One Year Into The Pandemic

One Year Into The Pandemic

One year into the pandemic, and nothing is back to normal. We are still in lockdown, waiting on a daily tally of positive cases, and deaths.

While our health care system is stretched to breaking point, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our mental health. The number of people seeking help for anxiety has skyrocketed, prescriptions for anti-depressants have increased by as much as 34%, and relationships within our nuclear and extended families are facing unmitigated distress, conflict and breakdown.

We are scared. We don’t know who we can trust. We are anxious about what will happen to us if we fall ill, and whether the health care system will be able to adequately care for us if we do. We don’t know what will happen if someone we love dies, and whether we will be able to have a funeral at all. Uncertainty and anxiety abound.

Many have faced a multiplicity of other stressors, including job loss, financial loss, debt, and poverty. The virus is indiscriminate in who it infects, and yet some populations are far more vulnerable to the illness than others triggering further inequities across our communities.

Standard recommendations for promoting good mental health, and reducing anxiety, are easy to find, with a focus on a regular routine, sleep hygiene, good food, fresh air and exercise. What often goes unsaid is a growing need to make changes to how we interact with the news, and social media.

The constant media coverage of the pandemic, filtered through established news channels and across social media platforms, has exacerbated our anxieties. We are never allowed to ‘turn off’, to pause, or even momentarily forget, that we are living in precarious and unprecedented times. Our bodies respond to this unrelenting anxiety-invoking stream of information by producing excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol that circulates around our bodies triggering a multitude of other incremental changes in our physiology.

The plague of conflicting messages, and fake news, has warped our sense of reality, distorting our sense of who we are, what kind of world we live in, and what our future holds. Our self-care during this pandemic would be significantly enhanced by us re-evaluating our relationship with the media: restricting the time we spend on the internet, opting for reliable sources of information, and adopting a critical eye of what we read.

Some level of stress and worry is normal at this time. Many are experiencing more debilitating emotional distress. If your sleep or appetite is being impacted, if you find yourself unable to concentrate, forgetful, or tearful, or if you are struggling to complete your usual daily tasks, then it is advisable to seek professional help. At The Story Isn’t Over we have professional licensed therapists available for you to see in our Bolton or Brampton clinics. Please call: 416 616 2207.

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