Experts have warned of an under-publicized global mental health crisis occurring during the pandemic. When someone is physically separated from their family, friends, profession, and hobbies, it can significantly impact the status of their mental health. Isolation blues is very much real, affecting thousands around the world.
Isolation doesn’t necessarily breed healthy habits. We have all coped with these unforeseen circumstances differently. For some, their unhealthy mental struggles may include eating poorly, ignoring their friends, drinking, or engaging in abusive behaviours. Whether your habits affect you or those around you, being mentally unwell doesn’t present any positives. That’s why you are encouraged to see a psychotherapist for guidance.
Many experience mental health struggles every day, but they may not necessarily know the symptoms. Here are ten common signs that you may be struggling with your mental health:
Millions of people worldwide are separated from what makes them happy and stuck inside reading headlines about death, disease, and a seeming inevitability of isolation. For a lot, this is their coronavirus pandemic experience. When you remove the positive and heighten the negative, it creates loneliness. You feel separated, unable to contribute, and like a passenger watching events unfold.
No one can doubt the economic impact that a period of isolation like this takes. Some people don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills, and there are some real long-term financial consequences to COVID-19. Uncertainty is in the air. Unfortunately, there are a lot of questions right now and not very many answers. This has meant increased worrying and higher-than-average levels of anxiety for those in isolation.
Depression is more than just a deep sadness. It changes the way we think, feel, and function. Meaning in life perceivably diminishes and, for some, we lack the motivation to do much. Isolation is turmoil on the positive aspects of living, causing psychological distress that can sometimes lead to depression. The severity of depression can vary on the support systems around someone. In isolation, those support systems aren’t always present and are often non-existent.
4. Feeling Overwhelmed
The future of our lives during the remainder of and after COVID-19 isolation is undefined. For families and individuals, so much of their future is seemingly out of their control. It is normal to feel overwhelmed by it all. This is an unprecedented situation. Many people haven’t been disadvantaged in this way before, and the lack of control can be frustrating. As with several thought patterns, they repeat on loop leading to a perpetual feeling of being overwhelmed.
Frustration is a natural response to being essentially forced to adhere to COVID-19 isolation guidelines. As a population, we haven’t always had a firm grasp of our communities. There has been some confusion on the policies and the length of time to maintain isolation is unclear. As individuals, we don’t have control in many ways over our isolation. It’s no wonder some people are feeling frustrated.
6. Poor Sleep Quality
Mental health impacts sleep. The lack of physical and mental stimulation that comes when someone’s in isolation can reduce the quality of sleep. Add to that the anxiety and depression some are struggling with, and it creates a dynamic that is difficult to overcome without mental health supports.
Isolation can take away the meaning of relationships, work, and activities we find personally satisfying. This creates increasing levels of indifference. Something as simple as getting up in the morning and taking a shower lacks interest. Staying in shape and maintaining cardiovascular functioning goes by the wayside. Basic daily activities have meaning though isolation can perceivably reduce their value.
Isolation is sometimes done by choice. Instead of confronting certain situations, people, or behaviours, we isolate ourselves. A culture of avoidance doesn’t resolve these issues, which will cause them to repeat. Think of it like your mental health is asking a question repeatedly, waiting for you to answer. Even in isolation, forced or voluntary, it doesn’t give permission to avoid and leave unaddressed your goals, habits, or behaviours.
9. Loss of Identity and Community
Social isolation can cause some people to lose their sense of identity and community for an extended time. Since we define ourselves by our family, job, community or education, isolation separates us from these day-to-day identities. It can be frustrating not knowing how to navigate a period of isolation when we unknowingly or knowingly perceive our identity to be at risk.
Among those who already come from marginalized communities, feelings of frustration and marginalization can heighten in isolation. We aren’t all at home with the same supports and resources. Those who are already disadvantaged lose out on the ability to improve their environment. They perceive others to be having fun and see celebrities on YouTube enjoying themselves. They look around to find that their home isn’t anywhere near the same.