Depression and Anxiety During the Pandemic

Depression and Anxiety During the Pandemic

2020 is a year unlike any we have seen before. More than 200,000 people in the US are dead due to the pandemic. There’s a contentious presidential election. Black Lives Matter dominates the news cycle, and there have been wildfires and other natural disasters.

If there was ever a year for people to grapple with anxiety and depression, this is it. Some individuals who would have called themselves mentally healthy before are struggling to roll out of bed in the morning. They worry every time they leave their house that someone will punch them for wearing a mask or because they’re not wearing one.

It’s tough keeping on an even keel right now. However, there are some things you can do, and we’ll talk about them in this article.

How Can You Tell You’re Feeling Anxious or Depressed?

If you find yourself arguing with another driver after a car accident, that could mean you’re struggling mentally. If you can’t go about your daily routine like you once could, that’s an indication. If you’re missing meals or neglecting your parental duties, you need to think about your mental health as well.

You can generally tell you’re dealing with anxiety or depression if you’re struggling to get through the day. There are lots of possible manifestations other than the ones we just mentioned.

For instance:

  • You might keep compulsively checking social media
  • You may find yourself trembling or looking over your shoulder in public
  • You might yell at your family members

You can usually tell if you don’t feel like yourself, and this year, lots of people are in this very situation.

Admitting You’re Struggling

The first thing you must do is admit that something is going on with you. It’s one thing if you’re cowering in your bed because you can’t bring yourself to go to work. Until you truly acknowledge what’s going on, though, you can’t start to work on some solutions.

You might figure out you’re having trouble because:

  • A family member asks you what’s wrong
  • You’re losing or gaining weight
  • You’re acting in a way that’s uncharacteristic of you

Once you realize you’re struggling, that’s when you can start thinking about some solutions.

Therapy

You might decide to seek therapy to talk about the things that are bothering you. Your health insurance could pay for it, or it might pay for most of it, but you still have to produce the copays from out of your pocket.

Now might not be the ideal time for those copays if you’re unemployed or underemployed. Still, you need to prioritize your mental health. This is too important for you to ignore.

During your therapy sessions, you can talk about your triggers and what specifically bothers you right now. You’ll probably find that much of what you’re going through is similar to what other people are. 

Neither your anxiety nor depression are unique. Just knowing you’re not the only one going through it can sometimes help you.

You Might Go on Medication

There are also drugs you can go on that should even you out. There are things like:

  • Zoloft
  • Paxil
  • Prozac

You need to be aware of side effects, but many people find they can get through this year easier when they medicate themselves. You’ll need to visit a doctor or therapist to get them prescribed.

Keep in mind that a doctor or therapist will usually drug test you before they put you on anything, so if you’re self-medicating, you’ll need to stop doing that.

You Might Take a Social Media and TV Break

You might decide that you want to cut yourself off from TV news and social media for a little while. This is difficult for some people to do. You want to stay informed, with so much happening societally these days.

However, if what’s happening is causing you too much stress, you need to take a break for your own good. Being mentally healthy is more critical than knowing everything that’s in the news.

Social media is usually such a negativity breeding ground, so just taking a break from all that can put you in a much better mental state a lot of the time.

You Can Talk to Your Family About What’s Happening with You

You can certainly talk to your spouse or partner about what’s bothering you if you have one. You can speak to a parent, sibling, or another adult with whom you live.

Part of anxiety and depression is feeling alone, like no one understands what’s happening with you. If you decide that therapy is not quite right for you, unburdening yourself to a loved one can help immensely.

You can talk about whatever is happening with you and see if they feel the same way. Even if they don’t, just letting them know you’re struggling and articulating that fact can be what it takes to calm and soothe you.

You Can Meditate

Meditation is another excellent way to calm yourself down. You might do it in the morning before you start your day or in the evening when you’re getting ready for bed.

Even if you don’t know how to do it, you can lie or sit in a dark room for a few minutes and think about the things for which you’re thankful. You can look for your life’s bright patches. There are bound to be some, no matter how stressful things seem right now.

You can even get some family members to meditate with you. You can learn how via YouTube videos or guided meditation apps. Even if no one else seems as anxious as you, they should be willing to do it with you out of solidarity.

This is a challenging time, but there’s reason to think that hope is on the horizon. Medical science is working on vaccines, and soon the Presidential election will be over, for better or worse. Perhaps 2021 will bring some stability and a return to some semblance of normalcy.

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