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Mental health and Coronavirus – the unknown consequences

Suppressed emotions rising to the surface.

It was following a recent conversation that it struck me how this pandemic was impacting us in a spectrum of ways. For example, some have found this time calming by not having to commute to and from work, while others are struggling more than ever.

Most of us have coping mechanisms when unpleasant thoughts and memories arise, that allow us to move forward with our day and reset. However, being forced to stay indoors and completely restrict our routine and interactions enables those feelings to be experienced fully. And they often are not pleasant.

How does one cope when suddenly the behaviours that work for them are now taken away? Considering the stress being felt financially by many, through uncertainty of job security, loss of business while being self-employed, lack of social interaction with loved ones, and overwhelming thoughts of the impact this virus is having on the world, it would be naïve to overlook the mental impact this will have (if not already).

There is no correct answer to any of this, but one stance I have been clinging to, is the hope that individuals had the ability to overcome and manage their mental illness or health before, then it is possible to do it again. I appreciate this often takes a huge amount of time and effort to find what worked. Once again, an openness to trying and possibly failing a number of times, is needed until an adapted technique is found.

Amongst the chaos and uncertainty there seems to be a stillness too. When our mind settles with less stimulation from the external world, there is a newfound availability of these thoughts and emotions to appear within our conscious thinking. It is these instances that I worry most about, as these are often unprepared for. This is something I have spoken to others about; the challenge of acknowledging these and deciding whether now is the time to tackle them or simply notice their presence and address when life resumes as normal.

I wonder what the next 6 months holds for us. The consequences of these resurfacing thoughts. The fallout from these restrictions placed upon daily life. The flexibility we all must implement for an unknown timeframe.

This entry is not supposed to be doom and gloom or a peppy guide about how to pull up our socks and get over it. It is a reflective piece, pondering both the positive and negative. Understanding that the worries you have during this time will not be the same as the person you are self-isolating with or without. Perspectives are different but being open to supporting one another will help, in whatever capacity.


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