Depression & COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus came into play towards the end of 2019 and began to spread throughout the United States during the first 3 months of the 2020 year. When it truly became an outbreak, the government thought it was truly best to isolate the remaining population to protect them from what could possibly happen and lockdown started. In the midst of doing so it raised a question: Was isolation truly the best decision to make for everyone, especially those already on the edge with their mental health?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and what is spreading around today Covid-19. Coronaviruses get their name from their appearance. The spiky proteins on their surface make it appear as though they are wearing a crown. While COVID-19 in a physical illness, depression is a mental one but both can easily coexist. Depression is sadness that engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Now that we’ve covered what COVID-19 and depression are as separate entities, let’s talk about how they one can cause the other. The lockdown certainly prevents the spread of the virus, but we need to realize it also causes some unwanted side effects, such as depression. This impacts our physical health but often also our mental well being in a negative way. These negative effects can be counteracted by maintaining social contact via social media, maintaining well balanced diets and keeping a sufficient level of physical activity. During the pandemic, many health care workers have faced traumatizing experiences daily, seeing people die in front of their eyes every single day. They also are usually the ones who have to deliver the bad news to the patient’s family members and the ones that have seen the full extent of what the virus is capable of doing. Patients who have contracted the virus face many threats to their mental being as well. The medication used to fight the virus can cause confusion, delirium, and agitation and the fear of dying can be overwhelming. People with pre-existing medical conditions can probably relate to this as well. All these factors can lead to depression and…worse.

Furthermore, responsible children and teenagers are seperated from friends and loved ones on top of their already stressful hormones, school, and external issues. Parents who have to watch their young children all day face exhaustion as well and anxiety if they are seperated from them. Other factors contribute to mental health problems and can lead to depression as well. Said factors include, loss of job/income, getting wrong information about the virus, dealing with economic crisis/potential recession, greater exposure to domestic violence, etc. 

Self-care is the number one most important and necessary thing during these times. It may sound selfish when people are actually dying, however it’s important to keep your metal health in check because bad mental health does weaken your immune system. Meditate, make time for yourself, watch your favorite things, stay in contact with your loved ones through virtual means, eat good, take care of your body, find a new hobby, do good for your society, and tell yourself that it’s okay to not be okay during this time. Cry it out. Talk to someone about it. Write it down. You got this. 

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