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Quiz Society SRCC

A Long Return to Normal Life


There are days when they feel low, there are days when they feel anxious and there are days where their dear sleep is lost. Such is the plight of the mental health of certain individuals and is likely to continue in the post pandemic world, whenever that is to come.


Studies uncovered that COVID-19 patients encounter fear, discouragement, downfall, anxiety, resting issues, and trauma. Several factors have affected the mental health of people either directly or indirectly. Our Instagram fee overflooded with the news of positive cases and numbers projecting deaths leads to stress and anxiety in the young minds. The lockdown has forced everyone to be confined within the four walls of their houses.


In the initial phase, students were happy since no more waking up at 7 am to get ready for boring classes and lectures and more than it brought with it a delight of not having to travel 10 Kms in the overcrowded metros. However, the sabbatical that people earlier rejoiced, banging "thalis" in their balconies and lighting lamps at 9 pm didn't remain a matter of a few hundred people being infected. The fight against the virus is still on today, even after one year of all efforts (if really) made to be a mask free nation.


Gone are the days, when students living in hostels ended their day with pranks or denied the invitation to a dinner at Hudson Lane. The physical separation from friends has spread a tensed environment among youth. Moreover, watching their parents not leaving home for work and hearing them (parents) discuss the probability of losing their jobs is also a reason for the stress. Every mind is fear stricken of getting infected by the virus.


However, certain classes in the society are the main sufferers - the lower middle and lower class. While the elite of this country use the luxury of their private jet to find accomodation in nations with lesser risk, the lower middle and middle class families are struggling to make two ends meet. Most of them are dependent on their daily wages and school programs. Since the academics started on virtual mediums, it brought many challenges. Not everyone is able to afford the cost of virtual classes. Many students didn’t have smartphones, laptops and stable internet connections. Those who have these facilities aren’t completely satisfied, as the screen time is affecting their health. Even the teaching staff suffered in adjusting to technological aspects of virtual platforms. Students studying abroad or out of station are facing a lot of problems due to the mobility restriction. Being away from families in this pandemic is one of the key reasons of prevailing stress across the country. The frontline workers are also family members of someone. Even after living in the same city they aren’t able to meet their families. The risk of contamination adds up to the anxiety. However, all the hardship, pain, anxiety is small in front of the pain and tears of families who lost their loved ones due to COVID-19. This pandemic had impacted miserably the life of several families both financially and psychologically.


Indeed, COVID-19 has affected our lives in every possible way. However, we acclimatized to this lifestyle as well. We accepted the same routine work within the four walls. Although the level of anxiety and stress is too high for all of us. Many reports suggest that a sizable minority could be left with the mental disorders that might outlast the pandemic itself.


Evidences from Past Outbreaks


The studies done on Severe Acute Respiratory (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola indicate the potential long-term impact that the Covid-19 outbreak might cause. A study on the SARS survivors with psychiatric disorders revealed that about 25% of the patients showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 15.6% of them had worsening depression. There were increased suicide deaths among SARS survivors, consisting of older adults from Hong Kong in 2003 and 2004. Among the MERS survivors, lower quality of life was noticed. (1). Quarantine and isolation put an individual in a vicious cycle of stress, anxiety and depression. In the phases of pandemic, when the economies of almost every country worsens, consequent loss of jobs and some potentially great academic opportunities is inevitable yet common. But the impact of this loss on one’s psychological health is long lasting.

Similarly, the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak triggered serious psychosocial consequences, at both individual and community levels. Stress, grief, anxiety, depression and symptoms of PTSD were reported at the individual level while stigma, discrimination and interruption of social networks were observed at the community level. Survivors were distressed by traumatic memories and the rejection by society, while those who never contracted the disease grieved for lost relatives or struggled to cope with extreme anxiety. (2). The mental health consequences of all the pre-existing pandemics persisted even after the end of those very pandemics. Therefore, we can expect a similar situation after the end of COVID-19 pandemic.


The deep-rooted impact of Covid-19


The last phase of the pandemic, that is the ultimate return to normality will demand significant and vigorous re-organizing and re-establishing of our normal lives. But the situation is not equivalent for everyone. According to psychologists, Covid-19 pandemic’s impacts will doubtlessly last for long term, especially in individuals suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The preventive measures of the pandemic have predictably worsened the condition of patients with OCD. The increased burden of issues like OCD is worrisome and it can be observed from:


  • The increased demand for hand washing added to their ritualistic pattern.

  • The need to sanitize or wash hands after every physical contact with another person.

  • The strict demand for a hygienic environment from the family.


Lauren, an OCD patient, said,"I have struggled with compulsive hand washing and fears of harming people because of being contaminated, but it wasn't as serious as it is now. I am experiencing constant thoughts that I should have done more to stop the spread of Coronavirus"(3 ) She even said “My hands are cracked and burned because I washed them in bleach because I feel so contaminated”. It is clear how miserably the minds of OCD patients have been impacted.

These habits and the fear of contamination has made OCD patients more stressed. Taylor explains that this could have a long-term impact, due to the fact that OCD arises from an interaction between genes and environmental factors. “For people with a genetic predisposition toward some forms of OCD (i.e., contamination obsessions and cleaning compulsions) the stress of Covid-19 is likely to trigger or worsen OCD,” he said “Some of these people will become chronic germaphobes unless they receive appropriate mental health treatment.” (4) Even if the pandemic will get over, the threat of contamination will stay in their compulsive thoughts.


During the pandemic, everyone tried to stay connected through calls, text, virtual meetings. “At the end of a pandemic, it doesn't matter how hard people tried. They lost many friends and social networks. The loss of a closed one is the hardest to handle. I wouldn’t be able to forget this loss till the last breath of my life.”, are the words of a female teenager. The constant negativity and social disconnection often leads to detachment from family and friends. Especially one having a bad experience of being lonely or a trauma, might be at a higher risk of pertaining to this stress in future. As the isolation could have been a recall of those memories. The pandemic must have triggered the trauma. The impact can now become long haul with added stress and anxiety of Covid-19 pandemic.


Meanwhile, the other side of the coin is positive. Many youngsters utilised this time for personal development. They learned the importance of time. They build a quite good channel to showcase their skills and talents. They can continue this as a side hustle and have a life of their own choice.


Protecting and maintaining the mental health of people in future is only possible when the pandemic will end completely. Though no one can go back and normalise the situation but everyone can start from now to achieve a better and much healthier life. After the pandemic, mental healthcare guides will help them to deal with tension, despondency, or potential residue stress of COVID-19. Although it is impossible to bring back our loved ones who lost their lives due to coronavirus, suicides, and various other factors of pandemics. From a financial context, It is the duty of every citizen to understand the need of investment and savings for unexpected situations.Many people lost great opportunities but one should never give up on his/her dreams. One should remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.



References

  • Semo B, F. S. (2020). The Mental Health Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa. Dovepress, 7.

  • Shah K, M. S. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of. Cureus 12(8),6

  • https://youtu.be/AppiBTm7t6s

  • Savage, M. (2020). Coronavirus: The possible long-term mental health impacts. BBC, 12.


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3 Comments


Very nice👌👌✨

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Vanshika Gupta
Vanshika Gupta
May 30, 2021

Wowww!!!

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Insightful!!

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