Have you been feeling down and depressed since the onset of the pandemic? Have you been feeling stressed that everything around you irritates you? Have you been worrying a lot that it manifests in how you go your day? Have you been sweating and your hands shaking without you knowing? Or have you been not feeling well that you don’t want to eat or that you can’t sleep at night?
Well, chances are, you’re struggling with mental health problems. And it’s normal. With all the difficulties of this pandemic, it’s normal not to feel the best version of ourselves.
How do you know you have mental health issues?
MentalHealth.gov defines mental health as the “emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” It is crucial in “how we think, feel, and act.” Mental health problems may have symptoms that affect your day-to-day activities. Signs may include lack of or too much sleep and appetite. It also involves a lack of interest in engaging with people and in activities. They may not have the usual energy. Symptoms may also include too much smoking and drinking. It also causes severe mood swings and hallucinations. It causes one’s inability to do usual activities.
An October 2020 report of the American Psychological Association shows that the pandemic has affected the lives of many Americans. At least 61% of American adults have experienced unwanted changes in their body weight since the pandemic. Meanwhile, 67% said they were sleeping more or less than usual.
One in four adults said they were drinking more alcohol as a means to cope with the pandemic stress. Almost half of the parent respondents said life has become more stressful since the pandemic. This is true with parents whose children are still on distance learning.
The financial difficulties, uncertainties, and the fear of contracting the virus contribute to these problems. Add the restrictions and the limited mobility, it, indeed, is stressful. Unfortunately, some go into a slump and have a hard time recovering.
Mental health services on hold
According to the report, almost half of the respondents chose to delay seeking health care during the pandemic. This could be due to fear of going to the hospitals already overflowing with COVID-19 patients. Despite this, experts encourage people suffering to go to a walk-in mental health clinic for urgent treatment. These clinics are less crowded and usually do not take in COVID-19 patients.
The World Health Organization also surveyed 130 countries to assess how their mental health response in this pandemic. Unfortunately, many countries have disrupted their mental health services. While mental health has prioritized this pandemic by 89% of the countries, only 17% have allotted full funding for these activities.
It is encouraged for people to engage with their communities if they are suffering from mental health issues. There are community organizations that offer support to people who are having mental health struggles.
If you are one of those with mental health problems, know that this is a very difficult time. It is okay not to be okay. It is okay to ask for help. It’s okay to find people who will serve as your support system. Here’s how you can reach out:
Check mental health support groups online
It doesn’t have to be a formal organization. A support group on social media will be enough support system for you. On these platforms, people exchange messages of support. They give tips and share their experiences in coping with the pandemic stress. Here, you will also have a network of people you can talk to at any time. They will understand you without prejudice.
Seek professional help if you feel like you need it
There’s nothing wrong with consulting a counselor or a psychologist. They are experts in this field. They will be able to provide the professional support that you need when you are feeling down. They will guide you in coping with the struggles you are currently facing. And if you feel like venting out or if you want someone to listen, they are the best ones to talk to.
Write a journal
If you don’t feel like talking to anyone, get your journal and write your thoughts. Pour in how you feel. Write those that you cannot express into words. You will feel a lot better after expressing how you feel.
Always remember that we are all struggling during this pandemic. This is not to invalidate how you feel. It’s to remind you that you are not alone, and whatever you’re feeling is okay. It’s okay to feel anxious and down. There are people around you willing to listen and to help. You only have to reach out.