The coronavirus pandemic has put light on mental health issues being faced by millions around the globe. The rise in the number of people talking about their mental struggles has started garnering a lot of attention and is pointing towards a mental health emergency. During the initial phases of this pandemic, there wasn’t much there to worry regarding the damage it will cause to mental well-being. More than 20 suicides were reported in India everyday pre-pandemic and experts have predicted this data to rise. There have been a staggering number of suicides during the lockdown accounting for over 300 non-coronavirus deaths in India.
The question is why is it being addressed right now and why wasn’t it a priority right from the beginning?
It is because during the initial days of quarantine, people were extremely focused on their physical well-being and keeping themselves safe in order to prevent the outbreak of the deadly virus, but amidst all of that, mental well-being went unattended. However, now that people are looking at the issue from a far end they are ready to deal with their mental state and want to keep themselves healthy. Yet, there are some who are brushing their mental health under the carpet and are still considering it a taboo to seek help.
If you are amongst the latter, you need to understand that it will harm you in the long-run, and people around you. Hence, it is important to talk to somebody and look for help. While some are ready to work on their mental well-being there are others who are not able to cope and are on the verge of surrendering to their mental ailment. This is where it gets crucial.
Are you or someone you know at risk?
Let’s make one thing clear, nothing is normal and all of us are in agreement with that. It can be shattering for a lot of us and at the same time it can be difficult to come to terms with where we stand today but that’s okay because there is no other way you are going to get through this. Some of us are not able to cope with it and end up reaching a point where we feel helpless; it is in situations like these when people take the step of thinking about ending their lives. Recently, a very skilled hindi-film actor succumbed to depression.
If you know anyone (or for that matter if it’s you) who has suicidal tendencies, below are some of its indicators. If you are undergoing any of these symptoms, seek immediate help. (Here is a helpline number open 24x7if you are going through any immediate problem. Fortis helpline number: 8376804102)
After having a brief conversation with Gargi Vishnoi, a counselling psychologist available on the above helpline number, we’ve gathered the following points:
- Hopelessness: In most suicidal cases, the reason turns out to be feeling hopeless about self and life in general. Hope is a crucial feeling to keep it going and at any point if you start losing it you will experience a low point. You might feel like there is no reason to live and this very feeling can slide you into depression.
- Presumption: Some people are assuming that the coronavirus will end their lives so they don’t want to lose their life in the hands of COVID-19 and prefer ending it on their own. This is a presumption a lot of us are making that corona virus will be fatal for all of us but this is not necessarily true.
- Lack of socialisation: Man is a social animal and we want some form socialisation outside our homes in order to bring change in our mundane lives but ever since the pandemic happened, we have been locked up inside our cubical and are unable to socialize freely; this in some way might lead to despair in the future.
- Family issues: Living under the same roof for a stretch of almost four months has been exhausting for a lot of people. Every family member is going through some form of mental unrest and this in turn can create a very toxic environment which might lead to anxiety. Some people who struggle to deal with their anxiety end up taking harsh decision.
- Financial crunches: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, a lot of businesses had to shut down and there has been a major economic setback for almost all the countries. Some people lost their jobs while others have not received their salaries and are experiencing what one calls a dip in the family income, which in times like these is an essential need. Working members of the family might get worked up and start over-thinking about how things will work out in the future which leads to stress and can encourage them to take irrational decisions.
- Long distance relationships: People who were in long distance relationships have had the struggle to keep it going. While some are finding innovative ways to stay connected, there are also people who are struggling with insecurities about the future of their relationship. The insecurity can build up to something huge from where there is no coming back.
- Domestic violence/ Divorce: This pandemic has also witnessed some bizarre upsurge in the cases of domestic violence and divorces. People experiencing domestic violence can get suicidal tendencies easily if they feel helpless or are unable to get help on time; they consider quitting on life as the last resort to peace. While those who had to go through divorce, it can get extremely depressing and they might start experiencing suicidal thoughts. The rate of these ill-fated incidents is disturbing but one needs to fight it since quitting is not an option.
- Loss of a loved one: People who had to suffer the loss of a close relation either due to the virus or otherwise during the pandemic are going through a very difficult time. Some people who are unable to cope with the loss and can get worse thoughts. Such people can get PTSD which is a very traumatising medical condition.
Here is how you can help others/yourself:
- Talk to someone: Whenever you feel that you are not in a comfortable mental state, speak about it to your friends or family. Sharing what you are going through will make you feel better. Do not repress your present emotional state because there are times when you yourself are unaware about the magnitude of the problem. Sharing it with someone will help you to realise that there is a better side to everything and that there are people who are ready to hear you out. These are extraordinary times but it is in times like these when we need each other the most.
- Hope is the way out: Most people with suicidal ideations display hopelessness in their speech and it becomes important for us to deal with their emotions immediately. Life is all about being hopeful or as we would say, look for hope in everyday to be better than yesterday. It is common for people to start feeling hopeless after a loss or a failure but remember there has never been one person who has been successful without facing failures; they were driven by hope for a better future. The way ahead is to look for possible solutions to problems and if you don’t find any, make your solutions. Take a piece of paper and write down about your strengths and think about how you have combated all the harsh realities and have reached here.
- Life has a lot more to offer: We must remind ourselves of how life will get better eventually and this is just a harsh time which we have to endure before we can see better times. It is not the end of the world, even if it feels that way. It is just a difficult time and like any other times, this will evade and life will go on. Your life has a lot more to offer you, right now you are just at the entrance, walk ahead, explore and you will fall in love with life. We have so much more to explore, we are just tiny people but the world is huge and has so much more beauty like the Northern lights, don’t you want to see that site? Imagine what a beautiful scene that would be.
- Avoid social media/news for sometime: During these times, social media can be overwhelming and can become harmful if we keep at it without taking a break. So, it’s important to take a break from social media and focus that energy on yourself. Minimizing its use is a good start as well. In order to avoid over-thinking, it is best to remove those people from your feed who share disturbing news or graphic videos which make you feel angry. When it comes to news, try to stop consuming it for a while as your mental health demands that you don’t see the death toll. It is better to focus on positive news such as how many people have recovered from the virus.
- Seek help: Everyone today is going through some sort of mental discomfort because of the pandemic, so it’s okay to feel that way or be that way but what is not okay is repressing it. It is better to start acknowledging your emotions and look for help. Call a helpline number if it’s immediate or else seek online therapy, video-sessions or telephonic sessions. It will make you feel better and comforted.
- You are loved: People you love also love you, no matter what. They cherish your presence even if they don’t show it all the time. They will not be able to bear your absence for a long time, so think about that and about how they have been there for you in every phase of your life. If your loved ones are away from you at the moment, have faith in the future as they will be by your side very soon. If you know someone who is going through rough phase, take some time out and talk to them, make them feel loved and give them extra attention.
We are here for a reason and our life has a bigger meaning attached to it; it deserves to be a bigger and a better story. These times are overwhelming for all of us but imagine telling your grand children about it, like my grandmother did and how we coped by holding on to hope.
Find a BUDDY to share all your problems with (even anonymously, if you want) on the FeelJoy Mobile App available for all Android users.