is a potential trigger for many people suffering from mental illness. For example, often times a compulsion for people suffering from OCD is to wash their hands, but with the current guidelines to vigorously wash our hands how should they decipher between what is reasonable and unreasonable?
Even if you aren’t suffering from a diagnosed mental illness maybe you are dealing with a sort of loss, a big uprooting in your daily life and routine, or isolation.
There are so many changes and sources of anxiety right now that we must learn how to take and step back from the hysteria and practice our coping strategies. This doesn’t mean to cut yourself off from the news completely but when you start to feel stressed out by what you’re seeing remove yourself and reassess, a “time-out”. Ask yourself, “are my fears realistic or inflated by the media coverage?” Most importantly, always check your sources and make sure you have reliable information.
There are many resources for how to cope during this time which will be linked below, some things that I have found helpful are to create a routine and stick to it as best I can and to include one thing every day that is just for myself.