Covid-19 anxiety is increasingly common. Many people are plagued with anxiety over job security, their savings and income, their health and potential risks of infection, and a myriad of other issues. There has seldom been a period in recent history where more people have been under as much stress as the world has been under these last few months. Added to this is the pressure to thrive under adversity, as we see many show-out their pandemic successes.
Anxiety and stress have been rising even before Covid-19 reared its ugly head. So, we must be aware that though Covid-19 has upended plans, smashed routines to bits, made many people jobless, left others with no source of income, and left a cloud of uncertainty hanging over everything, rising anxiety and stress are part of much longer trends and so, even with the promise of a new vaccine, many people are still going to have to face up to anxiety and stress. Mental health has seldom been so precarious.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), anxiety and depression are rising in the United States, with the national anxiety rate 300% greater (25.5% as opposed to 8.1%) in the second quarter than it was in the same period last year. Depression rates have quadrupled from 6.5% to 24.3% in the same period.
The pandemic as well as broader societal and economic changes which have left many people economically insecure, have given us this growing twin-headed monster of anxiety and depression. Here's how to deal with it.
Strike while the iron is hot. Do not let issues fester. The longer you downplay or ignore mental health issues, the longer you try and tough it out, the more pronounced will be your anxiety and depression when it eventually takes root and the longer you will have to combat them. Anxiety and depression will not magically disappear through an act of will or simply because you choose to look away from them.
WHat often happens is that people think they can just outwait negative events, believing that when things have improved, their mental health will improve as well. We wait for a return to normalcy and in the interim, we do nothing to make our lives better. The problem with allowing the normalcy bias to play such an important role in our lives is that it ignores the damage that can be done in that interim as you wait for a return to normalcy. The damage may be such that even when things improve, anxiety and depression will have taken such a hold of your mental processes that you will interpret the improved conditions in ways that will only serve to reinforce your anxiety and depression rather than alleviate them.
As the CDC study shows, anxiety and depression have been on the rise even before Covid-19. Furthermore, we do not know how long Covid-19 will be with us. Indeed, it is not even clear as yet for how long a vaccine will keep people immune. Consequently, you should adopt a long-view of things and tackle problems now rather than waiting for a better tomorrow that may be many tomorrows ahead.
Start doing what it takes to heal, whether it is buying a hyperbaric chamber for sale, or doing cognitive behavioral therapy, or meditating, or journaling about your emotions. Start tackling the issues now.