The Alarming Side Effects of a Global Pandemic

Rishima Ganguly

Fear is omnipresent, an emotion we face on a day to day basis. 

We all hold a myriad of fears in our hearts, but at what point does it turn into paranoia? At what point do we need to start opening up about what makes us so vulnerable, to avoid unhealthily dealing with our fears? Currently, in a lockdown that has extended for over 2 months, we face trying times. The lifestyle that we once took for granted now seems like a distant dream. Isolated in our homes, we can’t even hold on to the reassuring thought that things are getting better. The TV blares all day, news reporters are spewing out numbers that don’t seem to get smaller, the curve doesn’t seem to get any flatter and achieving a stable mental health doesn’t get easier. 

The Unexpected Source of our Fears

Perhaps, the root of our fear isn’t even the virus itself but all the uncertainty surrounding it.The skeptic looks we give our previously trusted friends and neighbours if we see them at the grocery store, the dread we feel when the doorbell rings are all tell tale signs of the drastic changes our social structure has seen just in a matter of a few weeks. Especially for the youth, to be put into this situation so spontaneously in a time where we already face self-doubt and obscurity regarding our futures. This can have a very detrimental impact on our mental health, specifically now when we are struggling for a sense of ‘normalcy’. A method of dealing with fear, could be expressing your feelings of uncertainty through various creative means of expressing yourselves, be it art or writing, for which you can participate in online competitions as well.

 

Mental health during a Lockdown 

Mental health is idiosyncratic to every individual, each one of us copes with and handles how we feel differently. However, the importance of opening up about your fears and not bottling them up inside cannot be overstated. Often these fears we keep inside over longer periods of time fester which can further aggravate feelings of stress or anxiety, or lead to unhealthily obsessing over our thoughts. Therefore, during this time, when we are all isolated, it’s essential to stay connected and check in with your loved ones, something which is made much easier through social media. Openly discussing your fears and confiding in your friends may seem daunting but can help loosen the burden on your minds. Discussing new information and talking through your doubts with friends can lessen fear to a great extent. If you feel comfortable with the idea, you can also try getting in touch with counsellors because they too want to help you.

 

Avoiding Panic and Mass Hysteria 

There is a great deal of fake news being spread online through unreliable sources, hence double checking information on factual news sources is vital to avoiding the mass hysteria or panic that can overtake us when faced with unreliable information, that makes the situation seem worse than it is. Moreover, students are facing a lot of stress and anxiety right now related to school, specifically high schoolers who’ve had their board exams cancelled. Organizing your studies and creating a balance between work and hobbies can reduce stress in your daily life to a great extent, as this added stress in your daily life can often heighten fear related to Covid-19.

 

To sum up…

There are days when I feel completely overwhelmed by the uncertainty of our future, when I feel like all this will never end. However, I always keep in mind that this situation is something we are all going through, something we all will get through by being there to support each other. So take this time to create a routine, to remain engaged and discover new parts yourselves. Be kind and look out for the people around you. This is our opportunity as the youth of our community to create an impact and spread positivity through our actions and words. Above all, just know it is okay to feel fear, and it is also okay to express your fear.

Bibliography

Steimle, Josh. “14 Ways To Conquer Fear.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Jan. 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2016/01/04/14-ways-to-conquer-fear/#17015d561c48.

“Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Worry.” HelpGuide.org, 11 May 2020, www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/coronavirus-anxiety.htm.

“The Fear of Coronavirus Is Changing Our Psychology.” BBC Future, BBC, 2 Apr. 2020, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200401-covid-19-how-fear-of-coronavirus-is-changing-our-psychology.

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