The virus is real but…

The ongoing pandemic regardless to our perception about it, is the fact. The virus exists and that’s the fact. We could argue about its strengths and weakness as well as ”myths” and misinformation for hours. That is not the point of this post. Everybody’s entitled to have own opinion and go along with it. I don’t care.

What I care as someone who’s fully engaged and dedicated to human health is about serious implications for our mental health. We have all been affected by the pandemic crisis. The evidence from various institutions for mental health suggest a divergence in people’s experience, depending on their social and/or economic context in society.

How do we deal with the pandemic?

Generally speaking, how people react to the pandemic are not randomly distributed, such as that they depend and arise from people’s social and economic position in society. Logically, all those who are affected by socio-economic inequalities have been more likely to be affected. To experience loneliness, panic, anxiety, hopelessness. In other words, those individuals or groups are simply not coping well with the stress. Most worryingly to me are suicidal thoughts or feelings .

We all know that the illness prompted by the virus may hit seriously people with an extremely low immune system or a chronic disease, whereby some individuals won’t even notice they were affected.

The fact is also that the pandemic has fundamentally changed our lives – in better or in worse, I don’t know. I can say how it has changed and affected my life and you know for yourself. However, evidences suggested it has changed in worst direction. It has changed our lives not only in the short and medium run but also most likely for the foreseeable future.

While the mortality rate of the virus is fairly high at the global level, the majority get over disease successfully. Some are experiencing ongoing, debilitating symptoms months after they’ve recovered from the acute phase of the virus. Yet, even for those that have managed to escape these challenges, there’s a sense that the world will never be the same again. On the economic front that touches upon social aspect, millions have lost their jobs and livelihoods and the story goes on.

Mental health at stake

I regularly visit and consume the content from the JAMA Network – The Journal of the American Medical Association. It’s a a peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes original research, reviews, and editorials covering all aspects of biomedicine.

One of the latest study entitled ”Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic” clearly illustrates the toll that virus has taken on seriously people’s mental health in the USA.  Hence, the researchers found that the virus has tripled the rate of depression across all demographic groups. Note that this rise in depression is significantly higher than what was observed after previous traumatic events like the Ebola outbreak or the 9/11.

As I outlined above, people with lower incomes and less financial security were 2.4 times more likely to report depression, yet another reminder of how social determinants impact health.

For some rest time, for others torture

We are in the same storm, yet, on different ships looking to survive. Hence, while yours ship can be shipwrecked, mine might not be. While a quarantine may be an optimal time to rest and reconnect with myself, for You it may be a desperate crisis.

Some who have faith in our Creator are dealing much better contrary to those who say that the worse is yet to come.

From mine perspective we have never been, we are not right now and we shall never be in the same boat. Because yours and mines perceptions to the reality we live are completely different.

Thus, it is of crucial importance to see things and events beyond what you think you apparently see, hear, smell and touch here and now.

Nevertheless, do not be a judge of the other. Let others navigate their route with empathy and respect. Instead take responsibility for your life and be responsible.

Invest in yourself. Invest in your knowledge. Invest in your health. Invest in your family. Invest in a healthy lifestyle. Invest in living in line with the natural laws.

Good luck!

Are we all really in the same boat?  What do you think?

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Mirella Rasic Paolini, Holistički terapeut