Under normal circumstances, someone beginning to struggle with their mental health would be advised to build resilience by connecting with friends and family, going to the gym, volunteering or even taking a holiday. Much of this has become either illegal or almost impossible to do under lockdown.
Some lockdowns may help control the transmission of the virus, but they’re unleashing a bigger public health crisis.
A new label has emerged in the ‘psych’ world and it’s known as post-lockdown stress disorder (PLSD). A new expression of PTSD, and we mindset magicians are beginning to treat cases now.
The re-emergence into work and society is causing quite a spike the stress, anxiety and avoidant behaviours even in those who are deemed low-risk, young, fit and healthy with no co-morbidities. Keeping safe distance, constantly washing hands, petrified of anyone with a sniffle or cough, continuing to wear masks even in places where the virus hasn’t been seen for months… this is not my idea of a perpetual ‘new normal’.
There’s a chance at least one in four of us could suffer from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of the pandemic. PTSD is most common in post-conflict settings; you can read more about PTSD here.
Global Covid-19 lockdown measures, especially here in Australia, have brought with them a fear of harm, loss of life, estrangement from family and friends, and lack of freedom in movement and activities.
The physical effect of the pandemic, namely number of deaths caused, is already being eclipsed by the mental health pandemic that will last longer, be more resistant to our interventions and perhaps even more deadly than CV-19.
Effective governments have focused their attention towards protecting those most vulnerable to the lethal virus while providing assistance to those facing the brunt of the lockdown’s economic destruction. Those most mentally vulnerable, however, have been much less of a priority.
As a therapist, I know that even the most severely anxious patients can usually trace their downward spiral to a trigger event like bereavement, losing a job, a divorce, or experiencing abuse or neglect. For most people in the world right now, we are perhaps going through the biggest trigger of our lives and it is no surprise that we have already seen a soaring increase in levels of depression, anxiety, addiction and abuse.
As a result, millions of otherwise mentally resilient individuals are quietly drifting into a mental health pandemic.
A King’s College study found that even a 10-day quarantine can lead to mental health issues lasting three years or longer. Many countries are now approaching numerous months of lockdown, and Covid-19 continues to disrupt everyday life in immeasurable ways.
Public services will continue to be stretched for months more and economists are warning us that the deepest and darkest global recession in over 300 years awaits us on the other side of this virus.
The last major recession led to over 10,000 extra suicides, and that recession was a purely economic crisis, unlike Covid-19, which superimposes a health crisis, an education crisis, and in many ways a social and political crisis too.
These effects are traumatic and destructive for both adults for children alike. In many parts of the world, schools have been closed for months, often with no end in sight. Children are suffering by not being able to see their classmates, friends and relatives. Their only support – parents or carers – are likely to be struggling with their own challenges and so vital attention and reassurance is often reduced.
Physical activity and interaction with others is essential to children’s social, cognitive and emotional development. In any other circumstances, keeping a child locked inside for months would be called child abuse, and I’m not even going to mention the adult form of imprisoned punishment called solitary confinement or ‘isolation’ – oops I mentioned it.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reassured a client who has attempted suicide, telling them that the support is there but also knowing that that current mainstream support is grossly inadequate.
It’s not a question of if, but rather when the tsunami of patients will arise.
If you’re suffering from PTSD or PLSD, stress, anxiety or any resulting behaviours… it doesn’t matter which continent you live on, let’s chat. I offer a FREE consultation online over Zoom, Skype or a phone call.
I’ve also created 3 specific MP3s to tackle the anxiety symptoms and negative thinking traits brought about by this pandemic.
In the FREE MP3s below I’ll teach you some effective ways to reduce your stress and anxiety levels, especially around the subject of corona virus, isolation and illness.