Have You Been Depressed Recently?
Depression during COVID times isn’t anything new. Many have experienced difficulties and remaining home for long periods of times have tested the best of people. On the other hand, it’s allowed people to learn new skills like cook and even build tree houses for their kids! Ultimately many have bonded with their family. Though it hasn’t been all plain sailing, it’s been a strange period, some have coped better than others. What about those people who have struggled through it? Research on COVID effect on factors such as society, wellbeing and health by Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that a majority 69% of adults were worried over the effects of the pandemic with the most common symptoms being stress and anxiety (56%) and worried about the future (63%) for themselves. For the full data, please scroll below the article for the reference link. The data is clear on the negative effects of lockdown in Britain. I have personally noticed a trend of stress and unease with my own clients during lockdown. Many clients would like to be seen in-person but I’ve had to see them online. This suggests lots of people still feel that the physical connection between client and counsellor is still highly important. A very normal social need indeed. So let’s briefly look at how people could potentially re-integrate in to everyday life as lockdown eases.
1) Some of us have been depressed long before lockdown, but this post is about those who have specifically had symptoms of depression during lockdown. The likely list of problems people have been facing range from money, spouse, sibling, work, mortgages and other debts etc. So let’s break down a few. Let’s start with work. Many have faced with work problems since lockdown and while most worked from home, lots of companies couldn’t handle the impact and loss it had on their business therefore many employees were let go. Now lots of people will feel annoyed about that but some will feel extra upset. Some people blame themselves instead of seeing the bigger picture. While it’s very natural to feel anger, it could be understood that self-blame is not a game one should play. Over time, self-blame leads to a loss of self-worth and respect, which causes lots of negative mood. Rather, write down or reflect the situation from many different angles. If you don’t think about, you will likely never the see bigger picture. It’s hard I know, but a bit of elbow grease today will pay off wonders tomorrow.
2) Spouse: This is a rather tricky one. It’s common for spouses to have the odd argument but lately, the lockdown scenario hasn’t led to blissful relationships. Some have been fortunate and rekindled their romance while others have gone through hardship. The biggest advice would be that since those couples have been busy in their own lives separately i.e. going to work, extracurricular work activities, friends, they have spent more time with other people rather than with themselves. How many times do people give more time to other pursuits and less time to their partners? A lot. Can those spouses remember a time when they first fell in love? They likely spent lots of time together and everything was amazing. The take home message is: organise a time to have dinner amongst yourselves or do something productive and enjoy each other’s company; leave the phones on silent or off, don’t let further interferences come between yourselves.
3) Money: this is another big one for people. Job losses and reduced hours have left us all worrying about paying the bills and/or other expenses. What to do in this scenario for your mental health? The main thing is, if you haven’t done so, then decide to make a budget and look at your expenses, the important outgoings will likely be rent/mortgage, credit card bills, gas/electric bills and phone bills. Most people will have optional expenses like premium Sky/Virgin cable packages, Apple Music/Spotify memberships, spa treatments etc. Now is the time to cut back on these luxuries and focus on saving. On the psychological side, there may be effects of panic and worry of the future. You might have statements like ‘Will I return to my job?’, ‘How long will I work from home?’. When levels of stress become so high, we fixate on the very things that trouble us. Sometimes, we ignore the pain and as it persists, it works on a subconscious level. That’s the time we usually have an unknown source of sadness or a ‘void’. The important thing is to address whatever is worrying you before it becomes a long-term pain.
So that’s the 3 most important points I think can affect you during these tough times. Feelings of self blame, issues related to spouses and money can all be something you’re experiencing but it doesn’t have to be that way. Problems can always be solved. Remember, the universe is full of surprises, we just have to go out and find them.
Oh, another thing. If you want practical skills on how to fight anxiety, depression, trauma, OCD, work and anything that’s affecting you or if you feel like you’re depressed, why not call me for a free phone consultation then if we’re a good fit together, I can assess you and lead you on a road of discovery and healing. Click the ‘Book Now’ link below to get started.