Don’t bottle up, Reach out for help!
Just because I'm not crying on the outside, doesn't mean I'm not dying on the inside.
Lockdown extension in India
Given the current scenario of the lockdown, you may be tempted to think that you can handle it on your own, not share your distress even if it builds up.
Perhaps you may even feel that something like this should not affect you because you have always been happy and in control of your life, what you think and what you feel.
But you know deep within you that you are scared. There is anxiety and trepidation and possibly numerous thoughts about what things are going to be like.
You are probably riveted to the news, anxiously waiting to hear about what will happen next. Your mind may anticipate something new to emerge every second. But then, of course, that does not happen and you spend the whole next day in the same way.
Concurrently your social life is also likely on a downward spiral and despite the social media platforms and other applications that are available, it just doesn’t feel the same.
Connecting with others through virtual mechanisms doesn’t really do justice to the fun and conversations you used to have when you were all together.
Going out is non-existent and no one visits you either. You see people at a far off distance and are close to the handful of people in your home.
In case you do have a conflict with one of your family members then that too becomes a cause for concern.
In the end, there is only so much you can possibly do at home and the feeling of boredom and even loneliness can often set in.
Anxiety during lockdown
Everyone is experiencing variations of the scenario described above.
Yet there will be those who are more intensely affected by the prevalent situation.
Accepting and embracing this reality is a must for you to be able to find effective ways of coping with it.
It is important to recognise that yes, while everyone is anxious and worried to some extent it is possible that you may be feeling more so.
Nevertheless, ways need to be found and mechanisms need to be put in place that could help you develop a measure of control, find better ways of coping and adopt a problem-solving approach to the situations that emerge as time passes.
In order to build your resilience, it is imperative that you not reject your emotional experience.
In its place, it would be helpful to find ways of being able to share what you are going through.
Not everyone will be able to do so with a friend or family member.
Many would struggle on account of their past experiences of having tried before and then having failed to get the support they desired.
It’s also possible you may not want to burden them with more than their share of what they are struggling with.
This would perhaps put you on the back foot in seeking emotional connect that is necessary to be able to deal with what is going on.
However, such situations warrant a need to proactively work towards getting the right support in place.
And if the support cannot be found in friends and family then reaching out to others through diverse media is also an alternative to consider.
These include considering online consultation platforms, websites offering validated support services, individual practitioners through teleconsultations and helplines offering services through trained professionals.
Seeking help is irreplaceable if you are to take care of yourself and also be emotionally and psychologically available to your loved ones.
This would mean prioritizing your mental health needs and taking active measures if warranted to reach out to someone to share, express, find a way forward and reach an understanding of the change you may need to make, while also developing empathy and gratitude.
Kamna Chhibber heads Mental Health for the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Fortis Healthcare. Having completed her MPhil in Clinical Psychology she is a trained therapist working with children, adolescents and adults. She is passionate about working in the space of child-adolescent mental health, relationships, trauma and abuse.
Read more on this topic here: What do the Experts say about Mental Health and Coronavirus?